This Thursday, August the 2nd, I will be flying out to Mongolia to fulfill my dream of completing the Mongol Derby, a 1000 km (621 miles) multi-horse race across the Mongolian Steppe.
The race follows the tradition of Chinggis Khaan’s postal system, which he used to control the largest land empire ever to have existed, in the 12th century.
The starting gun will fire on the 8th of August and the last riders must finish the by the 17th so 10 days in total.
I will be one of 43 riders from all over the globe to compete this year – 18 men and 25 women ranging in age from 18 to 70, and just about as diverse as you can imagine.
We will only be successful with the help of the local team of medics, vets, organizers and, most of all, the local herders and their families. I will rely on them for horses, food, water and lots and lots of help. So hopefully I will make friends quickly.
This is an adventure in its truest form and I cannot express how excited I am to take part.
Training while on safari, Motsweri Camp, Botswana
An event like this involves a huge amount of logistics and organization, as well as over 1200 semi-wild ponies. My participation would not have been possible without the very generous support of a few good friends back home, who think this idea is exactly the sort of crazy, exciting and slightly stupid thing that they like to support. So thank you.
In addition to this, I am raising money for a local children’s shelter back home in Maun. Please continue to help by contributing to help us build a new playground and vegetable garden for 31 orphans, ranging from 2-5 years old. Just drop me a line and I can explain more.
You can also find out some more info about The Shelter Botswana on their Facebook page (click on the blue link to visit the page).
I have been able to speak with many of you about this over the last year or so, but for some this may be the first you have heard of it. Many have asked how they can get info on the race as I go, and track me along the way. Mainly to see when I fall off or how far behind I get, I am sure. Nonetheless, you will be able to see a small dot crossing the steppe and get info in a variety of ways:
The radio show “Horses in the Morning” will be posting a daily podcast with all of the updates at 8pm EST.
And if that wasn’t enough, for all you birders, there is apparently something called Twitter.
Please send comments, and hopefully a little encouragement. Knowing that everyone back home is watching will, I am sure, give me that little kick when I need it and help to sooth sore muscles.
I look forward to chatting with you again with lots of tales to tell.
My warmest regards,