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Interview with Polar participant Phil Raisbeck

How’s your daily life?

I live in Sunderland in the North East of England and work as an IT Consultant. I go to the gym most days as well as some training in the house. On the evenings I tend to spend most of my time looking and planning my next weekend away or next challenging adventure. I like to play the guitar, though I haven’t done this for quite some time due to my recent outdoor activities, though I do hope to get back into this soon.

During Fjällräven Polar you will not only managing but you will also be responsible for the comfort and wellbeing of six Alaskan Huskies. What’s your experience with dogs?

As for my experience with dogs. Well to be honest it’s not a lot. I used to have a Springer Spaniel dog when I was a child, but that was of course many years ago, so I’m looking forward to the challenge of being responsible for looking after six Alaskan Huskies. I have heard from a few people that these dogs are a special and unique breed with special characteristics to work as they do in such extreme winter conditions. So I’m really looking forward to meeting my six new friends. I just hope they like me and can understand my English accent.

How have you prepared yourself?

I decided to arrange a winter skills course in the Scottish Highlands. This was a fantastic course and learned a lot of essential winter skills in some of the most extreme winter weather I have ever experienced, which was perfect conditions for our course and showed just how dangerous winter mountaineering can be without the correct knowledge and equipment. Although the Fjällräven Polar isn’t a mountaineering adventure, there were still lots of skills gained on the course which will help me during the Polar adventure.

A friend passed on the details of my Polar adventure to the Sports Scientists at Sunderland University to see if they could offer any help and support. After they wired me up and put me through various tests on their treadmill, they produced a seven week training plan for me to follow to help me get in best physical condition I could in the build up to the Polar.

I have also been getting outdoors as much as possible at weekends with trips to Scotland attempting Munro Mountains and putting my winter skills to use.

What kind of reactions have you got from friends and family?

The support I have had from friends, family and work colleagues has been amazing. Right through the whole application voting process and the build up to the event. I never expected the interest and attention my application generated. Such as Facebook posts on local news sites, Intranet feature stories at work, radio interviews, newspaper articles, celebrity tweets from Alan Hinkes (the first Briton to have climbed all 14 of the world’s mountains over 8000m high), as well as being asked by Trek & Mountain magazine to write about Polar my experience and many more.

It’s also been great getting to meet all my fellow Fjällräven Polar participants from around the world virtually via our Facebook group and you can feel the excitement amongst us all. I think we all appreciate how lucky we all are to have this unique opportunity to take part in this event and I’m certain this is something we will remember for the rest of our lives, as well as forming lifelong friendships and sharing many future adventures together. I really can’t wait!

You can follow Phil Raisbeck on the Outdoor blog network Outdrr check it out: Phil Your Boots.