14 April 2015: Congratulations to Sir Ranulph Fiennes who, at 71, has become the oldest Briton to complete the Marathon de Sables in aid of Marie Curie, raising nearly £1million for the cancer charity.
The gruelling 156 mile (251km), six-day ultra-marathon took place on 5-11 April in the searing 50° C heat of the Moroccan Saharan Desert.
The intrepid explorer, famous for climbing Everest and crossing Antarctica on foot, entered the race with a series of medical issues, having overcome two heart attacks, undergone a double heart bypass and a cancer operation, as well as fighting ongoing diabetes problems.
Yet 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.
His trainer and co-runner Rory Coleman was full of admiration for Sir Ranulph, who never gave up when at least 75 competitors, many half his age, did. “It’s what makes him, him,” Rory said. “He’s totally broken and he’s still going.”
Throughout the race, Sir Ranulph was able to share his experiences and highlight his fund-raising campaign for Marie Curie, thanks to Inmarsat’s satellite connectivity.
A series of live interviews took place from the middle of the Saharan Desert with the UK’s BBC Breakfast show over BGAN HDR – which offers a suite of high-speed streaming rates.
Inmarsat partner Satcom Global also provided production company Fieldcraft Studios with a BGAN terminal to enable them to send back edited footage of Sir Ranulph for the Daily Telegraph’s Desert Diaries.
In addition, the team used our recently-launched smart device connectivity service, IsatHub, to keep followers updated on his progress with images, blogs and social media updates.
Following completion of the Marathon de Sables, Sir Ranulph said: “I don’t feel good – my back is bad. Luckily I’ve had a load of pain killers. Without them it would have been even more difficult.
“I never thought I wouldn’t make it. But there were points where I thought the camels, who walk at the rear sweeping up those who are too slow, were getting dangerously close.
“I’d like to thank all the wonderful people who have donated money to the cause which is most important to me, Marie Curie.”