A businessman who organises extreme events has won one of the toughest races in the world.
Neil Thubron endured temperatures as low as -50 degrees C and the perils of Arctic wolves in The Yukon Arctic Ultra.
He lost around four stone during the challenge, which saw him race for 16 to 24 hours a day while pulling his 20kg sledge of supplies behind him.
While some did not even manage to complete the 300-mile race and some have lost fingers and toes to the extreme temperatures, 49-year-old Neil, of Tring, was the first across the finish line after a gruelling 16 days 19 hours.
Neil, a director of Extreme Energy Events, said: “The race has been the toughest physical and mental challenge of my life. I walked through ice fields with blocks of ice as big as houses, crossed frozen rivers with huge cracks that went down for meters below and one night saw fresh wolf prints in the snow.
“One of the toughest things to deal with though was the extreme fatigue. I fell asleep while walking and hallucinated many times.”
Over half of the competitors had pulled out of the event after the first two days.
Neil took on the challenge as he wanted to do something to mark his forthcoming 50th birthday.
He was also raising money for a new charity - Humanity Direct - that funds medical operations for children in developing countries.
The money that Neil has raised will pay for two operations that will restore the hearing of five year old Grace from Uganda.
Charity chief executive Nick Swift said: “Very few people have achieved what Neil has achieved and to win in such extreme conditions is extraordinary. Neil has raised over £3000 to fund an operation for a five-year-old girl in Uganda - the most money ever raised by a single fundraiser for a Humanity Direct patient.”
Neil is continuing to raise money for the charity and its patients by giving motivational talks at business meetings about his journey through the Arctic and how those experiences can be applied to professional and every day life.
Neil said: “Crossing the finishing line and discovering I had won was very emotional, I had been so focused on reaching the next target and the next checkpoint that when I finished I was delighted, but emotionally drained. I’m proud to have won the race but knowing that Grace will get her operation as a result is even better.”
To find out more about the good cause visit humanitydirect.org.