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Summary:

Parker Liautaud is on an expedition to the North Pole, where he plans to check in via Foursquare and be the first to earn the Last Degree badge. But he has some company: a British insurance executive wants to be the first to check in, too.

We told you about Parker Liautaud, the 15-year-old who is trying to be the first to check in at the North Pole using Foursquare, as part of an attempt to raise awareness of the environment in the Arctic. If he makes it, he will win a special Last Degree badge from Foursquare, and become one of the youngest people ever to ski to the North Pole. But it turns out Parker has some competition: David Newman, the 44-year-old CEO of a British insurance company called Carole Nash, is also heading for the North Pole, and wants to be the first to check in via Foursquare. He even has some special gear — a smartphone tethered to a satellite phone — that will allow him to do so, a spokesperson for his team says (Foursquare has been cracking down on people who check in from places they aren’t actually at, in order to win mayorships or badges).

Like Parker, the British adventurer is also sharing the details of his arduous expedition (he is walking to the North Pole, while the teenager is skiing) via the web, including a Flickr group and a Twitter account for updates and regular audio podcast posts. Newman, who says he has been on several Arctic expeditions before, has joined up with a team of British and Norwegian explorers and is raising money for a group called Riders for Health as well as a brain injury treatment center.

Carole Nash CEO David Newman

Parker Liautaud’s quest has likely gotten more than a little support from his family: his father is Bernard Liautaud, who co-founded Business Objects and later sold the company to SAP in 2007 for almost $7 billion. His expedition is also being sponsored by General Electric (Note: Parker’s spokesperson says he approached GE himself for sponsorship and that his father hasn’t helped finance his trip). His competitor, however, says that his trip has been completely paid for without sponsorship (Carole Nash is apparently the largest motorcycle insurance firm in the United Kingdom). It’s not exactly Amundsen and Scott racing for the South Pole, but now at least it’s a contest.

Post and thumbnail photos courtesy of Flickr user Kenyai

By Mathew Ingram

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  1. Wow what a waste!!

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  2. Meanwhile, Gowalla is probably begging someone to go to the North Pole for them.

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  3. Both are essentially doing the same thing. They are being flown up to the Borneo Ice Station about 60NM from the Pole and then they will be guided up to the North Pole from there. You can see more info here: http://www.northpolextreme.com/north-pole-adventure-ski.html

    Iridium is the only phone that works up there and the bandwidth is minuscule so checking in might be possible but not much else.

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    1. Thanks for the info, Tony.

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