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

Mr Matthews, 64, has been competing in triathlons around the United Kingdom for more than 10 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 on to the seafront.

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

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 in 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 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 wants to donate to the cause can do so at www.justgiving.com/Martyn-Matthews.