Officially the world’s longest horse race with a Guinness World Record, the 6th edition of the Mongol Derby is the largest yet with 48 riders taking on the gruelling 1000km course across the Mongolian steppe. It will begin Wednesday August 6th.
Follow the race live from 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning local time: Live Tracking Map
Twenty-eight female and 20 male riders from around the world – including two women from Canada, met in Ulaanbaatar on August 3rd for three days of pre-race training. Following a day in the classroom they undergo two days of rigorous pre-race training in the saddle at the start camp west of the capital. The 2014 field may be highly experienced equestrians but the semi-wild nature of the hardy Mongolian horses means even old hands need intensive training.
The Mongol Derby is a recreation of Genghis Khan’s ancient postal system; a mammoth network of horse stations that relayed messages across the Mongol empire at devastating speed. Riders replace the horse messengers these days and organisers The Adventurists establish a network of 25 horse stations manned by local herders. The riders change their semi-wild horses at each station, set approximately 40km apart. Overnight they stay with the local nomadic herding families at the horse stations or camp out on the steppe under the stars.
Each horse is used only once, meaning 1,200 horses will be involved in this years race. They are carefully selected and trained before the race then inspected by an equine vet before and after their 40km. The race rules ensure horse welfare is the paramount concern and a penalty is in place for any riders whose horse fails the veterinary inspection or are found to be placing the horse under stress. The vets follow the race and can be called on at any time and between horse stations. A team of expedition medics from Prometheus Medical are also on standby at all times for the welfare of the riders.
Among the 48 riders there are 15 nationalities represented. Female riders outnumber the males this year by eight, the youngest is 20 year old Luke Berry (UK) and the oldest is Barbara Smith at 60 (USA).
Each rider also has to raise a minimum of £1000 for charity, including £500 for the official race charity, Cool Earth.
Sarah Cuthbertson, Canada, 27
Executive Assistant from Ontario and a successful endurance rider. She writes, edits and publishes Pulse magazine, Ontario’s competitive trail riders’ official publication.
Alison Wilson, Canada, 51
Highly experienced returning Mongol Derby veteran from the 2013 edition. She represented Canada on the junior eventing team.
Sylvia Simonin, Switzerland, 34
Professional horse trainer and avid climber, outdoor enthusiast and world traveller.
Mikael Eriksson, Sweden, 41
Forest Ranger who keeps a small farm in northern Sweden who also show jumps locally and has ridden in Mongolian, Jordan, Botswana and Spain.
Musse Hasselvall, Sweden, 41
TV Presenter, MMA fighter and holds an amateur jockey’s licence. Relative newcomer to riding but has taken part in amateur races over jumps in Sweden.
AnnTherese, Helgesson, Sweden, 41
Fashion Designer from Borås, has been training intensively for a year to take on the Derby.
Per Michanek, Sweden, 58
Veterinarian and race horse trainer and the oldest rider in the field. A highly skilled horseman.
Emile Colling, Luxembourg, 45
Doctor, Anesthetist and helicopter air rescue crew member in Luxembourg. A serious athlete, he’s competed in three fencing world championships and the skibob world championship in 1993.
Katja Joachim, Germany, 35
Management Consultant & surfer. She’s been dog sledding and worked race horses in Saratoga, USA and Woodbine, Canada.
Alexander Piltz, Germany, 29
Polo player, a Captain in the German paratrooper reserves and airline chief.
Chris Berkers, The Netherlands, 22
History of Art student, ultra marathon runner and outdoors enthusiast.
Anna Christina De Jonquieres, Denmark, 21
A showjumper studying Agricultural Economics who could ride before she could walk.
Jessica Kwong, UK / Hong Kong, 22
Working full time as a groom and rider. Born and raised in Hong Kong she’s ridden in Mongolia and is taking part in the Tough Mudder as part of her Mongol Derby training.
Chris Maude, UK, 44
Retired National Hunt jockey, has ridden in 8 Grand Nationals, won the Becher Chase and now works as a master valet.
Jamie Peel, UK, 32
Played in the British Open and Gold Cup. Rides and hunts with fellow rider Chris Maude.
Claudia Vicente, UK, 33
Veteran of the Mongol Rally overland adventure, she entered the first Mongol Derby in 2009 but couldn’t take part and is back to finish the job. Legal Secretary working in Dubai and enjoys endurance riding in the desert.
Vikki Wojcik, UK, 31
PE Teacher soon to switch careers and set up a cherry orchard.
Robert Skinner, UK, 52
Won the Grand Military Chase last year, an impressive amateur jockey and also won the Royal Wessex Yeomanry race ride 2012. A former Royal Marine who has served in Bosnia and Afghanistan, Robert is also a parachute instructor and has completed numerous mountain and high altitude training courses.
Luke Berry, UK, 20
He has just competed in a show jumping competition The Royal Tournament in Melton Mowbray. He has also spent a season in Leicestershire jumping hedges and hunting.
Wendy Chung, UK, 36
Wendy has travelled widely and in the last few years have been to Argentina and New Zealand for six months to learn to play polo without knowing how to ride.
James Griffiths, UK, 22
James has completed two ceremonial seasons for the Household Cavalry in the Lifeguards regiment riding in many parades including Trooping the Colour and the State Opening of Parliament.
Simon Lukas, UK, 32
Simon has commanded the Queens Birthday Parade for the Household Cavalry and enjoys hunt races with varied amounts of success.
Andrew Mobey, UK, 21
Both of Andrew’s parents were in the armed forces, leading him to travel extensively in his youth. He has represented the regiment in hunting for a season in Leicestershire.
Matthew Pearce, UK, 27
He once fell off his horse on a State Escort which earned him a picture in the Daily Mail.
Catherine Stott, UK, 32
Catherine has nearly 30 years riding experience and in that time has ridden and competed in a wealth of disciplines including; dressage, show jumping, eventing, cross country and side saddle for both jump and flat classes.
Roisin McCourt, Ireland, 30
Oxford Classics graduate and corporate lawyer in the city of London. An extriathlete rower she found her way to riding via polo. She’s training with Mongol Derby endurance specialist and racecourse manager Maggie Pattinson.
Courtney Davis, New Zealand, 20
Professional rider and horse trainer. She has show jumped up to 1.25 metres, competed in eventing, dressage and rodeo. She musters cattle, rides track work on thoroughbreds and backs her own horses.
Michelle Ann Jarvis, New Zealand, 43
Veterinary Opthalmic Nurse from Auckland and very experienced lifelong rider who has bred and started her own horse.
James Mitchell, Australia, 23
Professional horse breaker and part time farrier, he rides between 510 breakers and up to five racehorses every day. He’s competed in rodeo and camp drafts.
Sam Jones, Australia, 40
She has evented at one star level, camp drafted at open level and been leading rider at Landor Races. A highly experienced rider who grew up on a sheep farm and has started her own horses since she was 14.
Brent Albuino, Australia, 30
Professional jockey, racehorse trainer and trackwork rider. He rides up to 10 horses every day training them for flat racing.
Bonnie Hutton, USA, 28
Runs an equine charity rehabilitating ex-racehorses. Has competed in eventing and works daily with racehorses.
Madison Kauffman, USA, 27
A riding instructor, she also competes in showjumping and eventing and has started two of her own horses. Also a fan of the wild outdoors having spent time in Alaska and Montana.
Krystal Kelly, USA, 24
Professional showjumper and trainer, she currently lives in India and rides six horses a day. She has led trail riding camping trips in Bhutan and Romania.
Jessica Kipp, USA, 29
Public Relations Professional and former dressage instructor.
Mary Lee, USA, 38
Creative Director, Fashion Consultant, founder of internationally renowned blog Twisted Lamb, to name just a few of her many achievements and professional accolades. She is currently training polo ponies in Wellington, Florida to prepare for the Mongol Derby.
Adam Perlman, USA, 35
A Mongol Derby veteran from the 2013 edition, looking forward to another attempt at the world’s toughest and longest horse race.
Heather Russell, USA, 34
Lifelong equestrian and outdoors enthusiast, she has ridden since she was eight years old and competed in many disciplines including rodeos. She’s now focusing on endurance riding.
Jade SevelowLee,USA, 29
Professional horse trainer and instructor, fan of travelling the world and a surfer.
Lisa Youngwerth, USA, 48
Head Wrangler of the family ranch until recently, she’s ridden in Ecuador, Spain and Costa Rica. She also leads adventurous riding trips, owns a mountain equipment store, part owns a rock climbing gym and her kids are world ranked rock climbers.
Amy WallaceWhelan,USA, 50
Farm Manager, she holds a degree in Equine Science from Colorado State University and has 10,000 miles of endurance riding under her belt including a World Championship and 25 100mile races. She’s also a past President of the American Endurance Ride Conference (AERC), the governing body of Endurance Riding in USA.
Loden Burton, USA, 34
All aspects of this race appeals to Loden and he can’t wait to get on the start line.
Barbara Smith, USA, 60
Barbara is the oldest rider in the 2014 field, and her birthday falls on the closing ceremonies of the Mongol Derby. She’s looking forward to a double celebration.
Stephanie Murray, USA, 27
Being fit, competitive, and a life long horsewoman the second she found the race she knew that she would have to complete it before she died, or die trying
Rose Sandler, USA, 32
She is taking hand made leather items and saddle from suffolk, USA on her riding experience.
Anita Aradottir, Iceland, 32
Loves riding horses and has been traitraining icelandic horses professionally since the age of 16.
Antoine Carle, France, 30ish
The closest experience to the derby that Antoine has done is a 5day trek through the Golden Triangle in Thailand with Legion Etrangere soldiers on vacation.
Note: One rider has chosen not to appear in race media.