EOCA Ambassador Polar explorer Rune Gjeldnes was awarded The Mungo Park Medal from the Royal Scottish Geographical Society, on 14 June, at Perth Concert Hall. This is the first time since Thor Heyerdal received the medal in 1950 that a Norwegian has been so honored. In addition Rune was granted Honorary Membership of the Society.
The medal is in recognition of Rune's long term and ongoing contribution to geographical knowledge via exploration and study in extreme environments – and for his research into the subject of human behavior in such potentially dangerous situations and environments.
High ranking officers of the Norwegian Navy and Special-Forces attended, an acknowledgement of the value his expeditions and work have had for arctic exploration and military purposes.
As an ex-Special-Marine Gjeldnes has an impressive civil CV. Together with Torry Larsen he was the first, and only, to cross the whole island of Greenland South to North -yes: longways! – most expeditions make the shorter W-E/E-W crossings. The same team were also the first and only to have crossed the Polar sea from Russia to Canada, with no support, in 109 days. Rune then crossed the South Pole continent, making him the only person to have crossed both Poles with no support. The latter trip is also the world’s longest ski trip – 4804 km – this time totally on his own.
Rune’s main sponsor is EOCA Member Bergans Fritid of Norway.