Ed Coats is a doctor in a busy Maternity Unit in Bath with degrees in Medicine, Extreme Physiology and Medical Law. In 2009 he was chosen to join James Cracknell and Ben Fogle on the first ever race to the South Pole, the first attempt of its kind since Amundsen beat Captain Scott in 1912. Ed completed a two-day selection course to win his place on the expedition team beating over 650 applicants. The trip and selection process was filmed for a 5-part TV documentary series for BBC2 called ‘On Thin Ice’.
Six teams from around the world took part in what has been billed as the toughest endurance race on the planet. The team raced 500 miles unsupported across Antarctica for 16 hours a day in temperatures as low as -50 degrees Celsius, while pulling 80kg sleds behind them. The team raced across crevasse fields while battling blisters, frostbite, hallucinations and pneumonia. They eventually finished in second place, an achievement due in no small part to Ed’s clear-headed support and mediation between his two more experienced team mates.
Prior to ‘The South Pole Race’, Ed was no stranger to physical hardship. He has represented Great Britain as a track and field decathlete. He is an accomplished swimmer and has led two teams to successfully swim the English Channel. In 2010 his ’30 at 30′ project saw him attempt thirty adventurous challenges in the UK, including the Thames swim, a ‘Coast to Coast’ race across Scotland and an endurance marathon on Dartmoor.
Ed recently returned from a successful ski expedition to The Geographic North Pole, which was filmed for Channel 5’s ‘North Pole Ice Airport’. Over the last two years Ed has also helped lead and film a series of ‘Extreme classroom’ projects in the High Arctic and in Africa for the BBC, challenging some of the most vulnerable children in our society and helping them to flourish with the right approach.
In presentations Ed talks about maximizing performance in new teams and how to develop a cohesive understanding of teams dynamics. He weighs up individual and collective responsibility in teams and how to form effective and efficient bonds. He looks at the advantages and hurdles to teamwork and how team dynamics can impact on a project.