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The Mongol Derby

Event date: August 5–17, 2018

Country: Mongolia

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Photos by The Adventurists

Mongol Derby competitors on horseback skirt the edge of bush covered hills in Mongolia.

It’s referred to as the world’s toughest horse race, and every year it delivers on this exact promise. The Mongol Derby sees around 40 competitors test their physical and mental limits on the backs of semi-wild horses in Mongolia. It’s hosted by off-beat travel company The Adventurists, who are fighting to make the world less boring, one adrenaline-filled race at a time. The 1000 kilometre course recreates Genghiz Khan’s legendary postal system of the 1200s, with riders changing horses every 40 kilometres.

Survival skills, excellent horsemanship are obligatory and an extra layer of determination, not to mention luck, is required if a rider is hell bent on winning. Just completing the derby is a feat in itself, with a 50 per cent dropout rate. Danger aside, entrants forge incredible bonds with their fellow riders, stay with local herders along the way, gain a genuine sense of the Mongol culture, and raise money for a charity of their choice.

And the reason for all this calamity, risk and mental strain? “Getting lost and in trouble is no longer an occupational hazard of walking to the market. It is an art-form. One we strive to perfect. We live to find ways to make the world a bit more difficult. To bring chaos into our over-sanitised lives. To create adventures where you don’t know what will happen tomorrow or if you’ll even make it. Because we think there’s no greater moment than those seconds when you leap into an abyss of uncertainty and disaster.” – The Adventurists


  • The Mongol horse can go from being mind-numbingly slow to eye-wateringly fast. They are also impossibly stubborn. – Those entering must have excellent horsemanship and be fit enough to coax every stride out of the horses in extreme heat.
  • While being fed in by local herder families in the evenings, special dietary requirements are not catered for.
  • GPS will become the most valuable ally.
  • This is no guided tour, or pony trek. There is no marked course, no packed lunches, no shower block, no stabling. That’s the whole point.

Visit The Adventurists.

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Event & Wedding Photography - Hochzeitsfotografie Saskia Marloh
Event & Wedding Photography - Hochzeitsfotografie Saskia Marloh
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Event & Wedding Photography - Hochzeitsfotografie Saskia Marloh
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