CornellSun.com - Full Article
October 19 2018
By Callie McQuilkin and Hnin Ei Wai Lwin
When asked what her goals were for next summer, when Cornell employee Kelsey Eliot will spend 10 days racing across mountains, rivers and rough terrain on the back of a semi-wild horse in the 600-mile Mongol Derby, her reply was simple: “To live.”
Eliot, a program assistant in the Department of City and Regional Planning, is one of 40 applicants selected from a pool of hundreds for the competition, which pits riders against each other, the elements and the very horses they’re riding.
“Mongolia horses are jackhammers. I’m trying to build my leg strength so I can withstand that,” Eliot told The Sun.
“It’s scary because a lot of [the horses] probably want to kill me,” she continued.
As they navigate the rugged Mongolian terrain — riddled with marmot holes and crisscrossed with rivers — competitors are likely to slip off their horses, which are often already skittish from the unfamiliar riders.
As a 2014 National Geographic article reported, about 50 percent of racers each year are not expected to cross the finish line, due to dysentery, broken bones and other complications...
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