Wales

Ex-Dragons player Richard Parks wept in Welsh flag at South Pole

Richard Parks in front of Everest Image copyright Richard Parks
Image caption Richard Parks, pictured at Everest, says he wept in his Welsh flag on reaching the South Pole

Emotionally drained and down to his last snack bar, Richard Parks "burst into tears in my Welsh flag" on arriving at the South Pole.

The ex-Wales rugby international-turned-adventurer broke his own record to ski solo there in just 28 days.

The ex-Dragons player's previous best, a British record set in 2014, was 29 days, 19 hours and 24 minutes.

Some days he skied as much as 19 hours a day to finish his challenge on 15 January.

There were "difficult" snow conditions and visibility was sometimes like "the inside of a ping-pong ball", he said.

He did not break the world record of 24 days, one hour and 13 minutes, set by Norwegian Christian Eide.

Parks said this meant he had to stretch his rations "to last 28, 29 days".

"That made life really tough because I wasn't able to change my skiing strategy," Mr Parks said.

"I was still skiing 16 to 19 hours a day at threshold, but I was operating on around 2,000 calories a day for the last six days.

"Physically, emotionally and mentally that made life very difficult."

Things "came right down to the wire".

"I arrived at the South Pole with one snack bar left so the margin was tiny," Mr Parks said.

Image copyright BBC Sport
Image caption Richard Parks during his world record attempt to ski unsupported to the South Pole

He told the BBC he "gave it my best shot."

"Arriving at the South Pole a couple of days ago to break my British record to become the person who skied more solo and unsupported miles in Antarctic history is incredible," the 42-year-old said.

"I'm pretty beaten up. I'm shattered. It'll take months to recover but I feel so happy."

The last two-and-a-half years had "been an uphill struggle".

Mr Parks said: "All the challenges that come with trying to prepare for a project like this, to just touch the geographical South Pole marker I just burst into tears, just burst into tears in my Welsh flag."

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