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An Awesome Feat: This American Finished the First Crossing of Antarctica – Solo and Unassisted

use points to travel to antarctica
Written by Charlie

How about this for traveling and endurance? This man just became the first to cross Antarctica – solo and unassisted! That is almost 1,000 miles of a cold, snow filled space with no other humans!

On my bucket list, as well as many other travelers, is the beautiful continent of Antarctica. Yes, it is a seemingly blanket of just white but there is a lot of awe about the White Continent and one of those elements is the unknown. I still have it as a goal to get there to run the Ice Marathon (either in the 100KM race or the marathon) and that should be a great way to experience it. But, for now, I take enjoyment reading of other’s exploits on the continent.

An Awesome Feat: American Finished the First Crossing of Antarctica – Solo


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Day 54: FINISH LINE!!! I did it! The Impossible First ✅. 32 hours and 30 minutes after leaving my last camp early Christmas morning, I covered the remaining ~80 miles in one continuous “Antarctica Ultramarathon” push to the finish line. The wooden post in the background of this picture marks the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf, where Antarctica’s land mass ends and the sea ice begins. As I pulled my sled over this invisible line, I accomplished my goal: to become the first person in history to traverse the continent of Antarctica coast to coast solo, unsupported and unaided. While the last 32 hours were some of the most challenging hours of my life, they have quite honestly been some of the best moments I have ever experienced. I was locked in a deep flow state the entire time, equally focused on the end goal, while allowing my mind to recount the profound lessons of this journey. I’m delirious writing this as I haven’t slept yet. There is so much to process and integrate and there will be many more posts to acknowledge the incredible group of people who supported this project. But for now, I want to simply recognize my #1 who I, of course, called immediately upon finishing. I burst into tears making this call. I was never alone out there. @jennabesaw you walked every step with me and guided me with your courage and strength. WE DID IT!! We turned our dream into reality and proved that The Impossible First is indeed possible. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela. #TheImpossibleFirst #BePossible

A post shared by Colin O’Brady (@colinobrady) on

Today, one of those exploits was an incredible accomplishment. You may not have known about it, but for the last 8 weeks, there has been a race of sorts as two men attempted to cross the continent of Antarctica, unassisted. Colin O’Brady, a 33 year-old American, was the first person to do it with Lou Rudd not far behind him.

This trek took Colin 54 days and he pushed through the last 80 miles of the 932 mile journey in one effort. This last 77 mile stretch took him 32 hours to complete. While this was an amazing finish, it had to also be one of the loneliest finish lines in the world. To do this solo effort, he pulled all of his gear on a sled.


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Day 29: MINIMALISM. I thought you might like to see a peek under the hood. It’s not much. The dry bags hold my food in daily rations, there’s fuel, a repair kit, my duffles hold my personal gear, clothes, medical kit, etc. On the right is “arctic bedding.” Best invention ever. My sleeping bag and pad stay just like this, rolled out when I pack them up. Saves me a ton of time and energy not having to stuff them everyday, and I can easily get into my sleeping bag after a long day. Not pictured: my tent, stove, shovel. And that’s about everything. I try to be minimalist in life in general, but this expedition has taken it to another level. I must say, it’s quite cathartic to know I have everything I need to survive right here. Nothing more, nothing less. I’ve noticed by simplifying like this, my mind is free from unnecessary clutter and I have full capacity for creativity. Another solid day in the books today; 16.8 miles. Still battling the big sastrugi. I made it to the last waypoint before the Pole. Tomorrow I turn and head directly for the South Pole. That’s feels pretty darn good! #TheImpossibleFirst #BePossible

A post shared by Colin O’Brady (@colinobrady) on

You have to check out his Instagram page as he documented this journey on there and shared many great photos. This had to be a very lonely trek with such an overwhelming feeling of how distant he was from everyone and anything. He talks about that a bit.


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Day 50: STRUNG OUT BUT STILL MOVING. I can’t believe I been out here all alone for 50 days. Even having lived it, I can’t quite wrap my mind around it. This wind storm still has not subsided so I spent another day getting beat down. Fingers crossed I catch a break on the weather soon. I’ve been writing a lot about the mental game as it’s clearly the most crucial part of this challenge (or any challenge for that matter). However today I want to honor my body and health. I wholeheartedly believe that nothing in life is more important that being healthy. Without that it’s hard to do or do fully. I’m so fortunate to have parents that instilled that in me from a young age, teaching me the importance of healthy eating and exercise. My dad is an organic farmer so I guess you could say it’s in my blood. Despite feeling exhausted and worn out, I’m grateful for having lived a healthy lifestyle, for without that I’m certain my body would have given up by now. And on the health front, I’m glad to be partnered with @Grandrounds who go above and beyond to guide people to the highest quality healthcare. It’s incredible to know they provide access to medical expertise literally anywhere on the planet! #GrandRounds #TheImpossibleFirst #BePossible

A post shared by Colin O’Brady (@colinobrady) on

While it is very special to be the first, Lou Rudd should be finished before too long as well and it is still an equally impressive accomplishment from him. At the time of this writing, he is just 50 miles away from completion and he will have Colin waiting for him there. You can view his trek here.

As someone who likes to push his body in endurance events, I just cannot even imagine this as this is a whole other level! Congrats to both men.

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • I was in Japan & my wife was reading Lou Rudd’s story & it briefly mentioned the American. He was struggling some & hope he makes it too.

  • This is amazing!!! I ran the Antarctic ice marathon several years ago and absolutely loved every minute of it. Back then there was no WiFi and using a satellite phone was $$$. Kudos to both men! Soon I hope there will be a woman who will do this amazing feat!

    • Every time I think about running in Antarctica, I think about you! Super jealous of you doing that and the North Pole one! Someday, you’ll have to do a post on those! 🙂