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Sir Ranulph Fiennes to run Marathon des Sables

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8 January 2015 by Lowenna Waters

Wexas Travel Honorary President and distinguished explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes has announced that he will run the "toughest footrace on earth" - the Marathon des Sables in Morocco.

At the age of 71, he hopes to become the oldest Briton to complete the grueling marathon, which he is running to raise £2.5 million for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

The run is 156 miles (251km) across the Sahara in 50C heat, and is completed over a period of six days, working out at an entire marathon per day.

Talking to the Press Association, Sir Ranulph referred to the race as a "small project".

"Everything is relative," he said. "Relative to some of the other things, this will take less time to train for - it will take six or seven months of running five days a week."

The explorer has smashed numerous records. In 1982 he became the first person to complete the 35,000-mile trek around the world via both poles and is the oldest Briton to have reached the summit of Mount Everest, aged 65.

Despite having suffered two heart attacks, a double heart bypass and a cancer operation, Sir Ranulph has been given the all clear by cardiac experts. He is aware of the challenges he faces, "It depends on whether the bits of my body can stand up to it," he said.

Sir Ranulph is being trained in Wales by Cardiff-based "ultra-runner" Rory Coleman who has run the Marathon des Sables 11 times and describes Fiennes as "a real machine".

"Although he has admitted to not liking the heat very much, he really has no off button when it comes to giving it everything he's got, he's a coaching dream".

Sir Ranulph brushed off the praise, commenting: "The trainer has trained a great number of geriatrics and he knows that he has to be sort of brutal: I'm ex-military so I'm used to doing what I'm told." 

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