Thursday, September 3, 2009

Lost in the Desert.....

This is one of my favorite MDS stories!In 1994 Italian runner Mauro Prosperi got lost while running the MDS....This is his story!

Mauro Prosperi is an Italian police officer and modern pentathlete whose story of survival in the Sahara Desert in 1994 made him a hero in his native country.Prosperi, a keen endurance runner, took part in the 1994 Marathon des Sables (Marathon of the Sands) in Morocco. Part way through the 6-day 233 kilometre event a sandstorm caused Prosperi to lose his way.

He ended up disoriented and ran in the wrong direction, ultimately running several hundred kilometres into Algeria. After 36 hours he ran out of food and water. He survived by drinking his own urine and eating bats resident in an abandoned mosque and the occasional snake found in the desert.

Not wishing to die a long drawn out death, Prosperi attempted to commit suicide in the mosque by slitting his wrists with a pen knife he had with him. The attempt failed - lack of water had caused Prosperi's blood to thicken and clotted the wound before he died.After nine days alone in the desert he was found by a nomadic family and taken to an Algerian military camp and from there to a hospital. He was 186 miles (299 km) off route, and reportedly had lost between 30 and 40 pounds (18 kg) in body weight.His story of survival was later covered in a National Geographic Channel documentary entitled Expeditions To The Edge: Sahara Nightmare.

This account is somewhat disputed by Patrick Bauer - the organiser of the Marathon des Sables. In the book Marathon des Sables, he says that Mauro could have only walked 100 km before being picked up as he would never have been able to do hundreds of kilometres with the water he had.

Mauro also apparently initially said that no attempt was made to rescue him - denied by Patrick who says that they used 3 helicopters, a light aircraft, half the staff and local berbers to try to find him.Mauro tried to enter again but was refused by Patrick in 1995 and 1996. However he was eventually allowed in 1997 and also did it 1998 and 2000.

I will make sure I follow the makers all the way to the end!

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