A Newport-based auctioneer will be enduring the frost bite threatening minus 30 degree temperatures when he takes part in the Yukon Arctic Ultra through the Arctic Circle next month.

Paul Fosh, of Paul Fosh Auctions, will begin the arduous 430-mile race across the Yukon Quest trail, north west Canada on February 3, with just 13 days to complete the arduous event.

Although he is no stranger to Arctic challenges, having completed two similar races previously, this will be the longest one yet. The trail of the race is also the trail of the world’s toughest Sled Dog Race.

Despite his experience, the race will definitely not be a stroll in the snow dusted park.

Last year, experienced Ultra race athlete Roberto Zanda from Italy, lost both his lower legs and his lower right arm due to catastrophic frost bite damage sustained during the race.

But why is Paul, a 52-year-old, father-of-two, from Monmouth, taking part in what’s dubbed ‘the world’s coldest and toughest Ultra’?

Contemplating for a second in his office at Lower Dock Street, Newport - a stone’s throw from Newport docks, where hazardous expeditions set sail to all corners of the world in years gone by - he said: “I love the challenge, both physical and mental but know that probably less than a quarter of those entering the race will complete it.”

Last year, because of the extreme conditions and the toll it takes on the body, only one person finished the 300-mile race.

Paul said: “Over time, you become thrilled to be part of the small percentage that have entered and completed the race. I have invested a lot of time, effort and money to get myself out there and I want to do myself proud. I don’t ever want to fail at anything I do.”

The property auctioneer has completed two similar races before. The first was in 2015 when he completed the 352-mile Likeys 6633 ultra. The second was a year later when he completed the 300-mile Yukon Arctic Ultra race.

All of the entrants are entirely self-sufficient. This means that they carry all of their belongings (food, clothes, tent and other equipment) on a sled, called a pulk, that they drag behind them.

Paul said: “A lot of people underestimate the mental challenge. There are those of us who almost enjoy the pain but if it was too easy there would be no pleasure at the end.”

Paul is aiming to finish the race within 10 days by averaging around 43 miles a day.

He said: “I know my level of fitness is right to achieve this goal, I have been doing a lot of training for this one as it is the most demanding race I’ve ever done. Someone once told me to train hard and play easy. Admittedly, that was in the context of rugby but I think it can apply to this too.”

Despite the 13-day time limit on the race, there will be very little time for sleep. This means that competitors will spend a lot of time walking both day and night.

Paul said: “Walking in the daylight is much easier psychologically because you’ve got such fantastic scenery to look at. When you’re walking at night, you could be anywhere. You’ve just got your headtorch beam to follow.”

“One of my biggest challenges is complacency. I can’t be too laid back. I have to remember to stay absolutely focused at all times.”

Paul Fosh will fly out to the Yukon, in Canada, on Tuesday, January 29 where he will begin final preparations for the gruelling race that begins on Sunday, February 3.

He will be competing in the Yukon Arctic Ultra in aid of Llamau, a Welsh charity focussed on ending homelessness in Wales. To donate to Llamu, go to: www.llamau.org.uk/appeal/donate-to-llamau.

Fact file: The race will start at Shipyard’s Park in Whitehorse next to the Yukon River (Latitude: 60º43.110'N Longitude: 135º02.854'W). The finish line for the 430-mile race is Dawson City (Latitude: 64º03.711'N Longitude: 139º26.231'W). The start date is Sunday, February 3. There are 441 racers, 41 of whom are doing the 430-mile race.