‘Adventurer of the Year’ enters Outback Air Race

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Linda Beilharz was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia

The first Australian woman to ski to both the South and North poles is set to enter August’s Outback Air Race.

Linda Beilharz was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2010 and also named Australian Geographic Society’s Adventurer of the Year.

The 2022 race — which did not go ahead in 2021 due to COVID — will see 100 competitors fly a total of 3,800 kilometres across three different states. The 13-day challenge will begin on 29 August and culminate in a finale at Coffs Harbour on 11 September.

With just two months to go, organisers have begun to release the names of this year’s confirmed entrants.

Beilharz, nicknamed ‘the Icy Pole Lady’, is one of the country’s most notable female adventurers.

In 2004, she became the first Australian woman to ski 1,100km from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole.

Then, 16 years later, she trekked for 56 days over cracking ice to reach the North Pole. In total, Beilharz skied 780km, including covering 27km in 17-hour days with just an hour’s sleep per night.

Outback Air Race organisers said her team, the Hopeful Hildas, are trying to raise $10,000 for the event.

The Outback Air Race raises funds for the Royal Flying Doctor Service and has garnered more than $3.1 million in donations since its foundation in 1996.

Locations covered include Darwin to Cooinda, Adels Grove, Karumba, Undara, Shute Harbour, Gladstone, Roma and Goondiwindi.

So far, the triannual event has raised $235,000 of its $600,000 target.

You can follow the race, donate, and read up on all the teams by visiting www.outbackairrace.com.au.

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