By Adam Skolnick
New York Times News Service
The final miles of a nearly two-month race across Antarctica ended Wednesday with a sprint to the finish.
“I don’t know, something overcame me,” O’Brady said. “I just felt locked in for the last 32 hours, like a deep flow state. I didn’t listen to any music — just locked in, like I’m going until I’m done. It was profound, it was beautiful, and it was an amazing way to finish up the project.”
As of Wednesday, an Englishman, Louis Rudd, 49, was on the ice.
Rudd had been racing O’Brady from the Messner Start on the Ronne Ice Shelf to the Ross Ice Shelf at the foot of Leverett Glacier. The two adventurers departed Punta Arenas, Chile, on Halloween and then the Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions base camp at Union Glacier on Nov. 3.
O’Brady said he woke on Christmas morning at more than 8,000 feet above sea level, yet he sensed that his moment had arrived. Conservative calculations placed him three to four days from finishing his journey, but O’Brady said that, while making breakfast, he started to think.
“I just woke up on Christmas morning, just thinking about it, and I was like, all right, I have three more days left, how many hours is that of moving?” O’Brady said. “People run 100 miles all the time.”
On Christmas night, the clock ticked past 11 p.m. with no word from O’Brady.
Instead, he set up his tent and rested for 90 minutes, boiled water and ate a double ration of dinner. He also finally made contact with his wife, Jenna Besaw.
“Jenna texted me, was like, ‘Wow, 40 miles, you had such an amazing day, you should stop get some rest and do it again tomorrow,’ ” O’Brady said. “And I was like, ‘I’m not stopping.’ I kind of said to her, ‘I need your 100 percent support. Trust me.’ ”