Arctic marathon attempt sees Northampton man sign waiver against being eaten by a polar bear

Jonathan Davies with his sister, Clare
Jonathan Davies with his sister, Clare

A Northampton man who is running an Arctic marathon in minus 30 degrees Celsius tempratures has said the thing he is most nervous of is the danger of being eaten by a polar bear.

Jonathan Davies, from Cross Brooks in Wootton Fields, will spend a week walking in temperatures below minus 30 degrees Celsius during the trip from Eagle Plains in Yukon, to the edge of the Arctic Ocean.

Jonathan Davies in training

Jonathan Davies in training

By undertaking the challenge, he aims to raise thousands of pounds for Great Ormond Street Hospital and Smith-Magenis Syndrome Foundation UK - a rare learning disability which his younger sister Clare has.

The 33-year-old paramedic said: “We had to sign a waiver about the risk of karibou attacks and being eaten by polar bears.”

Mr Davies will begin by flying to Vancouver in Canada on March 15, ready to begin the 350-mile trek on March 20.

He said: “I’ve been training for nine months and am currently running for about 35 hours per week in full kit, including the balaclava.

“But the race itself is walked because it’s important to control body temperature.

“About 30 people take part every year but only 11 people have completed it in the last nine years. But I don’t plan on failing.

“You spend most of the time alone, sometimes in white-out blizzards, and there is minimal help available. My plan is to walk about 50 miles per day and sleep for four hours at a time.”

The 6633 Ultra race claims to be the “toughest, coldest and windiest extreme ultra marathon on the planet” and sees participants complete 120 or 350-mile walking journeys mainly along the Dempster Highway - the treacherous ice road featured in Channel Five’s Ice Road Truckers -into the Arctic Circle and, for the longer race, up to the edge of the Arctic Ocean at Tuktoyaktuk.

Those taking part in the longer race, such as Mr Davies, will finish at Tuktoyaktuk. They will take with them an eight-day kit on a sled and stopping to camp and eat along the way.

There are two checkpoints before the finish line which guarantee only emergency shelter and hot water.

Already a keen athlete, Mr Davies has embarked on extreme physical challenges for charity and plans on taking part in seven marathons this year.

In preparation for the Ultra 6633, he has been doing long treks in Brompton Valley and along the Grand Canal in Northamptonshire, as well as up Mount Snowdon and around the Brecon Beacons in Wales.

Mr Davies said:“I’m excited but quite nervous - mainly about the prospect of going to the toilet in sub-zero temperatures as you cannot expose any part of your body at any point.

“I’ve had lots of support from my girlfriend, family and friends, including those back in my hometown of Larne in Northern Ireland.”

To add to the support and find out more, visit Mr Davies’ Facebook page: Jonny Davies Yukon 6633 2015.