What would Sir Ranulph Fiennes say? “Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.”
During my first major ultra-marathon The Marathon des Sables (MdS), I had the pleasure of tent sharing with Ranulph (Ran to his mates 😉), getting to know each other well as we went through our own challenges and goals during our Sahara experience.
The MdS, was once dubbed as ‘the toughest footrace on earth’, crossing 250km of desert on foot, with all your food and equipment on your back. It certainly justifies the notoriety.
When you’re living under a blanket on sticks for a week whilst racing back-to-back desert marathons, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from in the normal world. Millionaire, celebrity, or some dude from Peterborough, you’re just a group of people sleeping rough, tending to your wounded feet and achy bits, trading peanuts for jelly babies whilst swapping stories of your fifth desert marathon in a row.
For Ran, the Marathon des Sables gave him the content for his book ‘Heat’, which you can buy here. Maybe I’ll eventually get a book of my adventures out too? (work in progress).
Ranulph is a genuine no nonsense, ‘keep on keeping on’ guy. Just like me, he was there to do a job, cross a desert, raise money for charity, don’t die.
For those who don’t know much about Sir Ranulph Fiennes, he has been recognised by the Guinness Book of Records as ‘The World’s Greatest Living Explorer’ so you can imagine I was quite excited to share one of those experiences with such a legend. You can read more about my MdS experience here: https://darrengrigas.com/marathon-des-sables/
It was inspirational and humbling to see this living legend having just turned 71, out there with us young whipper snappers to cross that desert no matter what. Despite the 50-degree heat, worn feet, rattled bones and aching body (that was just me!) if we kept moving forwards, the finish line was inevitable.
I’m pleased to say that both of us reached that finish line, albeit after our own personal and different experiences of the course. I aimed to race it as well as I could, Ran’s goal was simply to complete it without failure, and without those “bloody camels” catching him. The ‘camels’ were the sweepers at the back of the race, picking off those who were too slow to make the cut-offs. Ranulph was often looking over his shoulder and grunting at them hot on his tail.
Sir Ranulph in Peterborough – Sir Ranulph Fiennes – Living Dangerously
You don’t have to just take my account of Ran’s MdS, aside from reading his book Heat you can see the man himself here at the Cresset in Peterborough on April 8, 2021 to share his stories with us first hand. I hope to have a good catch up with him myself as it’s been a few years since the Sahara.
Here in today’s world, as we all continue with our own struggles during the ongoing and changing lockdown, we need to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep ahead of our own camel. It might not be as graceful or easy as some of us would like, it’s not even the path we should be on and many people have had to make some big changes in life, careers, living circumstances, but as long as we keep on keeping on, the tough times will pass. We’re able to adapt to our surroundings, ration our luxuries, accept and overcome obstacles, and keep moving forwards regardless. We’ll soon be able to look back with heads held high, knowing we cracked on, did our best and got the job done.
To book your tickets call the box office on 01733 265705 or visit www.cresset.co.uk