Wolfgang Dohne is taking part in the Svalbard Skimarathon to raise funds for the Cinnamon Trust and Petsavers.

A vet from Surrey will swap the leafy lanes of his local patch for an icebound Norwegian wilderness to raise cash for charity.

Wolfgang DohneWolfgang Dohne plans to take part in the world’s most northerly cross country ski race, the Svalbard Skimarathon, a gruelling 42km slog through some of the most hostile territory on earth.

Not only will Wolfgang have to dodge the polar bears that inhabit the arctic island, but he will also have to cope with temperatures unlikely to get much above 20 degrees below freezing.

It may sound like madness but, for the Virginia Water Veterinary Clinic employee, the chance to raise funds for the Cinnamon Trust and Petsavers will make it all worthwhile.

He said: “I wanted to make a more physical contribution to animal welfare for two very good causes.

All of the money raised will go to one of these charitable causes, and I am personally paying for everything relating to the ski marathon – flights, accommodation, registration, hospitalisation (if I not running faster than the polar bears) and for my trusted pair of cross country skies.”

The ski marathon runs through the frozen landscape near the town of Longyearbyen, which is in total darkness through the winter months. It could not be any more different than Surrey, but this intrepid vet will be going prepared.

He added: “To prepare myself in the UK (without any snow or cross country skiing track to speak of) for this race, I am using an old, second hand ski exerciser and rollerskis, which enable me to practice cross country skiing on roads. I have done some cross country skiing before but to familiarise myself with the climate I am planning to ski at the end of March in Rondane, a mountain area in the South of Norway, with a backpack from mountain hut to mountain hut.”

To make a donation for one or for both charities online on visit http://www.charitychoice.co.uk/fundraiser/wolfgangdohne/svalbard-skimarathon for the Cinnamon Trust or on http://www.justgiving.com/Wolfgang-Dohne for PetSavers.

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