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Canadian Sets Record!

A Quebec man has become the first person to reach the centre of Antarctica alone, without mechanical assistance – and he's done it in record time.

Frederic Dion, 37, arrived Monday, by kite-ski, at the point in Antarctica known as the "South Pole of inaccessibility."

While the spot is not quite the South Pole, it's considered the most remote and most challenging destination to reach in Antarctica because it's the farthest point from the ocean.

Dion began his 2,100 kilometre trek on Nov. 10 and reports on his blog that he had to contend with temperatures of minus 50 degrees Celsius at times, and blizzards with winds of 150 kilometres an hour. He's also had to deal with his sled breaking apart, and a fire that nearly burned his tent down.

Because Antarctica is the windiest continent on Earth, Dion has been able to harness those winds to kite-ski several kilometres a day.

Reaching the centre of Antarctica alone, without mechanical assistance, is a feat that has been accomplished only twice before, in 2006 and 2011. But in both cases, it was achieved by teams of adventurers. As well, in both cases, the groups took over 45 days to reach their goal; Dion arrived after just 36 days.

Dion, who works as a motivational speaker, says reaching the centre of Antarctica has long been his dream and he encourages others to pursue their passions.

"Live the adventure, try to realize your dream, try some challenges," he said Monday.

"Being here being the first person in the world to get to the centre of Antarctica it's my dream, it's my passion. I don't tell everybody to do this; it's very hard. It's fun for me but it's not for everybody. But we all have some dreams, some passions to go with."

Dion now plans to continue another 900 kilometres to reach the geographic South Pole, sometime in the next 30 days. He'll then make his way back to shore to begin the journey home to Quebec.

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