A Larne man is to take part in a 350 mile Arctic circle race to raise funds for and awareness of his sister’s rare illness.
Paramedic Jonathan Davies, 33, will face hazards such as polar bears, wolves, moose and ice road truckers to complete the race in aid of the Smith-Magenis Foundation UK and Great Ormond Street hospital.
Jonathan told The Times that he was motivated to take part in the Arctic race after his 27-year-old sister Clare, who attends Larne Adult Centre, was diagnosed with the condition.
He explained: “Smith-Magenis syndrome is a chromosomal disorder which Clare was born with. She suffers from behavioural problems, learning difficulties, quite severe scoliosis and epilepsy. She wasn’t diagnosed until she was 15 as this is a relatively newly-discovered syndrome.
“Around one in 50,000 people in the UK have it and I hope to raise awareness of it as well as funds.
“I worked in Peru and knew guys who were doing the jungle ultra marathon for Great Ormond Street Hospital, and I thought I wouldn’t mind doing it myself. I don’t like the heat so I chose a cold climate.”
The 6633 Arctic Ultra marathon will see Jonathan, who now lives in Northampton, pulling a sled for 352 miles across the Arctic Circle to the banks of the Arctic Ocean in eight days. He revealed: “The scheme is self-supported so I will pull a sled with all the equipment to keep me alive in temperatures of -40 to -50 degrees from Eagle’s Pass to Tuktoyaktuk.
“Apart from hypothermia there are risks such as polar bears, wolves and moose which could charge at you. Ice Road Truckers is also filmed near that route so there are big vehicles going up and down the road but the local radio would let them know the race is going on.”
In preparation, Jonathan has undertaken circuit training, running and swims in Ballygally bay.
He says that his parents and Clare are proud of his efforts. “I’m very stubborn and determined,” he laughed.
“I’m not planning to give up, I’m just hoping I don’t get injured and the weather will be ok. I’m a paramedic and I like being under pressure.”
The Arctic trek will take place from March 20-29. To donate to Smith Magenis Foundation UK visit https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/jonnydavies6633
For Great Ormond Street visit www.justgiving.com/endurancelimits.