A Chesterfield man struck down with a serious auto immune disorder as a child will be bidding for world glory in a gruelling event later this year.
Former Army sergeant Mario Castelluccio, 33, was diagnosed with Guillain-Barré syndrome in 1991 – a rare condition which attacks healthy nerve cells.
It led to him being wheelchair-bound and receiving intensive physiotherapy and hydrotherapy to help his recovery.
Despite the condition, Mario battled against the odds to forge a career in the Army and in October will compete against elite opposition from more than 65 countries in the Obstacle Course Racing World Championships held in London.
Obstacle Course Racing (OCR) involves extreme endurance on foot, tackling obstacles and challenges through tough and often muddy terrain.
Mario, who left the Army to be closer to his young family in Chesterfield, took up OCR when he was offered a spare ticket for a race in Nottingham in 2016 when a friend dropped out.
He now has a string of events under his belt including the Chesterfield Half Marathon 2017.
But training for the event has been another challenge due to the lack of OCR facilities in the area.
Therefore he has built his own rig to practice and attends Cliff Lakes OCR Training sessions in Tamworth as often as possible to learn new skills and techniques.
Mario said: “My message to those who have been struck down with potentially life changing illnesses is to keep fighting. I never thought I would be competing in such a high-profile event in the OCR calendar, against world class competitors, but here I am.”
The Obstacle Course Racing World Championships takes place in London, from October 19– 21.
- For more details about the event and the sport, go to www.ocrworldchampionships.com.