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Gwen Dellar (21) at the MDS2010. Photo credit: Gwen Dellar.

Lost in the desert: MDS cautionary tale

28-Feb-17

Last updated: 30-May-17

By Alice Morrison

Everyone who attempts the Marathon des Sables, the legendary stage race across the desert, does so in the firm belief that they are going to finish it. Months of training, thousands of pounds, endless early morning rises to get that 15 mile run in before work go into every entry. Blood, sweat and tears doesn’t quite cover it.

Almost surprisingly, given its difficulty and the extreme conditions, the MdS does not claim many victims. More people have sadly died on the Great Northern Run than have done so during the Marathon des Sables.

But people DO get lost. Who could forget the tale of the Mauro Prosperi, class of 1994. A former Olympian from Sicily, he went 299 km off route during a harsh sand storm. He was lost for 11 days before being found in Algeria, following a well-publicized search of the desert. He had survived, he said, by drinking bat blood and his own urine.

I caught up with fellow Brit, Gwen Dellar in Morocco where we both live, to hear her story of what happened when she ran the MdS in 2010.

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