Originally from Devon, Rachel, 32, is an Events Co-ordinator for a London based charity organising high-profile fundraisers including dinners, auctions, award ceremonies and concerts. When not in a ballgown and high-heels she is often indulging her passion for adventure. She has trekked in Thailand, rafted the rapids in New Zealand, snowboarded in France, scaled Cotopaxi in Ecuador – the worlds highest active volcano, parachuted in Australia and in May 2005 completed her first triathlon at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. The Greenland Quest will be her toughest challenge to date, both mentally and physically, but she can’t wait to set foot in the Arctic with the rest of the team.
Why are you doing this?
I love the idea of travelling to a place that very few people have the opportunity (or inclination!) to go to, combined with the challenge of crossing a polar desert and becoming the fastest team to do so. I get a genuine thrill from thinking about the possibilities of this expedition: I want to test my body’s capabilities, both physically and mentally; I am excited about the new skills I will learn, such as power-kiting and cross-country skiing; I enjoy meeting new people and I know that I will finish this journey with three new friends who will may know more about me than they really want to!
What are you most looking forward to about the expedition?
Stepping onto the ice-cap with the other foxes and experiencing the feeling of being encompassed by a huge expanse of ice and sky – I have been told that it is a beautiful and haunting landscape.
What are you most dreading about the expedition?
The potential danger of falling down a crevasse or loosing my team mates whilst kiting. The kites have the capability to reach incredible speeds which can make it impossible to spot a crevasse ahead until you have fallen into it, and the speed also means that you only have to go in the wrong direction for a few minutes before finding yourself very much alone in a polar desert.
What inspires you?
I have always been inspired by people who have the courage to take on challenges that others’ may deem impossible, improbable, or just plain difficult, and also by people who have the courage to overcome difficulties however large or small. I also find inspiration in people who look to make life better for those around them, and have the ability to make others smile.
Who would you take as the fifth team member?
I would love to have been able to take my gran when she was young. She had a fantastic spirit of adventure and a mischievous sense of humour, which would definitely have kept everyone buoyant if things started to get hard. She was also determined and never gave up on her goals: she travelled around China in her 80s despite her movements being severely restricted by Rheumatoid arthritis. I would also engage the talents of my other gran as our UK project manager. She was equally inspiring and fun to be with, and would have dealt with any problems with precision and flair.
How will you prepare mentally?
By training hard and ensuring that I am physically fit, and confident with skills such as navigation, wilderness first aid and cross-county skiing. I already believe that the foxes are capable of completing our Greenland quest. The comprehensive training programme we have set in place will mean we arrive there feeling that we can face any challenge that may come our way.
What will you take with you for luck?
A St Christopher’s pendant that has escorted me on many long journeys. It has the advantage of being very small and very light so will not add extra pounds to an already bulging pulk!