On Wednesday, Sophie Wilford, a Belgian-French vet, will set off on this year’s Mongol Derby, the longest horse race in the world, 10 days and 1,000 kilometres through the Mongolian steppe. At 10:00 am local time (3:00 am CET), 38 riders will set off for Erdenesant, 200 kilometres west of Ulan Bator. The race comprises 25 sections, each 40 km long, and the riders will be travelling on a different “semi-wild” Mongol horse for each of these stages.
“There is scope for a lot of different potential injuries because this is a very dangerous race, not to be undertaken on a whim,” said Sophie Wilford in a press release. Sophie has teamed up with Sian, a 34-year-old English paramedic, forming the “Steppe Sisters”. The two met in 2014 when they were both part of the Derby ground-team.
The horse race is in the Guinness Book of Records as the longest in the world and aims o raise funds for various NPOs. Sophie WIlford has entered the race in aid of “Agronomes et Vétérinaires Sans Frontières” (AVSF – Agronomists and Vets Without Borders), a French NGO which supports peasant farming in 20 countries worldwide.
The race is modelled on the postal route established by Mongolian ruler Genghis Khan and is being broadcast live on the internet until the expected finish date in Hatgal (northern Mongolia) on August 16th.