Lewes man takes on Siberia Black Ice Race

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LEWES man Benn Berkeley is in training for the biggest challenge of his life at a place dubbed “the world’s most terrifying lake”.

He is a competitor in the first ever multi-discipline race across Siberia’s Lake Baikal – described as “longer than England, colder than vodka and harder than granite”.

Benn, 25, is determined to become one of the first to reach the finish of the Siberia Black Ice Race next month.

Remote Lake Baikal is the world’s deepest ice lake, with an eerily spooky black frozen surface.

Benn, of Chapel Hill, Lewes, will travel halfway round the world to the lonely and ancient Cossack city of Irkutsk to take part in an entirely new category of endurance racing.

Competitors will have the choice of taking part in the 379-mile marathon or the 155-mile sprint and a choice of non-motorised form of transport such as bike, ski, foot, kite-ski or kite buggy. Racers will have to be self-sufficient on the ice.

Benn said: “Like many others who take part in challenging events, the Siberian Black Ice Race makes it difficult to convey my drive.

“For most people the thought of enduring -40C degrees combined with 100kmph winds on a frozen lake for two weeks, hauling everything you need to be self-sufficient, is not ideal.

“To be honest, I’m dreading it! However, what an experience and the first to do something is too much of an opportunity to pass up.”

Race organiser Tony Martin, Managing Director of Extreme World Races, said: “For any adventurer, to take part in a world’s first is a challenge of their life.

“To think that you could be the first to reach that goal is something that cannot be underestimated both mentally and physically.

“With marathon competitors also completing their journey on the legendary Trans-Siberian Express, this is a race that will certainly be remembered.”

Extreme World Races has 25 places left for the Siberian Black Ice Race. Obviously, only the super-fit should apply and the deadline is February 10. Visit www.extremeworldraces.com