Friday, August 13, 2010

Mongol Derby 1000km horse race underway now in Mongolia

14 riders in contention at halfway stage...

The Mongol Derby 1000km horse race across Mongolia thundered out onto the Steppe on Saturday 7th August and the dramatic horseback adventure has already seen rider injuries, withdrawals, extreme fatigue and intense competition for first place.

Now just over halfway into the race, the leading riders have travelled well over 500km and reached horse station 16 out of a total of 25 along the route. There are two groups of seven riders still racing, camped overnight just one horse station apart, so as they sleep only 40 kilometres separates the whole field after 5 days of racing. The race will restart at dawn in Mongolia.

Nearly all the riders are reported to be showing clear signs of the physical strain. Kat Swigart, from the USA, is sporting a "double egg" bump to the head and a black eye after taking a tumble on Sunday. In the company of two other riders who alerted our medical team and dispatched them to check up on her, she has bravely continued none the worse.

The medical response services are provided by the Derby's Official Medical Partner – Prometheus, who are well known for delivering emergency medical support in remote environments such as the Mongolian steppe.

South African Elsa Post and British rider Anna Bradbury have called time on their competitive bid for Derby glory and elected to be transferred further up the course, giving them the chance to rest, re-group and re-mount when they are ready while the pack thunders on.

Unfortunately another South African Rider Alexandra van Heeren sustained a broken collarbone during pre-race training and was forced to retire from the race.

The training was held on the steppe by Maggie Pattinson, Chef d'Equipe of the British Home International Endurance Team since 2007 and endurance expert extraordinnaire. She is now travelling along the route of the Derby in a response vehicle, and reported earlier today:

"The race hotting up now Richard Sophie and Alisa left 10 mins ahead of Justin, Madonna and Saskia this morning. All in good spirits despite wet conditions, having achieved 4 stations yesterday.

"If spirits high, bodies showing some wear and tear, even Madonna is tired. The Dark Horse is Richard, who looks no different morning, noon or night".

Maggie's dark horse is Richard Dyer, a British rider currently in the leading pack – one to watch.

Justin Nelzen, a former US marine is the only other man competing in the race and has been a favourite of many. He has stated his intentions are to win, but he'll have to overcome Richard, and the other 12 female riders to win the 2010 Derby.

The riders can all be tracked online via their GPS Spot trackers, visit the Tracking Page to see who is winning.

Each Rider is raising at least £1000 for the official charities, Mercy Corps and AVSF so that the Mongol Derby makes a genuinely positive impact over and above the benefits of the race itself.

The Mongol Derby is organised by The Adventurists in partnership with Tengri Group in Mongolia.

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