A SPRIGHTLY Redditch pensioner is departing for Antarctica to complete a lifetime ambition of running at least a half marathon on each of the planet’s seven continents.

Doug Richards, 69, of Flaxley Close, took part in his first event – a half-marathon – in the UK in 1984, but little did he know it would be the start of a seven-continent quest.

It wasn’t until 1997 that the now retired grandfather took on his first overseas challenge, as he completed the New York marathon in North America in 1997.

He followed that up in 2002 when he took on his next half-marathon in Siberia in Asia, with events in South America, Africa, and Australia soon to follow.

Doug, who has raised in excess of £35,000 for charity over the years, will complete his seven-continent quest with a half marathon on King George Island in Antarctica this March.

“It is an ambition I set myself some years ago,” said Doug, who has chronicled his running journey in his award-winning book ‘Running Hot & Cold’.

“Last summer I achieved the sixth continent on my list by running a half marathon in the Australian Outback at Ayres Rock, but this will be an entirely different challenge.

“Apart from the run itself on King George Island, with its very unpredictable and extreme weather, we face a long sea trip across the stormiest ocean in the world just to get there.”

Doug will be using his adventure to raise further money for the Midlands Air Ambulance Charity and would welcome support from any Midlands-based businesses or individuals.

He added: “In the last three years I have raised over £4,600 for such a worthwhile life-saving charity that helps both young and old and receives no government funding.”

To donate visit justgiving.com/fundraising/Doug-Richards5.