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LifeFlight crew jumps out of the cockpit and into the saddle

Tough, wet conditions are expected to challenge cyclists gearing up for the annual Ride the Range event in Toowoomba this weekend.

Among those preparing to take on the gruelling 164 kilometre journey, are three very keen and dedicated RACQ LifeFlight crew members – Pilot Murray Gladwin, Pilot Simon Newman and Dr Dale Murphy. 

The seventh annual Ride the Range event will raise vital money for LifeFlight as well as Australia Rotary Health, and is organised by the Rotary Club of Toowoomba.

This year, the LifeFlight team will join forces with proud LifeFlight business partner Nexus for the event, taking the partnership to new heights as the Nexus team prepares to defend its title.

Nexus Communications and Stakeholder Director Sarah Delahunty said they were delighted that the two organisations had joined “sporting forces” to hit the road for such a great event.

“We are proud to have some of the LifeFlight crew join the Nexus team for this challenging event. It will be a tough ride but it is for a great cause,” Sarah said.

LifeFlight Pilots Murray Gladwin and Simon Newman, and Critical Care Dr Dale Murphy have put their hands up for the challenge and have been in heavy training.

For Murray the winding track through the Lockyer Valley is a familiar one. He’s been riding the roads around Toowoomba for more than a decade, a habit formed during his days in the military.

“I think in the army I just used to work with a lot of fit people, so before you know it you’re riding 40 kilometres to and from work,” he said.

Murray is no stranger to physical challenges, having completed a full Ironman Triathlon (3.8km swim, 180km ride and 42.2km run) since joining LifeFlight two and a half years ago, but admits this weekend’s ride won’t be easy.

“The climb back up the range, it’s steep and it’s at the end of the ride so it will be challenging,” said Murray.

“I’ve done little bits of the ride, but never the whole thing in total.”

Last calendar year the Toowoomba-based RACQ LifeFlight Rescue helicopter crew conducted 587 lifesaving missions in South-West Queensland. Through their lifesaving work, the RACQ LifeFlight name has become a familiar one for all residents in the region. Murray says he’s constantly humbled by the support from the community.

“The support from the local community here, it’s amazing,” he said.

The 164 kilometre course isn’t for everyone, with riders also having the option to take part in shorter 112 kilometre, 85 kilometre or 50 kilometre courses.

The ride starts at 6am on Sunday, with a well-earned lunch planned afterwards.