Written by Prometheus Medic James Hubbard on 13th August
For Medic 1 today started like so many others with an early wake up, a less than appealing breakfast and the morning routine of turning on trackers and packing the vehicle ready to roll for when the riders set off.
This morning, however, things were a little simpler from a logistics point of view as all remaining riders were setting off from Urtuu 24, the last stop before the finish! After some horse tack related dramas, the riders set off in glorious sunshine for the finish line.
Meanwhile, at the finish camp Medic 2, my vehicle had the additional cargo of the official Derby photographer Richard Dunwoody, displaced from his own transport due to a flat tyre. As the new dual purpose medic/photographer wagon, we set off to find the final group of riders for a photo opportunity, at the same time retaining our capability to respond to a last minute call for help. After some action shots along the route we headed back to the finish line to cheer them past the flags.
Anyone with experience or an interest in expedition medicine will know that the final hurdle of a long trip can often be the most dangerous. Participants, supporters and even crew begin to relax, perhaps take a few more risks, and it is at this point that incidents are likely to occur – you can imagine the sense of relief shared by the three of us today when all riders crossed the line without serious injury (just about!).
After the final riders horses were checked and given the all clear by the vets, the riders sipped the customary airag passed to them by Katy, the Mongol Derby Chief, before comparing notes with earlier finishers and, of course, shedding a tear or two.
This afternoon was a time for relaxation and leisure with a mixture of walking, talking, camel rides and, believe it or not, more horse riding! The steady stream of minor complaints, aches and pains has kept us busy along with some of the admin tasks essential to the smooth running of the final days of the derby.
There is a definite sense of relief amongst both crew and riders as most enjoy a well-earned drink this evening – the Mongol Derby 2013 race is over and all have returned safely.