FUNERAL director turned explorer Kris Marley today begins his epic 1,400km trek across the Arctic Circle.
Braving plunging temperatures as low as minus 20 degrees plus wind chill, the 30-year-old from Moorside will make his way across the barren landscape by dog sled and snowmobile and will camp out in the snow for some nights of the 10-day event.
ArcticEnduro 2012 – a challenge which only 40 people in the world have completed – will see Kris cross frozen lakes and ice fish for dinner before taking a polar plunge into the Arctic Ocean.
Kris is taking on the frosty feat in aid of Help for Heroes.
He said: “The 10-day trek will take us across northern Norway and Finland. We’ll be camping out and using a team of huskies to help us along. When the terrain is too hard for them to cross we’ll be using snowmobiles.”
He added: “I’ve always wanted to do a big challenge for charity. I wanted to do the Great North Run but didn’t get in, then I decided to do something completely different from the norm and came across this event.
“It’s usually ex-Forces people who do the ArcticEnduro but no one’s done it for charity before. I have no real connection with Help for Heroes, just a lot of respect for the armed forces and what they do.
“When I was younger I went through all the tests and had a starting date for Sandhurst, but an old spinal injury meant I failed the health checks at the last stage.”
Kris has been training at Virgin Active Health and Racquet Club, Doxford Park which is sponsoring his challenge.
“I’ve been doing a lot of resistance training, weights and cardio for the trek and have been going to the gym about four or five times a week,” he explained.
“I’ve been so busy doing that and fund-raising for the challenge that it hasn’t all sunk in yet so I’m excited rather than nervous. Recently the temperatures have dipped to minus 50 degrees but we’ll be wearing all the right gear for the conditions.”
•To sponsor Kris, log on to www.bmycharity.com/survivingthearctic2012
•He’ll be updating his Twitter feed when possible to keep people posted on his progress, follow him @Kris_Marley
Day One: Flight to Oslo/Kirkenes Norway
Day Two: Huskies and Wild Camping. He we will be kitted out with snow suits and boots before being introduced to the dog team. A day’s journey lies ahead before arriving at the wilderness campsite.
Day Three: Huskies to Neiden. Another day with the huskies before reaching Neiden, a staging post for the famous dog team races, the Finnmarkslopet challenge.
Day Four: Neiden to Polmak. The team swap the huskies for snowmobiles.
Day Five: Polmak to Inari. Kris will travel south crossing the frozen Lake Inari into Finland.
Day Six: Inari to Karasjok. A day racing over the ice back into Norway to Karasjok, the Sámi capital.
Day Seven: Karasjok to Utsjoki.
Day Eight: Utsjoki to the Arctic Ocean.
Day Nine: Sámi encampment to Neiden.
Day 10: Neiden to London.