British para-skier aims to be first disabled person to ski to the South Pole solo and unsupported

Jonny Huntington completing Manchester to London Marathon
Jonny Huntington completing Manchester to London Marathon (Image credit: Jonny Huntington / Instagram)

Former Great Britain para-athlete Jonny Huntington completed an ultra marathon yesterday from Manchester to London to help raise awareness of his next, far more ambitious challenge – to be the first disabled person to ski solo and unsupported to the South Pole.

Next year, stroke survivor Huntington is aims to ski across 911km of Antarctic tundra in an expedition that he aims to complete in 40 days.

“This is a massive undertaking for an able-bodied person,” says Huntington. “Add my restricted movements, especially my lower leg, and it takes the challenge to a whole new level.”

Huntington, 37, from South Devon, suffered a stroke in 2014, having joined the army the year before. The bleed in his brain happened just eight weeks after he was commissioned into Sandhurst, leaving him paralyzed on one side of his body. Following the stroke, he suffered depression and even considered taking his own life.

But after two and a half years in rehabilitation and learned to walk again, though he still has restricted mobility on his left side.

During his recovery Huntington became a member of the Armed Forces Para-Snowsport Team (AFPST), which led to him becoming one of the first athletes in a new GB Para Nordic ski team. From 2017 to 2020 he competed at international level.

During his recovery Jonny became a member of the Armed Forces Para-Snowsport Team (AFPST), which fuelled his love of cross-country skiing.

His mammoth ultra-marathon from Manchester to London raised money for The AFPST, Adaptive Grand Slam (AGS) and Invictus Games Foundation charities.

Along the way, he visited schools to show local children that anything is possible with self-belief and determination. “It's important I use this as an opportunity to inspire children around the country, helping to give young people the belief and confidence to attempt incredible things and live up to their potential,” he told the PA News Agency. “I’m a really passionate believer in encouraging people to have ambitious goals because I think it’s really important. Wouldn’t you rather go through life dreaming big and missing occasionally than just never trying?”