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Tilehurst mother to race to North Pole

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A former West Berkshire school teacher has made the most of the recent cold climates to prepare for a 2012 mission

A TILEHURST woman used the recent bad weather to her advantage by training for a once in a lifetime race to the North Pole.

Former Brookfields School teaching assistant Janine Lewis, a 45 year-old mother of two, will in 2012 ski for 16 hours a day, pulling supplies weighing over 50kg by sledge, for the duration of the North Pole Endurance Race, which can take between nine and eighteen days to complete depending on conditions.

The race will cover 600 nautical kilometres of the Arctic to the 1996 North Pole from Resolute, Canada, navigating some of the most inhospitable parts of the region, with its constantly shifting pack ice.

“I am not an extreme athlete. I am not an experienced Arctic explorer but I do have motivation, drive and enthusiasm. The competition is tough and teams come from all over the world and many walks of life. Some are experienced Arctic explorers or experienced high performance athletes.”

Aside from the -40 degrees centigrade temperatures, she will also be in the region of the migratory route for around 80 per cent of the world's polar bears.

Despite all the potential pitfalls, she believes her tenacity and training will see her through.

“I also did some tyre pulling training in my road, Cotswold Way, Tilehurst. I must have been only person taking advantage of the snow.”

Mrs Lewis, who works with special needs children for Reading Social Services, is raising money for four good causes; Brookfields Special Needs School, Help for Heroes, Fibroduck for Fibromyalgia, and Marie Curie.

She has created Team AWNTY 2012, which stands for “Are We Nearly There Yet?”, and over the next year hopes to acquire sponsorship to cover the costs of kit, medical, safety, transport, and Arctic race staff support for the challenge, which will be held in 2012.

The North Pole endurance race is organised by Polar-Challenge.com, who were behind Top Gear's journey to the North Pole.

For more information, visit website www.teamawnty2012.co.uk

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