Polar explorer and world record-breaking long-distance skier Ben Saunders is a man who is making history. Best known for leading one of the most ambitious polar expeditions in a century, he was the first 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 – equivalent to running 69 marathons back to back. Of his expedition he said, "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, he was labeled "a master story teller" by TED. Believing that "No one else is an authority on your potential" and "Impossible is just someone's opinion," Ben combines the allure and nostalgia of 20th century explorers with the ingenuity of today's modern adventurers. His presentation takes you to the ends of the Earth and back and showcases spectacular visuals, a commanding stage presence, a winning smile, and funny and relatable stories.
Ben enthralls audiences as he touches on themes like challenging conventional wisdom, pushing past self-imposed limits, the disconnect between ideas and action, communicating with your team, and managing change (the landscapes he travels are in constant flux). Ben jokes that he makes a living by dragging heavy things in cold places, but his message is one of inspiration, empowerment, and boundless potential. Ben has also developed innovative technologies that allow him to live blog his adventures and he is known for his incredible pictures and video.
To the Poles and Back Again. Ben has accomplished some of the world's most impressive polar expeditions. He has five North Pole expeditions under his belt. He is the youngest person to ski solo to the North Pole and holds the record for the longest solo Arctic journey by a Briton. He also holds the record for the longest human-powered polar journey in history and is the third in history and the youngest by 10 years to reach the North Pole alone and on foot. Since 2001, he has skied more than 3,730 miles (or 142 marathons) in the Polar regions.
A Man of Adventure. Ben is a powerful advocate for the natural world. He has seen first-hand the effects of climate change, and his expeditions are raising awareness for sustainable solutions. He has also climbed in the Nepalese Himalayas, worked as an instructor at the John Ridgway School of Adventure, raced bikes at a national level, and run seven marathons and three ultra-marathons.
While not pulling a sledge, Ben has contributed to a number of publications and is releasing a book in conjunction with TED, in which he "will unravel mysterious roots of perseverance, and share ideas about traits we all posses that allow us to tap into our deepest store of tenacity."