London: In an astonishing feat, a British woman has become the first person in the world to cycle to the South Pole beating two male rivals in a 800 km challenge to ride across Antarctica in 10 days.
Maria Leijerstam, 35, from the Vale of Glamorgan achieved the feat overcoming adverse problems like snow drifts, white outs and crevasses during the journey from the edge of the continent on a purpose-built recumbent cycle.
"I`ve had to get my body prepared for burning fat and not carbohydrates, so I`ve been training for two to three hours on an empty stomach which teaches my body to become more efficient," Leijerstam was quoted as saying before setting out on her journey.
Her mother Adrianne Leijerstam said the success was down to "meticulous planning, super fitness both physically and mentally, and pure determination."
Leijerstam set off from the Novo Russian air force base on December 16 taking a shorter steeper route than her rivals - American Daniel Burton and Spaniard Juan Menendez Granados - and soon had a lead on them, BBC reported.
The former management consultant`s route took her over the Leverett Glacier.
"From the time she was 12 years old and announced she wanted to be an astronaut, Maria has always been an adventurer. We are thrilled she has made it in such good time," Adrianne Leijerstam was quoted as saying.
In 1911 Norwegian Roald Amundsen was the first person to reach the South Pole using two-metre long skis.
He was five weeks ahead of the expedition party led by Robert Falcon Scott, which set out from Cardiff.
Scott and his four companions died on their return journey.