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WATCH: Dakar Challenge - here's how tackling gruelling off-road terrain helps military veterans cope with debilitating PTSD

2018-06-29 11:10

Image: Newspress

Pushing a car to the limit across some of the most gruelling terrain is all in a day’s work for the Dakar Challenge troop.

Originally set out as an alternative therapy treatment for military veterans suffering with life-altering PTSD, the Dakar Challenge is now welcoming entries from the public for its March 2019 event, a first since its founding.

Not for the faint hearted

In the latest film you’ll be able to see the trials, tribulations and triumphs from this year’s Dakar Challenge event.

The team included nine military veterans, all scarred mentally and physically by the wars in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, who joined together to accomplish the unthinkable – tackling the gruelling Dakar Rally route through Morocco in scrap-worthy Citroen Berlingos.

READ: Dakar 2019 to be raced in Peru as organisers eye African return

Not for the faint hearted, the aim of the Dakar Challenge 2018 was to regain some of the teamwork and camaraderie our war heroes experienced in the Armed Forces, by immersing them in a challenging and extreme environment, surrounded by people they share a common bond with - something so many veterans greatly miss.

                                     Image: Newspress

Driven to Extremes was conceived by Mac Mackenney, Managing Director of expedition specialists Max Adventure, in order to fulfil a need to offer veterans suffering from PTSD an alternative form of ‘therapy’, where conventional methods of treatment may not have the desired effect.

The Driven to Extremes 2019 Dakar Challenge, which will take place in March, is now open for applications from the public - a first for this event.

Promising more of the same, Mac Mackenney explains why it’s so special, and why we could all benefit from putting ourselves out of our comfort zones.

                                                                          Image: Newspress

"The Dakar Challenge is more than just taking an old banger and seeing if you can drive it across the Sahara Desert. At first, we wanted to provide an alternative therapy to war veterans – the guys and girls that needed our help – but we realised that it’s not just our ex-troops that can benefit from this. I’m so excited to open the Driven to Extremes experience to everyone," explains Mackenney .

                                                                           Image: Newspress

Mackenney said: "I’m always a little apprehensive about the start of any of our expeditions. Have we bitten off more than we can chew? Will everyone get along together? Will the cars make it? Have I gone a bit too far?

"At the end of every event, I think – wow, we really did that, and we made lifelong friends, gave our participants important life skills, got over major hurdles and made sure they made amazing memories in the process."

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