UN to welcome legendary polar explorer Ben Saunders for free public lecture

Date 16.11.2015

​​​The University of Northampton’s Institute of Health and Wellbeing is excited to announce that world record-breaking polar explorer Ben Saunders will be delivering a public lecture on 20 May between 6-8:30pm.

Known for leading one of the most ambitious polar expeditions in a century, Ben was the first person to successfully complete the epic, 105-day, 1,800-mile trek on foot to retrace Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated, early 20th-century journey to the South Pole – an amazing feat of human endurance equivalent to running 69 marathons back to back. Ben will be delivering a lecture entitled ‘The Hardest 105 Days of My Life’.

Of his mammoth expedition, Ben commented: “We can all accomplish great feats through ambition, passion, stubbornness, and refusal to quit. If you dream something hard enough, it does indeed come to pass.”

A speaker at the 2005, 2012, and 2014 TED conferences, Ben was labelled “a master story teller” by TED.  Believing that “No-one else is an authority on your potential” and “Impossible is just an opinion,” Ben combines the allure and nostalgia of 20th century explorers with the ingenuity of today’s modern adventurers. Attendees at this event are guaranteed to witness spectacular visuals, a commanding stage presence, a winning smile, and funny and relatable stories.

The University of Northampton’s Dr Nathan Smith, Lecturer in Sport Psychology, is conducting research into the impact of adventure and exploration. Nathan commented: “It is very exciting to have Ben visit the University. Over the past few months, it has been a great privilege to spend time learning about his journey as a polar adventurer and understand more about him as a person. His achievements are rightly acknowledged as being at the very edge of human performance. Indeed, on completing the Scott Expedition journey in early 2014, Ben and his compatriot Tarka L’Herpiniere finished one of the most iconic, and up to that point incomplete, polar journeys. Join us to learn what it is like to ski for 1,800 miles across the great Antarctic wilderness, and gain an insight into the psychological factors that helps drive and sustain such an incredible voyage.”

In collaboration with Ben Saunders, the University of Northampton’s Dr Nathan Smith and Dr Florence Kinnafick have been documenting the psychological impact of the Scott Expedition journey. Drawing from Ben’s experiences, their research presentation will take you on a journey through the different phases of the expedition, focusing on the psychological processes relevant to planning and preparation, coping with the demands of the challenge, and what happened after achieving the momentous goal. The presentation will finish with an overview of a number of exciting new research projects that have emanated from the Scott Expedition case study. To accompany the presentations, a group of illustrators were commissioned to interpret the key research findings in a visual format. These artistic interpretations will be also be on display during the event.

This event is free to attend. Places are limited and booking is essential. Reserve your place online. To find out more about Ben and his expeditions, visit his website.