Harpenden explorer setting off on ground-breaking expedition to South Pole

Rob Smith earlier this year when he visited the North Pole as part of his training

Rob Smith earlier this year when he visited the North Pole as part of his training

Archant

An explorer whose life was badly affected by cancer will be begin an expedition today (Monday) that no-one has ever attempted before.

Rob Smith earlier this year when he visited the North Pole as part of his trainingRob Smith earlier this year when he visited the North Pole as part of his training

Rob Smith, of Harpenden, will be completing a new route over 46 days in the South Pole - making him the first Briton to take a new route in more than 100 years.

The father of one, whose day job is in IT, has already completed a 220km expedition in the North Pole with fellow St Albans resident Ed Suttie as ‘cold weather training’.

He has taken on the challenge to raise £50,000 for Cancer Research UK after the disease affected his life dramatically four years ago.

Rob told the Herts Advertiser earlier this year: “There was a period when a good friend of mine, I’ve known him since I was born, he literally got cancer, was told, and then died about two weeks later.

Rob Smith earlier this year when he visited the North Pole as part of his trainingRob Smith earlier this year when he visited the North Pole as part of his training

“It was really quick, and in that two week period he had his first baby as well, so it was horrendous, absolutely horrendous. He managed to hold his baby and that was it.

“Then a month after that, my mother died of cancer; she had cancer for 25 years or so. Then a month after that I got it, which was just, somebody up there is not liking me.”

Now in remission, Rob will fly out to Chile on Monday (28) where he will then get another plane to his team’s starting point in the Antarctic before their 640km journey to the South Pole.

He told the Herts Advertiser recently: “The North Pole was absolutely fantastic, so I am very much looking forward to going. It is quite an amazing opportunity, to think that nobody has ever taken this route before, and we’ll be seeing places that have never been seen before; it’s exciting.

“Obviously it comes with its dangers but we are well-prepared.”

Rob has undertaken a gruelling training schedule - but has spent the last few weeks getting as much rest as possible and putting on weight to counter the thousands of calories he will be expelling each day. He added: “I will come back very skinny.”

This all comes alongside Rob’s full-time job - where he is working from 6am to 2.30am in the build up to his trip. He said: “I’m not your average explorer, I’m still holding now a 24/7 job at the moment.”

He has currently raised 10 per cent of his target. If you would like to donate, please click here.

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