Mongol Derby 2016 - The Winners Interview, Heidi Telstad

For the first time in Derby history, we have three Mongol Derby winners. William Comiskey, Heidi Telstad and Marcia Hefker-Miles crossed the finish line hand in hand at 9.48am. All three of them will share the Derby title and we will have to source another two trophies. We spoke to Heidi at the finish camp. 

 

The three winners at the finish line, William Comiskey, Heidi Telstad and Marcia Hefker-Miles with event manager Unenburen. 

 Congratulations Heidi. You've won the Derby. What's your first thought? 

It seems kind of unbelievable, it seems like a dream. It was so much fun, such awesome horses. 

When I first came out to the Steppe my confidence was shot. My horse at home kept bucking me off, I kept thinking - how am I going to handle the semi-wild horses? During training I was shaking nervous, we had such good horses, such a good training ride, I got the confidence back. 

They were hard to saddle though! I couldn't saddle any of them by myself, I needed the herder's help.

During training I was shaking I was so nervous. But we had such good horses, such a good training ride, I got my confidence back.
— Heidi Telstad

A three way tie. That's a first for the Derby. How did that come about? 

Even the night before, we weren’t sure what to do.  We were racing! Marcia would always take off before Will and I, we were a bit slower in the Urtuus, but we’d always catch up. 

The night before, we thought you know what, lets just see how we all do. This morning, it was really funny, we were racing, but none of us were getting ahead and then we didn’t want to run the horses too hard. It feels really good to have crossed the line with two great friends.

You sound rather chipper for someone who's just spent all day, every day on horseback. Could you do another 1000kms?

I think I could! I’m surprised I'm not sore. My legs aren’t sore, my back isn’t sore. As other people were getting tired, I started to get more excited as it went through and it kept me going.

How will you celebrate?

The first thing I did was take a shower. I have long hair, and it took me about an hour to get a brush through my hair. It was so matted and gnarly.

Heidi Telstad leaving Urtuu 17 on Day 5

And for your next adventure? 

I've been speaking with the other winners, we’d like to do a horse trek across the intercontinental divide, in America. We formed such a great friendship, so of course we should plan more trips.

 

It feels really good to have crossed the line with two great friends.
— Heidi

The Mongol Derby Course is open 4th-14th August 2016
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