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Page last updated at 15:44 GMT, Monday, 30 November 2009
Arctic training in an icy chamber

Kevin Sheppard from Churchdown
Kevin Sheppard will exercise in conditions similar to that of the Arctic

A man from Churchdown is to spend time in an icy chamber as part of his training for a 350 mile race to the magnetic North Pole.

Kevin Sheppard will be using the University of Gloucestershire's environmental chamber at the Oxstalls campus as he continues his preparations for what has been described as the toughest race in the world.

Only 42 people worldwide are selected for the trek each year and Kevin will be battling against extreme dangers including falling through thin ice, hypothermia, frostbite and polar bears.

To prepare for the Arctic conditions, the temperature in the chamber will be turned down to -20C whilst large fans will mimic the icy winds that Kevin will experience.

"Kevin will exercise for over an hour in the chamber whilst we measure his heart rate, blood pressure, and core temperature, to ensure he doesn't become hypothermic," said Steve How, the sport and exercise laboratories director at the University.

"We will also need to do a full lung function assessment, as it is known that cold dry air can have a negative impact on lung function in some individuals.

I want to inspire young children from all backgrounds to help achieve their own aspirational goals through Team Sheppard
Kevin Sheppard

"Kevin will also undertake a task to mimic something that he might need to undertake in the Arctic, such as lighting a stove.

"We'll also be monitoring his psychological state before, during and after the session to see how the cold affects his mood state."

One of the main aims of the challenge is to raise £30,000 for Winston's Wish, the Cheltenham-based charity that helps bereaved children and their families all over the UK.

"This is a charity close to my heart, after losing my brother 26 years ago in a motorbike accident when I was only 13. This devastated me and my family", said Kevin.

"I want to inspire young children from all backgrounds to help achieve their own aspirational goals through Team Sheppard.

"I know if my brother Andrew was around today he would be immensely proud and this gives me great strength and determination to succeed."

Kevin sets off on his Arctic adventure in April 2010 and you can follow his progress on the Team Sheppard website.

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