Antarc­tic chal­lenge

Ice run for marathon man

Blairgowrie Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - Clare Damodaran

A Rat­tray run­ner is hop­ing to join an elite band of run­ners who have com­pleted a marathon on ev­ery con­ti­nent.

Pe­ter Ritchie (56) is tak­ing part in the Antarc­tic Ice Marathon this month which, if he com­pletes it, will see him one step closer to his goal.

He has al­ready com­pleted a to­tal of 61 marathons to date, in­clud­ing the Ab­bot World Marathon Ma­jors which en­tails run­ning the Tokyo, Bos­ton, Lon­don, Berlin, Chicago and New York City marathons.

There are only 636 peo­ple in the whole world who are mem­bers of the Seven Con­ti­nents Club and Pe­ter - who started run­ning in 1997 - only has two con­ti­nents left to com­plete this in­cred­i­ble chal­lenge.

And while he’s work­ing to­wards that goal, he has de­cided to raise funds for Perth Autism Sup­port, a lo­cal char­ity which helps en­sure that ev­ery child di­ag­nosed with autism in Perth and Kin­ross has ac­cess to qual­ity ser­vices and ac­tiv­i­ties they re­quire.

Pe­ter said he chose Perth Autism Sup­port as it helps a fam­ily mem­ber.

He set up a Just­Giv­ing page and as the Blairie went to press had al­ready beaten his tar­get of rais­ing £1000 with over two weeks still to go be­fore he sets off for Antarc­tica.

Pe­ter, a Perth and Kin­ross Coun­cil em­ployee who is the man who brought the Rat­trayBlair­gowrie half marathon back to the town ear­lier this year after an ab­sence of over two decades, runs with Perth Road Run­ners.

In the twenty years that he has been run­ning he has taken part in over 460 races of var­i­ous lengths, in­clud­ing a num­ber of ul­tra marathons, and com­petes most week­ends.

He first started run­ning to raise money for can­cer char­i­ties, and after com­plet­ing half marathons in In­ver­ness and Al­loa and the Lon­don Marathon in 1997 he took a break from run­ning for a few months be­fore sign­ing up for the New York marathon, after which he says “the rest is just his­tory”.

“Once you get into it you get ad­dicted to it - you just keep sign­ing up for more and more races,” he ex­plains.

The un­stop­pable bin man, who many will have seen run­ning around the town, leaves for Antarc­tica on Novem­ber 20 and the race it­self takes place on Novem­ber 24.

The gru­elling 26.2-mile run takes place in tem­per­a­tures of any­thing from mi­nus 20 de­grees Cel­sius to mi­nus 40.

The race will be on hard­packed snow and or­gan­is­ers mark out a cir­cuit with flags so that com­peti­tors don’t get lost in the icy wilder­ness.

Just 54 peo­ple are tak­ing part in the race, and Pe­ter says the lo­ca­tion at the Union Glacier Camp is only a few hun­dred miles away from the South Pole it­self.

“I’m look­ing for­ward to it, I’m not ner­vous at all, it will be in­ter­est­ing.

“I’m tak­ing my video cam­era and am hop­ing to get lots of pic­tures but it all de­pends on the weather con­di­tions on the day.

“It’s just an­other marathon, only it’s go­ing to be colder - I’ve got plenty of warm clothes!

“As long as I get across the fin­ish line that’s the main thing.

“And it’s some­thing that not many peo­ple have done. I’m hop­ing to go to South Amer­ica next year to get all seven con­ti­nents, which is some­thing only 636 peo­ple out of seven bil­lion in the world have done - there’s more peo­ple than that live in Fergie Park!”

Pe­ter thanked ev­ery­one for their gen­eros­ity and sup­port, say­ing: “Lo­cal peo­ple have been bril­liant, the sup­port they give is amaz­ing and I’m very grate­ful for it.”

Pe­ter’s Just­Giv­ing page for Perth Autism Sup­port can be found at www.just­giv­ fundrais­ing/pe­ter-ritchiesantarc­tic-ice-marathon and will be open un­til he gets back at the end of Novem­ber.

Just an­other marathon, only it’s go­ing to be colder Pe­ter Ritchie

Icy chal­lenge Perth Road Run­ner Pe­ter Ritchie is all set for his lat­est marathon

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