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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Thursday, 27 December, 2001, 10:47 GMT
Runner warms to ice race challenge
Doug Richards
Doug Richards will wear a mask to protect his face
A university researcher from Redditch is running a sub-zero race in Siberia in the new year to raise money for his favourite charity.

Doug Richards is tackling the extreme conditions of the Siberian Ice Marathon in Omsk in early January in the latest of a series of tough challenges.

"I enjoy running in difficult environments and that's why I chose this race," said Mr Richards, who has run a 200-mile marathon in the Sahara Desert and a 160-mile race in China.

"A big part is the research and preparation into the conditions and how to deal with the extremes of temperature."

Doug Richards
Doug Richards has run in a desert marathon

He expects the Siberian race to be icy and slippery with temperatures dipping to -40C.

"I won't have any skin exposed, otherwise it would freeze during the race," he said.

He will wear mittens, a hat with a flap, a special-designed mask and balaclava, and ear muffs for the 11-mile race.

"You need to get the moisture wicked away from the skin and evaporated. If it stays inside, the moisture will turn to ice."

Frozen eyes

He will also have shoes with extra grips on the soles made for running in extreme conditions

Only 11 out of 223 runners finished last year's race, as many had problems with their eyes freezing over.

Arctic landscape in winter
Temperatures in Siberia are expected to fall to -40C

Mr Richards said he is raising money for the Meningitis Trust after a young girl died of the illness in his hometown earlier this year.

He said the Chinese race was one of his biggest challenges, as he ran 260 miles in 12 days.

That race included a section along the Great Wall near Beijing and another at an altitude of 12,000 feet in Tibet.

Mr Richards is no stranger to long-distance running, having completed 25 marathons, including ones in New York, Paris and Honolulu.

He will have some company in this race as he is running with seven other Britons in Omsk.

Click here to go to BBC Birmingham Online
See also:

04 Nov 01 | Americas
Brits run for America
16 Apr 99 | Medical notes
Marathons - how to survive one
01 Oct 01 | England
Marathon man keeps on runnin'
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