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Horsing around for a great cause

Karrin O’Loughlin plans to spend 10 days in the wilderness of Mongolia competing in the Mongol Derby, the longest and toughest horse race in the world, raising funds for LifeFlight along the way. 

This year the Mongol Derby will kick start on 8 August with pre-race training starting in Ulaanbaatar on 5 August 2018. 

Growing up on a cattle station in Nebo, North Queensland, Karrin knows how important LifeFlight is for rural communities as she was picked up by RACQ CQ  Rescue after a horse riding accident in 2011. 

Karrin recalls she was cutting cows and calves out of the mob her dad and brothers had just brought in when her galloping horse stumbled, falling on top of her, knocking her out instantly. 

“It was the simplest accident, and we were only 150 meters from the homestead.” Karrin said. 

Karrin plans to raise $20,000 for LifeFlight as well as some money to go towards the $12,995USD entry fee to compete in the race. 

“I knew that I wanted to raise funds for a charity that supports rural communities. It wasn’t until I started researching LifeFlight that I learned that LifeFlight provided training and medical staff for aeromedical service providers across Queensland.” Karrin said.  

The Mongol Derby course recreates the Chinggis Khaan’s legendary postal system where 40 amateur to professional riders race the 1000km course, on semi-wild horses, for the derby title. 

Riders must balance survival skills and horsemanship while enduring the Mongol wilderness, elements, and unfamiliar food and terrain. 

“I’ve always known about Mongol Derby but never knew too much about it until I started following Will Comiskey who won the race in 2016 and placed third last year,’ Karrin explains.

“It wasn’t until a friend rang me up after returning from working abroad and said ‘we should do the Mongol Derby’ and I said ‘yeah lets do it’,” 

“Unfortunately she isn’t in a position to compete anymore but I am, and I grew attached to the idea and thought I’d give it a go!” Karrin said. 

RACQ LifeFlight Rescue relies on the generous donations of LifeFlight supporters to raise nearly 30% of operating costs to ensure the rescue helicopters can be there for anyone, anywhere, anytime, Amy Lurhs, LifeFlight Foundation’s Community Engagement Officer for the South-West said. 

“We are so grateful Karrin chose the LifeFlight Foundation as her charity to support,” 

“Each year thousands of Queenslanders survive accidents and life-threatening illnesses because of donations from community members like Karrin.” Amy said. 

Karrin has started training for the race both in the saddle and the gym. 

If you are located in the Toowoomba region and have a horse that needs exercising, Karrin is looking for horses to train on at no expense to the owner.