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Ex-marine Dave Thomas becomes oldest person to reach South Pole unassisted

An ex-marine has become the oldest person to reach the South Pole unassisted.

Dave Thomas, 68, from Coelbren, southern Powys, has beaten the previous record holder by four years.

He and Alan Chambers reached their destination on 19 January, having spent 58 days in some of the planet's most extreme conditions.

The pair set off from Hercules Inlet on 22 November and skied unassisted for 1,180km.

But they also had to drag their food, fuel and stores in heavy sleds.

Temperatures were around -24C, with a wind chill of -42C while crossing the polar plateau.

Those conditions worsened over the final few days before they reached the finish.

Mr Thomas celebrated his 68th birthday just before Christmas, on the 19th day of the expedition.

"The 1,000km milestone five days ago was huge for us emotionally," he said.

"And although we knew then we were on the final push and we still had several days of hard hauling, we doggedly stuck to our routine, we were determined to keep to our planned pace, and resist any temptation to try and sprint for the finishing line."

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Mr Chambers added that Mission Spiritus had "not been an easy feat" but that their "Commando spirit" had seen them through.

The duo carried out scientific research while on the expedition, looking at the global impact of nanoplastics and the effects of sensory deprivation in prolonged remote climates on the body.