ENGINEER Richard Jackson is gearing up for the challenge of his life.

Mr Jackson, 33, from Newcastle, has been chosen to represent the UK in the Fulda Challenge.

The former Army officer won through a five-day gruelling selection process in Sulden, Italy, to claim a place in the challenge.

Known as one of the world's toughest adventures, the challenge takes place in the Yukon Territory of Canada and Alaska.

"The experience in Sulden has been exceptional," he said. "I have travelled around the world leading expeditions but have never competed in an event like this before.

"I haven't managed to fit in much training since the initial selection event in Devon, but I ran the Great North Run for a bit of a warm up."

His team mate for the competition will be Emmie Gribble, a marketing manager from London who last year featured in the BBC programme, SAS Desert Are You Tough Enough?

Nine teams from around the world will compete in the Fulda Challenge, including the US, Canada, Italy, Switzerland, Austria, Netherlands, Germany.

The teams will undertake a series of demanding activities including ice climbing, cross country skiing, mountain bike racing, chasm crossing and snowshoe trekking.

The competition takes place from January 29 to February 8.

"I have met a lot of good people and am now looking forward to working with Emmie in the build-up to Canada," said Mr Jackson.

"I have also got three weeks of skiing planned over the Christmas period, which will stand me in good stead for the winter sport events in Canada."