Basically When and Where

Here are some dates for your diary.  

You'll be away just over 2 working weeks. You'll need to be in UB for the morning of Monday 1st August 2016. You'll be back in UB by the afternoon, Monday 15th August 2016.

These dates and details are provisional. We'll let you know if they change.


Monday 1st August: Pre-Race Training Day 1

A classroom day to cover technical training and race protocols.  
Provisional location is Ramada Hotel, Peace Avenue, Ulaanbaatar.

  • A course briefing
  • A veterinary briefing
  • A medical briefing
  • SPOT tracker operation and summoning help
  • The rules and protocols
  • Weigh out of riders at 85kgs or less, fully dressed to ride

We will meet for an lovely informal dinner in the evening.


Tuesday 2nd August: Mongolian Horsemanship. These horses can be tricky buggers.

After a transfer to the start line first thing.  Riders bring a single hand-luggage sized bag in addition to their race gear. This luggage bag must be clearly labelled with your name and will be transferred from the start to the finish by the race crew.  All other luggage must be left in your hotel's storage.  

Once at the start camp, horsemanship training begins.

  • Approach, handling, mounting and riding the horses
  • Discussing your horse's recovery and effort levels with our vets
  • Packing your gear - ongoing masterclass with our Pre-Race Trainers

Wednesday 3rd August: Practise Ride

Last day of horsemanship training and access to our brilliant pre-race trainers, Charles and Maggie, before the off. This will be your last chance to get navigation advice, kit advice, riding advice, whatever you need.  And then we'll have a party so you can get hammered and forget it all.

  • Navigation ride, in full kit.  This is your dress rehearsal, handling not just a horse but all your gubbins, AND the directions.  We'll pick out a GPS point 5-8kms from the camp and you'll have to navigate there and back.
  • Final kit checks. Probably ditching a bunch of stuff you thought you needed. 
  • The launch party - a feast for the senses, with Mongolian children racing their finest horses, dancers, musicians, acrobats, fire, mutton, vodka, mutton, singing, horses, mutton etc

Thursday 4th August: The Launch

The Mongol Derby 2016 will begin in a cloud of dust and a thunder of hooves so mighty, so stirring and so dramatic that smelling salts will be wafted and gussets mopped among competitors and spectators alike.

There will be a final am weigh out of your 5kgs kit allowance. The Derby will launch by 10am.


Sunday 14th August: The final party

The final day's racing. As soon as the last riders are over the line and have had a cuppa, we will commence festivities.  Highly likely to involve fire, mutton, singing, dancing, archers, wrestlers...and vodka. 

We've got no illustrating pictures of this part. You'll thank us when it's your turn. 


Monday 15th August: Return to UB

Transfer back to UB.  All riders back to the city and probably free to travel home by 6pm Monday 15th August.  However, Mongolian transfers being what they are, you would be are well advised not to book onward travel for that evening. If you absolutely must get home early this can be arranged but you will need to pay for your own transfer and you might miss the party to end all parties. 


Pre-Pre-Race Training Training - Mailouts

Your hearts will be a-fluttering even more than those flags

Because this is about the most ambitious adventure ever conceived, there is quite a lot of stuff to get your head around. We will be sending a series of regular mailouts to the riders covering off various elements of preparation, both physical, mental, administrative and logistical. 

If there is something you want to ask about:  

  • Katy Willings has been Derby Chief for five cracking years. As well as watching scores of riders endure all kinds of salty situations, she is a Pioneer Derby veteran herself. She can be reached at
  • You can also contact our Pre-Race Trainer Maggie Pattinson.
    Maggie has prepared some 200 riders for Derbies past and present and dispenses Derby common sense like a common sense vending machine. Catch her here: