From Wakefield to the Canadian wilderness: Taking on the ‘toughest race in the world’ for the homeless

Challenge: Jonathan Kattenberg will take on the Yukon Ultra to raise money for charity.
Challenge: Jonathan Kattenberg will take on the Yukon Ultra to raise money for charity.

A man from Wakefield will head to the snowy Canadian wilderness to take on the ‘toughest race in the world’.

Jonathan Kattenberg, from Middlestown, will trek 430 miles for a battle expected to last up to 13 days to raise money for homelessness charity Simon on the Streets.

The Yukon Ultra race will begin this Sunday in the north ern Canadian city of Whitehorse where Jonathan, a financial advisor, will head off alone dragging his equipment on a sledge.

He said: “There will be 4,000ft peaks, frozen rivers, and forest trails, and all at temperatures of minus 40 to 50 degrees Celsius.

“The bears will be sleeping at this time of year, though there might be wolves along the way. “On an endurance challenge like this you really start to think – your mind goes on a roller-coaster journey and you question a lot as you’re on your own for so long.

“As I’ve taken part in similar challenges, I’ve thought a lot about those less fortunate.

“Something in their lives has led homeless people to where they are and I’m hoping to help give something back whilst testing my own mental strength and techniques.

“There’s a lot of cold weather coming to the UK and my heart goes out to anyone who has no place warm to sleep.

“People can be critical if someone is homeless and drinks or take drugs, but it would have to have been a horrendous journey to get them into that situation.” Jonathan is also a qualified hypnotherapist and teaches “mindset” techniques to help people deal with stress and other mental difficulties.

He said one of his reasons for taking on the Yukon Ultra challenge was to put his training to the test.

He made a previous attempt at the challenge but was forced to stop when he had a breathing problem.

He said: “I suffered a bronchospasm on the second day, 49 miles into the race.

“It meant my airwaves were restricting my breathing and the middle and lower parts of my lungs not working so I had to be pulled out, but I’m looking to set the record straight this time.” Jonathan will pay his own travel and expenses, and all money raised will go towards the charity.

Visit mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/jonathanyukon2019.