Explorer John Dennis back in training for 730-mile South Pole trek

John Dennis on a trek in Norway ahead of his cross Antarctica expedition

John Dennis on a trek in Norway ahead of his cross Antarctica expedition

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DETERMINED John Dennis is back in training ahead of a 730-mile trek across the South Pole.

The 40-year-old intended to head off on the gruelling expedition last year, but had to pull out at the last minute due to health concerns.

But now the father-of-two has overcome his problems and is more focused than ever to take on the challenge to raise money for mental health charities.

He has just completed a 16-day solo tour that left from Haugastøl, in Norway, and saw him cover 190 miles while carrying 143lb (65kg).

Mr Dennis, from Victoria Road, Bishop’s Waltham, said: ‘Some days it was -15C.

‘Physically it was demanding as I was having to cover at least 13 miles a day.

‘It was interesting to see how I would cope with isolation as it was a solo expedition.’

Mr Dennis overcame the loneliness by listening to audio books.

He said: ‘One moment I would be in tears and the other I would be laughing out loud. It was a good job that nobody could see me.

‘Thankfully it worked very well and I really enjoyed being out there on my own.’

Mr Dennis, a design consultant, was inspired by his own experiences of mental heath issues, as he has suffered from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

He was devastated when the last trip was cancelled as it was felt he was not fit enough – both physically and mentally.

He said: ‘It has been hugely emotional. It was a positive step to push it back because now I feel that I am ready and that I have the experience.

‘At the time, it was disappointing but it was one million per cent the right choice.

‘Now I can set off with experience and training and I have a good chance of reaching my goal.’

All money raised from the trip will go to a charity set up by Mr Dennis which will make donations to smaller mental heath charities.

Mr Dennis said: ‘We have the charity application in at the moment to start a new charity to help people with depression.

‘I wanted to do something that would mean something more to me and if we can raise £30,000 from this trip then that money could mean a lot to smaller charities.’

He will set off on his solo Antarctica expedition in November, which will see him spend 37 days in some of the harshest and driest conditions on the planet.

A fundraising ball is being organised for the Ageas Bowl, in Southampton, for October 9, and Mr Dennis still desperately needs sponsors.

The trek will be the equivalent of walking 28 back-to-back marathons. For more information go to expedition-d2e.org

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