Lothians man is in Pole position

HE'S walked 100 miles across the Himalayas and ridden through the Sahara desert on a motorbike.

Now adventure-seeker Michael Sugden, 37, is leading one of the world's toughest ultra endurance races – a 500-mile journey, on skis, across northern Canada and the Arctic Ocean to the Magnetic North Pole.

The father-of-two from Lasswade is one of 18 people from around the world competing in the Polar Challenge, which sees competitors skiing from Little Cornwallis Island in northern Canada to the Pole.

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Mr Sugden's mother Britta said: "Before he was accepted for the race he had to do a week's training in Norway where he had to jump into a hole in the ice and learn how to get out of it. Then he spent another two weeks in northern Canada where he had to make sure he could shoot, in case of a polar bear attack."

The competitors, who are skiing and each pulling a sledge with their food, clothes and tent onboard, are now entering the sixth day of the competition.

Most teams consist of three people, but Mr Sugden's team – Team 10:10 – includes only himself and colleague Andrew Peake. The pair are currently leading the race.

Mrs Sugden added: "It's a very tough race, the temperatures could be as low as minus 30 or 40 degrees centigrade and they have to navigate through sea ice."

Advertising agency boss Mr Sugden and Mr Peake are supporting a charity called 10:10, which is encouraging individuals and companies to cut their carbon emissions by 10 per cent in 2010.

Mr Sugden, who now lives in Earlsfield, London, will be skiing around 12 to 14 hours a day in sub-zero temperatures to complete the journey, which is expected to take about three weeks.