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Helicopter record-breaker attempts to tackle ultra marathon

September 27, 2011  By Carey Fredericks

Sept. 27, 2011, Nepal - Jennifer Murray, the first woman to pilot a helicopter solo around the world in 2000, will now attempt an earthbound challenge – to become the oldest woman to race an Ultra Marathon. On Nov. 20, she will be on the start line for Racing the Planet, Nepal.

This is no ordinary race – rated one of the toughest foot races in the world, it is a 250 km, seven-day event in the Himalayas where competitors have to carry all their own equipment. The going is over rough tracks, and involves an aggregate vertical ascent and descent of more than 61,300 feet (18,700 metres). Murray will be raising funds for the Friends of the Scott Polar Research Institute.

Murray is no stranger to adventure. After setting her solo helicopter record, she took to the skies again in 2003, together with co-pilot Colin Bodill, attempting the first South-North helicopter circumnavigation of the world, but crashed in Antarctica shortly after reaching the South Pole. They survived, and in 2007 they made a second and this time successful attempt.

Born in 1940 in Providence, R.I., if Murray completes the race, she will win a place in the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest female  to finish an ultra marathon.

Despite her near fatal crash, she fell in love with the Antarctic and appreciates not only the vital scientific field work of the Scott Polar Research Institute in the Polar regions, but also their extensive polar library, archives and museum in Cambridge, England – which are available to all.


Murray is the author of three books, Now Solo, Broken Journey, and Polar First. She was inducted into the Rhode Island Aviation Hall of Fame in 2005.


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