From Birkenhead to Alaska
Birkenhead ex-soldier preparing for 300-mile Alaska adventure for charity
Ex-para will be helped by 15 husky dogs in his expedition
An ex-soldier from Birkenhead is in Alaska training for a mammoth trek this month to raise money for fellow military veterans.
Jonathan Fletcher will take on two epic 300-mile journeys across frozen wastelands to help former soldiers and their families.
The 45-year-old is already out in Alaska preparing for the expedition with a team of 15 husky dogs.
Ex-para Jonathan will undertake the 300 mile Copper Basin race on January 10 and the 300 mile Quest 300 race on February 7.
He said: “I have been doing up to 50-60 mile training runs in the local trails on my own each day and camping out wild overnight with the dogs in temperatures of 25 degrees below zero.
“I’m feeling nervous and excited at the same time about the races. I am at a place called Alpine Creek in the Denali Highway in the middle of literally nowhere.”
Jonathan, who was a soldier for 16 years after joining the forces as a teenager, has already completed the smaller scale Alpine Creek race in preparation for next month’s trek.
The 65 mile expedition saw him compete against other mushers with a team of 13 dogs.
He said: “The scenery was awesome and there was hundreds of miles of nothing but snow and ice. The dogs performed outstandingly and dragged me up inclines and into the finish in five hours 24 minutes and in 10th place.
“It wasn’t bad for my first attempt, some of the top mushers in the race just used it for a run out but for me it was a big learning curve and I used it to iron out any mistakes and see how a race gets underway.”
Jonathan has already raised £10,000 for service charities by putting his body to the limit in ultra marathons, often accompanied by his trusty companion Otto.
Donations from the two Alaskan races will be split between three charities, The Parachute Regiment Charity, SSAFA (Soldiers, Sailors and Air Force Charity) and Huskies in Need.
The Quest 300 race is a qualifier for the 1,000-mile extended Yukon Quest which Jonathan hopes he will be eligible to compete in during 2016.
The 1,000 mile trek lasts from 10 to 16 days until the final dog team arrives at the finish line and has been run every year since 1984 over rough, sometimes hazardous terrain.
To find out more and to donate, visit www.airbornemuttley.com