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Sir Ranulph Fiennes completes the Marathon des Sables

The veteran explorer was almost forced to pull out on Thursday Credit: Marie Curie/Liz Scarff/PA

Sir Ranulph Fiennes has become the oldest Briton to complete the Marathon des Sables.

The 71-year-old explorer crossed the finish line at 7.37pm after running for six days in over 50C heat in the South Moroccan desert.

The veteran explorer was almost forced to pull out on Thursday as the exertion had begun to take its toll on his heart. Nevertheless he completed the 256km ultra marathon and raised nearly £1 million for Marie Curie.

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Sir Ranulph taken to medical tent during gruelling race

Sir Ranulph Fiennes and trainer Rory Coleman approaching camp 4 during the fourth day for the Marathon des Sables. Credit: Marie Curie/Liz Scarff/PA Wire

Sir Ranulph Fiennes has been taken to the medical tent at the Marathon des Sables following concerns for his health.

The 71-year-old, who's from Exmoor, explorer is receiving medical attention after running for 30 hours in over 50C (122F) heat.

Sir Ranulph completed the most gruelling stage of the Marathon des Sables earlier today, but was taken straight to the medical tent as the exertion had begun to take its toll on his heart.

The veteran explorer, who has previously suffered two heart attacks and underwent a double heart bypass in 2003, was forced to lie down intermittently during the last few hours of the race, after fears he would not be able to finish the stage.

Speaking from the medical tent, Sir Ranulph said the last few hours had been "more hellish than hell".

I became woozy and had the feeling I was going to faint. It's not worth pushing it when you get that.

My trainer Rory had to push me down to the ground to rest and then pick me up again every so often, that is how we made the last 5k.

Last night was pretty horrific, it's hell on earth. You're trying to go up hills and your feet are slipping backwards in the sand. I had some really shaky moments. My head-torch faded and I couldn't see the hills.

– Sir Ranulph Fiennes

But Sir Ranulph, who is pushing to become the oldest Briton to complete the six-day ultra-marathon in the South Moroccan desert, said thoughts of the Marie Curie teams he is raising money for kept him going.

What kept me going was the thought that Marie Curie nurses are also working through the night.

This is all to raise funds for the amazing care they provide to people who are terminally ill and their families.

– Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Sir Ranulph, who began the challenging fourth stage of the event at 8:30am on Wednesday, has covered 56 miles, stopping for an hour at 04:30am this morning to sleep out on the race course.

But the race, which has already seen more than 75 people drop out, is still not over and Sir Ranulph still has one more marathon to complete tomorrow before finally finishing the race.

Exmoor explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes halfway through gruelling Sahara desert race

Sir Ranulph Fiennes is on day three of a six-day race through the Sahara Desert.

It's the formidable Marathon des Sables - a 156-mile run across the desert in 50 degree heat.

The 71 year old explorer from Exmoor wants to become the oldest Brit to complete the run.

He's raising £2.5 million for Marie Curie. The charity provides support for people living with a terminal illness.

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Sir Ranulph press conference

At a press conference this morning, the West-based explorer brought journalists up to date...

"The vascular surgeon said that, in his opinion - he wasn't sure - two of the fingers definitely would not require surgery and two of the fingers might require surgery."

– SIR RANULPH FIENNES

His team-mates will continue with the 2,000 mile trek, which they are expected to start later this month.

Hailed as the last great polar challenge, the journey to cross the continent has never been attempted during winter. Sir Ranulph would have been the oldest explorer to try.

You could not put a better team together. I'm very pleased with, and proud of, the team in charge of the crossing. Everything is going totally on schedule as of today."

– SIR RANULPH FIENNES

Sir Ranulph's frustration

Sir Ranulph Fiennes said today (Mon) that he was "frustrated" at being forced to pull out of an expedition across Antarctica due to injury.

The 68-year-old, who lives on Exmoor, was speaking at a press conference after flying into Heathrow. He was injured in a fall while training at a base camp.

He developed frostbite after taking off his outer gloves to fix a ski binding in temperatures of around minus 33C (minus 27.4F).

It has forced Sir Ranulph to quit the Coldest Journey expedition, which has been five years in the planning. He will continue to support the project through fundraising.

Sir Ranulph to begin frostbite treatment

The explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes - who lives on Exmoor - is due to begin treatment for severe frostbite in South Africa.

He was flown out of Antarctica last night after being forced to abandon his latest challenge. He had hoped to be one of the first people to cross Antarctica in winter but his team say the expedition will go on without him.

I have undergone a number of tests on my frostbitten hand both in Antarctica and since arriving here in Cape Town, and I am due to have additional tests here before leaving for the UK.

I feel very lucky to have been treated with the upmost care by extremely well trained professionals and have felt in safe hands throughout.

The warmth of Cape Town seems a million miles from the conditions my expedition partners are experiencing right now on the ice.

Those five men are forever in my thoughts and I wish them all the luck in the world for the expedition ahead.

Under the expert leadership of Brian Newham, I know that they have every chance of pulling off this extraordinary feat and making me and people across the Commonwealth extremely proud.

It is a very difficult and dangerous undertaking, but if there is any one group of people who can do it, it is them.

But now my focus is on returning to the UK, getting well and throwing all of my energy into helping the team there promote our aims, and making sure we raise $10 million for Seeing is Believing as we have set out to do.

– Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Sir Ranulph Fiennes to receive treatment for frostbite

Sir Ranulph Fiennes to receive treatment for frostbite Credit: ITV News West Country

The explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes - who lives on Exmoor - is due to begin treatment for severe frostbite at a hospital in South Africa. He was flown out from Antarctica last night after being forced to abandon his latest challenge.

He had hoped to be one of the first people to cross the continent in winter but the expedition will go ahead without him. Once he's back home, Sir Ranulph will work on promoting and education people about the mission.

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