Triathlete Martyn Matthews is gearing for his toughest challenge yet, as he prepares to tackle the searing heat of the Abu Dhabi next month.

Mr Matthews, 64, has been running triathlons around the country for more than ten years, but is now in training for his first international competition.

The former army commando said: “I just wanted a different challenge, I haven’t travelled much lately and wanted to start doing so again.”

The competition starts with a 3km swim in the Persian Gulf, followed by a 200km bike ride through the centre of the city into the Yas Marinas Formula 1 circuit, ending with a 20km run back out onto the seafront.

British Olympic Men’s Triathlon champion Alistair Brownlee will also be taking part in the race, but

Mr Matthews is not planning on changing his usual training routine. He said: “As long as you understand the distance and what the terrain is going to be like it’s not too bad. This is a very flat course, so it’s not going to be difficult.

“I have prepared by doing the distance training the same way as I normally do, it will be just like doing it on a warm day.

“I’ve done a lot of intensive cycle training, which this time of year is mostly done in the gym, as you have to put a lot of hours in to get used to the distance.”

By completing the race he hopes to raise £5,000 sponsorship for BLESMA, the British Limbless Ex Service Men’s Association, which works with injured and disabled troops.

He said: “I chose the charity because I am an ex-serviceman myself, and I have friends within the organisation who served in the same unit. They do a lot of the work restoring people both mentally and physically when then come back from the battle scene.

“I’m fortunate that I’m as fit and healthy as I am, and I wanted to encourage other people to support those who aren’t.”

Anyone who wishes to donate to the cause can do so here.