WHEN Chris Southwell was diagnosed diabetes at the age of 22 he was determined the condition would not stop him.

Despite having to inject himself with insulin four times a day and constantly monitoring his diet, he has gone on to have a successful career as a professional extreme snowboarder and is currently ranked 33 in the world.

Now the 29-year-old from Cholderton is preparing to embark on his next adventure.

He has signed up for the Iron Man Challenge in Cozumel, Mexico next month which will see him swimming 3.86km, cycling 180km and running a full marathon all in less than 17 hours.

And he is aiming to raise £20,000 for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

“This is going to be the hardest challenge I’ve ever done,” said Mr Southwell, who spoke to the Journal from Sweden where he is preparing for the challenge. “The training is very different, it’s hard but it’s going well.”

Only a handful of people with diabetes have ever completed the gruelling challenge which pushes contestants to their physical and mental limits.

“Having diabetes affects my training because I get a lot more tired and am quite susceptible to illnesses,” he said.

“But I’ve never let it stop me before and I’m not going to now.”

Chris was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes after being taken ill while he was working in France.

“It was a very difficult and life changing time,” he said.

“But I hope that I can be an inspiration to other young people with diabetes.”

Chris competes on the World Freeride Qualifying tour and a number of top five results have made him one of Britain’s most successful snowboarders.

He also has a sponsorship deal with the fashion brand Oakley and takes part in many action packed photoshoots.

Chris has also been nominated to carry the Olympic Torch in the relay ahead of the 2012 Games.

“Life is about challenges,” he said.

“When you get bad news you can either give up or keep going and I intend to keep going.”

To sponsor Chris in the Iron Man Challenge visit www.justgiving.com/Chris-Southwell.