Friday, September 16, 2011

Survivalist: Mauro Prosperi

Mauro Prosperi is one of those people that survived ordeals that would have probably made grown men curl up into balls and try to cry their problems away. This is possibly one of the few men known to trek the Sahara Desert for 9 days, un-intentionally. Before all of this however, he was a casual everyday Italian policeman that occasionally participated in a "Modern Pentathlon". But it wasn't awesome enough for Mauro Prosperi.

You can tell he's Italian by his dangerously good looks.

At one point of Mauro's life, he decided that he needed more in life, and signed up for the "Marathon des Sables" or the Marathon of the Sands. This race was a six day, 156 miles race in the Sahara Desert, on a six-day time frame. For obvious reasons, it's considered one of the most the most difficult races on earth. Imagine the disappointment on someone's face after trekking the desert for 6.1 days and finding out that he/she lost the race.

"Dang it."

The race required you to carry your personal belongings and food during the entire event on a backpack. I mean, what did you think? A servant was going to follow you into the Sahara desert and spoon feed you carrots? Thankfully, water and tents was given from the organizers.

But again, it wasn't daises and roses, this was the Sahara desert after all. The Sahara is the largest desert in the world (disregarding Antarctica. I mean, who cares about Antarctica?) with over 9,400,000 square kilometers of hiking enjoyment. The mere size of the desert is almost equal to Europe and considering that some of the sand dunes reach 590ft, it's going to be a long day.

Especially since it's almost half the size of Africa.

After Mauro paid $5000 to participate in the event, he began his journey for fame and glory. Part way during the journey, a sandstorm hit Mauro and his cousin. The sandstorm caused Mauro to run towards the wrong direction in confusion. Suddenly, Mauro wasn't running a organized orderly race on a pre-determined path, he was walking aimlessly into the Sahara Desert.

Fame And Glory: Apparently worth $5000

36 hours after getting lost he ran out of food and water, which isn't exactly a good thing, in any scenario. He ended up surviving on his own urine, snakes, and bats from a abandoned mosque. But a man can only drink his own urine for so long, Prosperi eventually decided that it was better to end it all himself, then to slowly perish in the middle of the desert.

Only for so long.

While he was still in the abandoned mosque, he took his pen knife and attempted to kill himself by slitting his wrists. However, due to the lack of water, his thicken blood clotted the wound before he died from blood lost.

After nine days wandering around the desert with bloody wrists and a distaste for urine, he was discovered by a nomadic family and was taken to an Algerian military camp and then a hospital. What does that mean? It means that he un-intentionally ended up walking 186 kilometers into Algeria. At the hospital, they found that he lost a little more than 30 pounds of body weight.

Getting lost in the Sahara desert: A new dieting trend?

After he recovered he quit his career in the police force and now resides with his family on a isolated mountainside. Just kidding, he went straight back to the race four years later. There's nothing like facing death face-to-face and surviving to tell the tale. However, he was unable to win the race due to a severely stubbed toe.

"My feet are killing me!"