TWO adventurous businessmen are set to take on their biggest challenge yet – running a marathon in temperatures as low as -15C.

Tony Jones and Simon Biltcliffe fly to Greenland later this month to take part in the Polar Circle Marathon where only 120 runners will start and about 50 are expected to finish.

The friends are no strangers to extreme physical challenges – in the past six years they have trekked to five of the world’s toughest mountains, including Mount Vinson in Antarctica, Kilimanjaro in Africa, and Mount Elbrus on the border of Russia and Georgia.

They have also attempted Mount McKinley, in Alaska, and ticked off Peru’s Inca Trail.

But the polar challenge is in a league of its own, as the pair cannot train for the harsh elements they will face.

Instead of pounding pavements, they will be running on a snow and ice covered gravel road and the route will take them on to the ice cap.

Competitors are warned not to stray from the marked route for fear of falling into a crevasse.

Mr Jones, 47, of Stratton Audley, near Bicester, said: “You can’t train for the Polar Circle Marathon – you just have to keep running.

“If you don’t complete it in seven hours they pull you out. I’m hoping to finish in five-and-a-half to six hours.”

Mr Jones, a former Bicester Rugby Club player, relishes the physical challenges of their adventures, despite breaking his neck several years ago during a rugby match and having a disc removed and replaced with bone from his hip.

Although the injury forced him to give up the sport, it hasn’t stopped him leading an adventurous lifestyle.

Father-of-three Mr Jones, a director of a company that recycles telecommunications equipment, added: “Every year I say no more challenges, but then Simon comes around with a bottle of wine and before I know it we’ve signed up and the cheque is in the post.”

Mr Biltcliffe, 45, managing director of printing firm Webmart, in Wedgwood Road, Bicester, who will raise money for children’s charity Starlight, added: “I decided to sign up for four reasons.

“I have never run a marathon, I wanted to defy a doctor who told me at the age of 20 I would never run again, I have always fancied going to Greenland and I was swayed by a bottle of wine.”

On Sunday, the pair will be given a send-off at Mr Jones’ local pub,the Red Lion in Stratton Audley, which is hosting a fundraising curry night.

Mr Jones is raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support as landlord Frank O’Neill’s sister Marie is undergoing treatment for the disease.

To sponsor Mr Jones call the pub on 01869 277225.