Last updated: 08:00 PM ET, Mon April 13 2015

English Explorer Ranulph Fiennes, 71, Completes Six-Day Marathon

Destination & Tourism | Donald Wood | April 13, 2015

English Explorer Ranulph Fiennes, 71, Completes Six-Day Marathon

Photo via YouTube

Running a marathon can be one of the most difficult physical challenges any person could attempt, but 71-year-old English explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes stunned the world by completing the dangerous multi-day Marathon des Sables.

For those unfamiliar with Marathon des Sables, it is a six-day, 156-mile long (251 km) ultramarathon that runs through the Moroccan portion of the Sahara Desert and is considered the toughest foot race on earth.

According to Laura Silverman of The Telegraph, Fiennes is a hardened veteran who is considered by many to be the greatest living explorer in the world, but he described his run through the Sahara Desert as “hell on earth” and struggled at times.

Fiennes suffered from dizziness and other ailments during the trip, and for a man who underwent a double bypass heart surgery, there were legitimate concerns about how well his heart and body would hold up under the extreme conditions.

Trainer Rory Coleman was reportedly close to ending the race early for Fiennes halfway through the race, but the 71-year-old pushed through and became the oldest English runner to ever complete the event.

Immediately following the race, Fiennes told Silverman about how he held up physically:

“I don't feel good. My back is bad. Luckily, I've had a load of painkillers. Without them I 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.”

Temperatures along the course reached 50 degrees Celsius—122 degrees Fahrenheit—but Fiennes pushed through the pain and anguish to outlast many competitors half his age to finish the desert race.

While some people may question why Fiennes would put himself in danger, he was raising money for cancer charity Marie Curie and totaled nearly £1 million in support, making the run a two-part success.

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