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The story of Mauro Prosperi, the Italian athlete who survived nine days in the desert without food or water

Every year in Morocco the Sables Marathon, one of the toughest races in the world: 250 km under a scorching sun in the Sahara desert. Before starting, the athletes sign a document specifying the place where they want to be buried in case of death. The risks are so many that losing one’s life is seen as one more possibility.

When Mauro Prosperi participated in the Marathon des Sables in 1994, he already knew all this information: he faced the race as the challenge of his life. Unlike other participants who were content to cross the finish line, he went there determined to win. “My wife thought I was crazy”he told the BBC.

Currently, around 1,300 athletes sign up for the Marathon des Sables. In the 1994 edition only 134 athletes participated. “Now they couldn’t get lost if they tried, but I was alone most of the time”explains the runner about one of the toughest races in the world.

During the first three days, Prosperi gained confidence in the desert: he was always among the first at the end of each stage. “On day four, during the longest and most difficult phase of the race, things got complicated. When we left there was already a bit of wind. After passing four checkpoints, I entered an area of ​​dunes. I was alone. The pacing runners had gotten aheadrecounts.

Lost in the Sahara

At noon the temperature in the desert of Morocco was already over 45ºC. It was then that a sandstorm broke out that left him without visibility for several hours. “I was blind, I couldn’t breathe. He felt lashes of sand on his face, it was like a storm of needles ”counted.

When he calmed down, he was so exhausted that he decided to rest without having finished the stage. When he woke up, he had no idea where he was. Although he kept hoping that he would soon find someone from the organization, the hours passed and he only saw dunes around him. At that time, he only had half a bottle of water left. Desperate, he began to urinate inside to have reserves.

Prosperi also recalled the hard moment in which he made the hard decision to take his own life by cutting his veins, thinking that it would be so. a way to end suffering in a simple way. “I cut my wrists at night, I did it so as not to suffer. However, I woke up in the morning and was still alive. God had other plans for me, I thought: Mauro be strong!”told Antenna 3.

As Prosperi continued to advance through the desert, he continued to encounter even more adversity. There were anti-personnel mines and anti-vehicle mines that made the road difficult.” He also remembers how for a moment he had the hope of being rescued. “A plane passed over

And me, I thought that he had seen me and that he was saved, however it was not so and he continued on his way “said.

Reappeared in Algeria

He further explained how amazing his reappearance in Algeria was. “I found a farm, there was a little shepherd girl who was surprised to see me and got scared asking who was that guy?”counted.

After more than 20 years of experience and even having won a medal in 2017, the athlete does not give up and he wants to finish what he started one day at the Marathon des Sables.

Source: Elcomercio

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