PHOTOGRAPH BY CHARLES VAN WYK, THE ADVENTURISTS News.Nationalgeographic.com - Full Article
Ashleigh N. DeLuca
PUBLISHED AUGUST 6, 2014
Before most of the world woke up this morning, 47 riders from around the globe had saddled half-wild horses and set out on what the Guinness Book of World Records has called the longest equestrian race on Earth.
The goal—beyond not getting seriously injured—is to ride a 621-mile circuit (1,000 kilometers) of Mongolian steppe in less than ten days.
Fewer than half of the riders are expected to make it across the finish line. The rest will either quit or be carried off the course by the medical team. Broken bones and torn ligaments are common, frustration and bruised egos the norm. Every rider will fall off multiple times during the course of the race, says Katy Willings, the race chief and a former Mongol Derby competitor.
The race route is modeled on the horse relay postal system created under Genghis Khan in 1224, which was instrumental in the expansion of the Mongolian Empire. Guided by a local escort, specially appointed postal riders would gallop more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) to a morin urtuu, or horse relay station, where another escort would be waiting with a fresh horse...
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