The challenge

rf275x248On 5 April, in the searing 50°C heat of the Saharan Desert, Sir Ranulph Fiennes ran the 156 miles (251km) Marathon des Sables in just over six days.

By taking part in one of the biggest challenges in an incredible career – which includes many marathons, North and South Pole expeditions and several endurance records, Sir Ranulph  raised nearly £1 million for Marie Curie, the UK-based charity that helps care for people living with a terminal illness and their loved ones.

Inmarsat raised profile of fundraising attempt

The Sahara Desert is relentlessly unforgiving as it spans the African continent, creating an eerie sense of isolation. The one thing that was with the veteran adventurer every step of the way was Inmarsat’s global satellite communications network, which allowed Sir Ranulph and his support crew access to broadband data and voice comms to share his progress with the world.

Live broadcasts with the BBC

Our BGAN HDR service, which offers a suite of high-speed streaming rates, enabled Sir Ranulph to conduct three live broadcasts with the BBC’s Breakfast Show throughout his run.

BGAN – Broadband Global Area Network

Using our BGAN service to access the internet from the desert, Field Craft Studios, the supporting production company, was able to send their edited footage of Sir Ranulph whenever it was ready to the Daily Telegraph, who were also covering his story.

IsatHub kept social media channels open

The team also used our recently-launched smart device connectivity service, IsatHub, to keep followers updated on his progress with images, blogs and social media updates.

Backpack broadcasting

All the team needed to access our network for the live broadcasts and edited video transmission was a BGAN satellite terminal which is about the size of a laptop and was supplied by our partner Satcom Global. The IsatHub service is accessed by AddValue’s wideye iSavi terminal which is roughly the size and weight of a paper back book, so the crew could literally take their own connectivity in a compact backpack for Sir Ranulph to do his live broadcasts and contribute to his ‘Desert Diaries’, and for the crew to update their social media channels in real-time.


Despite many fears about the possibility of a third heart attack during the race due to frequent dizzy spells, as well as crippling back pain, Sir Ranulph battled on and completed his epic challenge on 11 April. 

We were delighted to be able to help throughout his epic run  and send our congratulations Sir Ranulph who, at 71, has become the oldest Briton to complete the Marathon de Sables, raising nearly £1million for the cancer charity Marie Curie.