Two women who were part of an all-female team that made history earlier this year by crossing the Antarctic unaided have revealed medical tests showed the extraordinary endurance of their bodies.
Six women from the British Army, known as the Ice Maidens, became the largest all-female group to ski coast to coast on the frozen continent.
They completed the 1,000-mile journey in extreme conditions, pulling an 80kg sledge behind them in temperatures as low as -42C for 62 days before crossing the finishing line at Hercules Inlet in January.
Two members of the team, Royal Signals reservist Major Sandy Hennis and Honourable Artillery Company reservist Lance Sergeant Sophie Montagne, visited Northern Ireland this week as part of a post-expedition outreach programme.
They have been speaking to a wide range of people including schoolgirls at Glenlola Collegiate in Bangor, the PSNI, Queen’s University Officer Training Corps, Mid and East Antrim Council’s ‘Seven Ages of Women’ event, the Scouts, and Girl Guides.
Medical results suggest a “high female biological capacity for extreme endurance exercise”.
They described aiming to eat 5,000 calories a day on their trek, while they were expending up to 10,000 calories.
Results from previous expeditions – mostly made up of men and civilian women – found participants lost a considerable amount more body mass than they did.
After working to gain weight before the expedition, Sandy lost around 12kg, finishing just 2kg underweight.
The full results of medical tests using data gathered from the women during their expedition are expected to be published in the coming weeks.