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Sir Ranulph Fiennes' Toughest Test to Date - The Land Rover 7x7x7 Challenge


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GAYDON, Warwickshire, England, Oct. 16, 2003 -- Sir Ranulph Fiennes, world celebrated explorer, and his long-term expedition companion, Dr. Mike Stroud, are about to embark on an epic around-the-world trip aiming to complete seven marathons on seven continents in seven days.

Adding to the challenge, Sir Ranulph underwent a double heart bypass operation only four months ago, making this one of the intrepid pair's toughest ventures yet. The British Heart Foundation (BHF) is the sole UK benefiting charity of the Land Rover 7x7x7 Challenge.

The epic undertaking starts at London Heathrow airport on Tuesday, October 21st with a long and complex journey to the Antarctic, where the first marathon takes place on Sunday, October 26th. The Challenge continues with the Santiago marathon on Monday, October 27th, moving to Sydney (10/29), Singapore (10/30), London (10/31), Cairo (11/1) and ending with the ING New York City marathon (11/2).

Sir Ranulph, 59, said: "Luckily, the bypass operation and the care I received have given me back the kind of life I think of as normal. It's a fairly routine operation today -- but only a few years ago, it was being pioneered by the British Heart Foundation, whose work I've come to admire greatly, and I am delighted to be back in a position to support this very important charity."

He added, "To succeed in the Land Rover 7x7x7 Challenge, we need to complete each marathon within about six hours, and in the last two training runs, both Mike and I have come in with times below 4 hours 30 minutes. However, there is still the risk of delayed flights and treacherous roads to contend with, so as usual, we will need the Land Rovers and luck to be on our side -- but we are confident."

Dr. Mike Stroud, 48, said, "We had been talking about this challenge even before Ran's heart attack, and now, with the support of Land Rover, we are even more determined to complete it. I will carry sufficient medical equipment, including a defibrillator, in case of emergencies. We have agreed that if one of us falls ill, the other will continue and aim to be the first to complete this amazing physical, mental and logistical challenge."

Land Rover vehicles will be used in six of the seven countries to carry the runners and their equipment to marathon starting points, using their off-road ability to follow the most direct routes. Carrying the pair from country to country will be British Airways Club World in-flight beds, without which, exhaustion would certainly cut the challenge short.

You can donate to the Land Rover 7x7x7 Challenge fund and support the British Heart Foundation online at www.bhf.org.uk/7x7x7 or by mail: Land Rover 7x7x7 Challenge, BHF, 14 Fitzhardinge Street, London W1H 6HD.

Land Rover North America is part of Aston Martin Jaguar Land Rover with headquarters in Irvine, California. Land Rover established operations in the US in 1986, and now imports and distributes Range Rover, Discovery, and Freelander vehicles manufactured by Land Rover in Solihull, England. Land Rover's worldwide operations are wholly owned by Ford Motor Company, Dearborn, Michigan. For more information about the Land Rover retailer nearest you, call 800-FINE-4WD or log on to www.LandRover.com .