Marathon Men Complete Feat

Sir Ranulph Fiennes, right, and Mike Stroud of Britain react after finishing the New York City Marathon Sunday, Nov. 2, 2003 in New York. The pair successfully completed seven marathons on seven continents in seven days.
Two British adventurers, Sir Ranulph Fiennes and Michael Stroud, completed the New York City Marathon together in just under 5½ hours — their seventh marathon in seven days on seven continents (if you count the Falkland Islands as Antarctica).

The pair had already run marathons in London, Singapore, Chile, the Falkland Islands and Australia. And Fiennes had double bypass surgery following a heart attack in June.

Fiennes, 59, and Stroud, 48, crossed the New York marathon finish line together at 5:25:46. Fiennes was 28,362nd among 35,000 runners, while Stroud was 28,364th.

Martin Lel of Kenya won the marathon for men in 2:10.30. It was his first marathon win. Margaret Okayo, also from Kenya, shattered the course record she set in 2001 by nearly two minutes, at 2:22:31.

In all, Fiennes and Stroud ran 183 miles and traveled 45,000 miles in their marathon marathon.

Stroud, a doctor, said they're the sort of people who like a challenge.

Fiennes said the New York race was the most challenging.

"Of this lot, of the seven marathons, it must be this one because we finished with this one," he told WCBS-TV. "The difficult point today? The uphill bits, because in the downhill bits you can cruise and relax, uphill bits you start remembering what's wrong with you from the previous marathons."

Among other contestants of note:

  • Hip-hop entrepreneur Sean "P. Diddy" Combs raised $2 million for children's charities by running in his first marathon.
  • A delegation of seven disabled police officers and soldiers from Colombia, most of them wounded in combat, were running the race together.
  • A 92-year-old man, Fauja Singh, tried but failed to break his own record for 90-and-over marathoners of 5:40:44. He finished the race in 7:34:37. Singh was running as a guest of a Sikh community in Queens, hoping to raise awareness of the faith.
Fiennes was once described by the Guinness Book of World Records as the "world's greatest living explorer" for leading more than 30 expeditions, including the first polar circumnavigation of the Earth, in 1982.