When most are recovering from a long weekend of stationary chocolate debautory, adventurer and speaker, Ranulph Fiennes, has been very mobile indeed in one of the most inhospitable places on earth, the Sahara Desert. Not only that, he is attempting to run 156 miles (251km) of it over just six days in blistering heat reaching 50 celcius.
The Marathon des Sables (aka MdS) is dubbed 'The toughest footrace on earth'. Now in its 28th concecutive year the official website describes the footrace as 'a gruelling multi-stage adventure through a formidable landscape' and that 'the rules require you to be self-sufficient, to carry with you on your back everything except water that you need to survive. You are given a place in a tent to sleep at night, but any other equipment and food must be carried'.
Only the most serious of adventurers or fitness fanatics may apply so it is probably no surprise that Ran decided to do this. What may be though is his age, Ran is 71. Not only that but his coach, Rory Coleman, told BBC Breakfast that "He is overtaking lots of people who are a quarter of his age, not just half his age. It’s remarkable”.
Ran is running ther race in aid of cancer care charity, Marie Curie, adding that “I really need to complete it because we are desperate to raise lots of money for Marie Curie, and without completion of course you don’t raise so much money.” Ran is hoping to raise £2.5M for the charity who are posting reguilarly on their Twitter feed.
Ran is currently on Day 3 (7th April) and is running today 36.7km from Jebel El Otfal to Jebel Zireg and is after two days he is reported as saying "I’m OK in the cold but I don’t like the hot very much ... I’m also finding that the blister situation is new, you’ve got to keep plastering stuff on, be sure of no sunburn".
He is expected to finish the race on the Friday 10th April and by doing so he will become the oldest Briton to complete the marathon.
Picture courtesy of Flickr U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Europe District / USACE People: Europe District engineer takes to Africa’s dunes. Taken on April 5, 2010
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