Endurance riding techniques help Sir Ranulph Fiennes climb Everest

  • Endurance riding techniques were behind Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ successful Everest attempt last month, his wife Louise has told H&H.

    When the 65-year-old adventurer conquered Mount Everest on his third attempt on 21 May, he attributed his success to his wife.

    “He told me he owed his achievement to me, which was really something for him to admit,” said the endurance rider, who, as Louise Millington, was a member of Endurance GB’s Cheshire Group, before she married Sir Ranulph and moved to Exmoor in 2005.

    “I have been indoctrinating him with endurance principals — fundamentals like hydration, avoiding build-up of lactic acid and using electrolytes.”

    Louise said how, as part of his training, she accompanied him to a marathon in Singapore.

    “I got him to drink properly and to eat lots of pasta and slow-release energy bars,” she explained. “He finished an hour and a half quicker than before. He was tired, but not ill.

    “I have also talked a lot about the endurance adage of those who finish often start from the back of the field. We monitored his blood sats [blood-oxygen saturation levels] daily.”

    Sir Ranulph often runs alongside his wife as she trains her horses. And as a thank you for her contribution to his achievement, he has given her a black Arab mare with complementary bloodlines to her stallion Cumbria Zarife.

    Louise has competed over shorter distances but still has her own endurance mountain to climb — a one-day, 100-mile competion, which she intends to achieve in memory of her endurance friend Jackie Thompson, who died in April.

    “‘Ran’ will be there when I cross the line, but he won’t be crewing — unbelievably, he can’t read a map,” said Louise.

    This article was first published in Horse & Hound (18 June, ’09)

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