A lecturer at UEA has been playing a key role in helping a team of injured soldiers compete in the Dakar Rally, a grueling 8,000 mile race across South America.

Debbie Harrison, an occupational therapist from UEA’s School of Allied Health Professionals has been providing round-the-clock coverage of the Race2Recovery team’s progress, monitoring the group of veterans as they journey through some of South America’s toughest landscapes. She is currently working as part of a communication team based in the UK, streaming information and updates of the crew’s progress via Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

The Race2Recovery team is made up of injured soldiers, veterans, engineers and drivers, hoping to successfully complete the race and also raise awareness and funds for the 'Help for Heroes' charity.

Debbie spoke to us about her motivation behind the project, relating how “As an occupational therapist, I am keen to see people rebuild their lives and gain a new sense of identity through participation in activities that they love.” She described Race2Recovery’s involvement in the rally, which attracts a huge international following, as an “opportunity to increase awareness and inspire people with disabilities.” She also spoke about the team’s ambition “to raise as much money as possible for Help for Heroes” to help fund a recovery centre, and that they are aiming to “reach at least a £1million.”

The Dakar Rally is an international contest, testing competitors’ endurance, navigational skill and engineering ingenuity. It attracts both professional and amateur drivers from around the globe, and this year’s Rally challenges competitors to successfully navigate across South America, from Lima, through Tucumán and toward the final goal in Santiago. Using modified off-road vehicles, the competitors and their teams cross dunes, mud, rocks and desert, sometimes completing distances of over 800 kilometers in a single day.

This year’s Dakar Rally is currently in full swing at the moment, and if you want to check out Race2Recovery‘s progress or find out more about this exciting international competition, visit www.race2recovery.com, or you can follow the team at www.twitter.com/race2recovery, www.youtube.com/race2recovery, or by searching for ‘Race2Recovery’ on Facebook.