MEET Type 2 Diabetic Neil Hunter, who in November will be embarking on a 700-mile expedition to ski from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole with CurraNZ.
Our explorer is “relishing” the prospect of tackling the coldest and windiest continent on earth unsupported in a bid to raise awareness and funds on behalf of Diabetes UK.
As a big fan of our supplement, Neil recently contacted us to see if we’d like to get involved – and it was an easy decision.
This extraordinary adventurer is bidding to showcase that having Type 2 Diabetes needn’t stop you from being fit, active and ‘showing that big adventures are still possible’.
We’re thrilled that our small-but-mighty capsules will be providing him valuable nutrition in the absence of any fresh fruit and vegetables for this gruelling physical six/seven-week challenge.
No stranger to tough challenges, the former submariner hasn’t let diabetes hold him back after being diagnosed with the condition in 2005 that spelled the end of his career in the Forces.
He says: “Navy policy meant they couldn’t have an injecting diabetic go to sea even with a doctor, so I was medically discharged after serving for 17 years.”
However Neil responded to that development by rowing the Atlantic in 67 days in a pair that very same year (above), and hasn’t looked back since.
Having been using CurraNZ ‘for years’, Neil has scaled many mountains and traversed the second-largest ice cap that covers Greenland.
“I’ve been wanting to do this Antarctica expedition for a few years now and have had to pack in a lot of preparation in a short time frame, which is where CurraNZ is coming in, as it really helps with my high volume of training."
To prepare for the conditions he will face in Antarctica, Neil can presently be found hauling tyre sledges up the Devil’s Punchbowl in Surrey and has spent time in the Alps ‘brushing up’ on his crevasse skills.
"The long hours dragging tyres around to simulate the sledge-pulling takes its toll but this has been somewhat eased by taking CurraNZ before any training stints, reducing the soreness and fatigue I would otherwise have and allowing me to train hard again the next day.
“In Antarctica I’ll be skiing for eight-ten hours a day, with five-ten-minute breaks every hour and burning about 9,000 calories a day. Even very simple tasks are difficult in temperatures down to -45C and there will be an ever-present risk of frost bite.”
Only 29 have successfully completed this challenge before. However, it’s doubtful any of his predecessors were insulin-dependent Type 2 Diabetics, which adds another level of complexity to his challenge.
The ice of Antarctica is not a smooth sheet but a continuously changing expanse of glaciers and crevasse fields with cracks hundreds of feet deep, hidden by only a shallow layer of snow.
“The crevasses will be my biggest concern, and if I fall down one, I know I have the skills and knowledge to get out.
“I am familiar with the mental and physical challenges of extreme expeditions, so I have an understanding of what lies ahead.
“The whole idea of being out there excites me so much, I cannot wait. There will be dark days, bad times, but I’m a glass ‘half full’ kind of person and experienced being deeply uncomfortable with my previous challenges.
"In a perverse way I’m relishing it, it if was easy I would be disappointed. I know I have the right mentality and my body will cope.
“I hope that others can take encouragement from this and realise that there are no borders to being Diabetic.”
To support Neil on his fundraising target of £15,000 for Diabetes UK, go to his JustGiving page to find out more.
Stay tuned for more updates as we follow Neil’s progress in upcoming newsletters.
Follow Neil on Social!
Instagram: @ 90_degrees_south_solo
Twitter: @ south_solo