A WOMAN who is due to trek across the South Pole on skis in five weeks may have to call it quits following doubts that her sponsor can come up with the funds.
Harriet Walsh, 35, from Bretby, has been undergoing an intense fitness regime in preparation for the trek, which would see her cover 450 kilometres across the South Pole – on skis.
She would fly out for the charity challenge at the start of December and there would be a period of acclimatisation before the trek begins from the Leverett Glacier on December 18.
The total cost of the expedition would be £56,500, of which £16,500 has already been paid from her own pocket. She has two further payments of £20k to make. The first of which she aims to pay herself, meaning she will have paid £36,500 in total from her own funds.
She has also been fund-raising for three charities as part of the challenge.
Ms Walsh told the Mail: “It is quite likely that it could be game over. The problem is that it costs so much that the sponsors can’t find the money.
“It has been on the bubble for the last two weeks. The organisers have said if you can’t find it (the money) you need to declare yourself out.
“If I can’t be certain then I will have to pull out.
“It’s a bit of a kick in the teeth.”
She now ideally needs to find a replacement sponsor but fears there is not enough time as the money - £20,000 – would need to be in place before the trip.
Ms Walsh added: “It is the final payment of £20,000 I am short of and needs to be either paid imminently or have a payment plan in place to be settled by next June. My sponsor was unable to assure me 100 per cent that they could make any contribution at all by next June and this is the problem because I found out so late. I could still earn and save part of the rest of the cost myself but not all of it and this is what I was depending on.
Despite the challenge being in doubt, she is carrying on with the training.
She said: “I have been visualising doing it, it’s the only way I get through training and pulling tyres all day on a Sunday.
“I don’t want to sound defeatist but I need to be realistic.
“I have had such a massive amount of encouragement and support and people have already got on board. I feel like I’m letting a huge amount of people down.”
The trip was originally scheduled for December 2014.