Nerve Connection Foundation supporter and self-described ordinary Australian, Salliann Powell has just completed part one of a five part extraordinary journey. Sal arrived back in Brisbane last week after having traversed the oldest desert with the largest dunes in the world in a mere six days.

The Namib Race was part one of Sal’s quest to be the first Australian to complete the Racing the Planet Grand Slam Plus ultramarathon series, all in the name of findung a cure for devastating neurological orphan diseases. The 250km course in Namibia took in the Namib Desert and Namib-Naukluft National Park, finishing on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean at Swakopmund. When asked to describe the experience, an exhausted Sal simply muttered the word, ‘Sand.’

These desert ultramarathons are not your ordinary, long bushwalk. Sal is racing against the clock and the elements, over rough terrain, with only a spot in a tent and water provided. It’s tough stuff, but Sal concedes it’s nowhere near as tough as life with one of the confounding diseases that cause muscle weakness and disability, and lead to an early death. Which is why she has got behind the work of Nerve Connection Foundation as she undertakes this extraordinry quest.

Next stop is the Gobi Desert in Mongolia, where from 23 June 2024 Sal will race across sand dunes, the Mongolian steppes, rock valleys, and even a battlefield of Genghis Khan. It’s a long way from Brisbane and the research and clinical trials taking place here, and it certainly isn’t anything ordinary at all.

Keep an eye out for more information on Sal’s race in Namibia in an upcoming edition of InQueensland.

To make a donation or find out more about the work Sal is supporting, please visit the Foundation website.