Prince Harry patron of charity race

The charity's co-founder Edward Parker says the challenge will show the close bond between the UK forces and our allies

The charity's co-founder Edward Parker says the challenge will show the close bond between the UK forces and our allies

First published in National News © by

Prince Harry will be the patron of a charity race to the South Pole between three teams of wounded servicemen from around the world.

The 27-year-old royal, who last year joined a group of injured soldiers as they trekked to the North Pole, is now supporting the Walking With The Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge 2013.

Groups of armed forces personnel from Britain, the United States and the Commonwealth - who sustained physical or cognitive injuries in the line of duty - will take part in the brutal competition in November and December next year.

Depending on his military commitments Harry could dust off his skis to take part in the race, but St James's Palace said it was "far too early" to tell. A spokesman said: "The option is being kept open, but no decision has been made."

During the four-week Antarctic expedition the racers will trek a total of 210 miles, drag sledges - known as pulks - weighing more than 150lb (68kg) and face extreme temperatures as low as -45C, along with savage 50mph winds.

The Allied Challenge to the South Pole will combine five charities for injured servicemen and women from across the globe. Funds raised will be shared among the host organisation Walking With the Wounded (UK), Soldiers to Summits (USA), Soldier On (Canada), Soldier On (Australia) and Wounded Warrior Trust (New Zealand).

Harry said earlier this year: "The vision behind Walking With The Wounded, to reintegrate wounded servicemen and women successfully into civilian life, recognises the unquenchable spirit and drive of those young people. It aims to harness their determination and energy, whilst adjusting their mindset to face the numerous challenges that lie ahead. The adventures exemplify the tenacity and remarkable courage of those who serve in uniform."

A Walking With The Wounded team attempted to climb Mount Everest in May this year, but their expedition was called off as the five injured soldiers came across life-threatening avalanches and dangerous weather conditions. Last year four wounded servicemen successfully reached the North Pole in record time.

Next year's challenge, which will involve daily treks of between nine and 13 miles, has been predicted by polar experts to be the largest modern day expedition of its type.

Edward Parker, co-founder of Walking With The Wounded, said the challenge would "demonstrate the close bond between the UK forces and our allies". He added: "There is no doubt that the young men and women who take part in our expeditions are an inspiration. They prove what is possible post-injury given the right support."

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