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Military Vets & Celebrities Embark on Epic Race to the South Pole

Walking with the Wounded Race to the South Pole
Three teams of wounded servicemen and women will race to the South Pole for charity. (Image credit: Walking with the Wounded)

Three teams of wounded military veterans and their celebrity teammates will soon begin a grueling race to the South Pole in an attempt to trek more than 200 miles (335 kilometers) in 16 days through the bone-chillingly cold conditions of Antarctica.

The charity race is organized by Walking with the Wounded, an organization based in the United Kingdom that supports injured soldiers. The South Pole challenge is designed to raise money for men and women who were wounded during military service by demonstrating their extraordinary courage and determination, according to the organization's website.

Team Glenfiddich, Team Noom Coach and Team Soldier On are made up of 12 wounded servicemen and womenfrom the U.K., U.S. and the Commonwealth (Australia and Canada), respectively. The groups will travel roughly 10 to 12 miles (15 to 20 km) each day, amid strong, frosty winds and at temperatures that can dip to minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 35 degrees Celsius).

The soldiers are also joined by celebrity teammates: Prince Harry is a member of the U.K.'s team; actor Alexander Skarsgard, from the HBO series "True Blood," will race with the American team; and actor Dominic West, who starred in the hit TV show "The Wire," is a member of the Commonwealth's team.

Last week, the racers gathered in London to meet with Queen Elizabeth, and to take part in a series of public events to mark the start of their daring expedition. Over the weekend, the three teams flew from London to Cape Town in South Africa. They were scheduled to fly on to Novo Airbase in Antarctica on Monday (Nov. 18), but bad weather grounded the planes overnight.

The teams will remain in Cape Town until the weather improves, a royal representative said.

Once the teams reach Antarctica, the racers will spend a few days adjusting to the climate. The race is tentatively scheduled to begin on Nov. 30, and race organizers are anticipating the winner may reach the South Pole by Dec. 16.

The race participants have undergone extensive training in preparation for their South Pole expedition. The teammates completed cold-weather training in Iceland in March, team training throughout the summer, and recently finished a final round of snow preparation in October.

Members of the public can follow the journey, or donate to the cause, on the Walking with the Wounded website.

Follow Denise Chow on Twitter @denisechow. Follow OurAmazingPlanet @OAPlanet, Facebook and Google+. Original article at LiveScience's OurAmazingPlanet.

Denise Chow
Live Science Contributor

Denise Chow was the assistant managing editor at Live Science before moving to NBC News as a science reporter, where she focuses on general science and climate change. Before joining the Live Science team in 2013, she spent two years as a staff writer for Space.com, writing about rocket launches and covering NASA's final three space shuttle missions. A Canadian transplant, Denise has a bachelor's degree from the University of Toronto, and a master's degree in journalism from New York University.