Newport explorer Richard Parks set for new gruelling challenges
NEWPORT explorer Richard Parks has revealed he plans to compete in three gruelling races this year, despite only returning from his latest expedition last weekend.
The former Newport Gwent Dragons flanker has announced he will compete in the Yak Attack, the world’s highest mountain bike race in March, the Vietnam Jungle Marathon, voted the world’s toughest endurance race in May and June and The Brutal, a double ironman triathlon in Wales in September.
The former Wales player was forced to pull out of his latest expedition to the South Pole just days from the finish.
Mr Parks, 35, had to abandon hopes of completing the trek in one of the fastest recorded times after a series of setbacks meant he ran out of time. He was left with a very low body weight and frostbite injuries to his face.
This year’s three immense physical challenges will form part of his training for his next world first project, currently known as Project X. The year of challenges, training, preparation and his world first expedition will form a series of four one-hour programmes for Channel 5.
Mr Parks has just over three weeks to recover fully from his solo expedition in Antarctica before taking part in The Yak Attack, held in Nepal, on March 1.
Mr Parks said: "It’s going to be an awesome year. To say I am amped is an understatement."
I have three big physical and psychological challenges in their own right to undertake which will form vital preparation for my next world first expedition."
He added: "All three events have been chosen to test me in three different areas.
"All are well outside my comfort zone and learning some new skills in new disciplines throughout the year will be a lot of fun."
Richard Parks’ three gruelling challenges
The Yak Attack covers 248 miles of the Himalayas on a mountain bike, with a total altitude gain of over 12,000m over some of the most brutal terrain on earth. The course peaks at 17,769ft, where oxygen levels are just 50 per cent of those at sea level.
Mr Parks will then take part in the Vietnam Jungle Marathon, the world's toughest endurance race on May 31- June 9.
The marathon is 250km through the dense South East Asian rainforest.
It comprises six stages over seven days, including a 'surprise' undisclosed long stage, and is a self-sufficient foot race. Each stage has a maximum time for completion and runners failing to arrive within the time may be eliminated from the race.
The Brutal is an extreme triathlon in Wales, a double ironman, which will see Mr Parks swim 4.8 miles in Lake Padarn, cycle 224 miles over the hills of Snowdonia followed by a 52-mile run up, down and around Snowdonia.