Taking on a big challenge can be twice as hard when undertaken solo. If you are cycling solo, there’s nobody to help you if you fall or if you get a puncture. If you’re running solo, there’s nobody to keep you motivated or help with pace. If you’re walking to the South Pole solo, like John Dennis, then you could find yourself spending one month without seeing a single other person while trekking across the coldest and near uninhabited continent.
He hopes to complete his expedition in mid-January 2015, some 37 days after he sets off from Hercules Inlet. The expedition will see him trek 1170kms, towing a pulk that weighs more than 90kgs across the continent of Antarctica, aiming to reach the South Pole.
John has experienced bouts of depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as recently as last year and set himself this incredible goal in order to raise money for two mental health related charities. The first is YoungMinds. YoungMinds aims to improve the emotional wellbeing and mental health of children and young people in the UK by campaigning, researching and influencing policy and practice. 850,000 children in the UK experience mental health issues with nearly 80,000 children and young people experiencing severe depression. The second charity for which John is fundraising is Combat Stress. Combat Stress works with Veterans of the British Armed Forces, and members of the Reserve Forces, providing effective treatment and support for mental health problems such as depression, phobias, anxiety, relationship problems and PTSD, as experienced by John after his time in Afghanistan.
John told us, “If I can complete this route in under 37 days, it would be a fantastic achievement. However, if I can raise awareness for depression and it helps people, all the sacrifices that I’ve asked my family to endure will be made worth it.”
John will become the first New Zealander to complete a solo unsupported traverse to the South Pole and will be keeping his followers up to date with his expedition using the latest equipment in telecommunications, tracking and navigation. John’s incredible solo challenge is all to raise as much awareness of depression and Mental Health as possible.
To support John, you can donate via his Virgin Money Giving page.