Guinness World Record - The Mongol Derby is officially the 'Longest Horse Race In The World'
'The longest horse race in the world is 833.2 km achieved by 'The Mongol Derby' in Binder, Mongolia on 17th August 2010'
At last. We have our first World Record... and a mighty fine record it is too. Hanging proudly in Adventurists HQ, against a paisley wallpapered backdrop, we now have a splendid certificate. This certificate is officially stamped by the chaps over at Guinness World Records and names the Mongol Derby as the longest horse race in the world.
The Mongol Derby really is the mother of equine adventures, a near 1,000 km multi-horse race across the epic wilderness of the Mongolian steppe. Each year around 1,000 semi-wild Mongolian horses are trained for 20 or so riders. Each rider tackling the adventure, changes steeds every 40 km as Chinggis Khaan's messengers once did. So while the horses only ride one section, the riders feel the full force of 10 days of saddle pounding and living in the wilderness.
Confirming this record was no mean feat. In fact, as well as being the longest horse race, we should probably also go for the 'longest time to confirm a world record'... record. Mongol Derby Chief, Katy, explains:
Diary of a Record Achievement
May 2009: The Adventurists Department of New Adventure Development concocts their latest caper, the as yet never attempted Mongol Derby, and it is very long indeed. They actually can't think of a longer horse race. In the world. The idea of Guinness World Record, just to make sure, is born. Guinness send the Derby team some exhaustive criteria to fulfil.
August 2009: The Derby happens. Riders really do ride a very long way, some 930 kms to be exact. However, in the bacchanalian celebrations at the finish line, the paperwork is not collated. Beards are scratched, and resolutions made to go for the record in 2010, paperwork and all.
August 2010: The second Derby happens. This time we develop lots of fancy forms for race staff to fill in with the riders being logged all the way round. Riders wear advanced satellite trackers throughout the race. This in itself would not qualify us for the title of World's Longest Horse Race. So, to prove that the trackers went with riders, mounted on horses, we also signed each and every rider in and out of each and every horse station. In addition, to show that each and every horse was used just once during the Derby, the horses were catalogued with their owners and identified by our terrific vet teams. Data was literally flying around the steppe. As the dust settled on Mongol Derby 2010, race chief Ants scurried about collecting every scrap.
September - October 2010: Derby Vice-Chief Katy compiled our official Record Attempt, a shoe-box full of paperwork, photo evidence, and a spivvy spreadsheet detailing the exact locations of all 25 horse stations, plus the times and dates of every rider's arrival, and the exact distance between them, as calculated by the spherical law of cosines. By showing that every rider visited every horse station, on a different horse, in sequence, the attempt was ready.
October 2010 - April 2011: We imagined the team at Guinness poring over all that data, marvelling at its coherence and the audacity of the attempt. They must be thorough... hope the data stands up to this scrutiny.
April 2011: Now Derby Chief, Katy receives an e-mail from Guinness to say that they lost all our data, bugger. Beards are scratched. Doors are kicked. Data is duplicated and resubmitted.
June 2011: Phone call from Guinness' very own "Head of Records Involving Animals" (what an image that conjures). "This is the single most awesome adventure involving animals I have ever seen. If you can send me the photos, and one more spreadsheet, I do believe the record is yours." Googling of other world records involving animals (see a couple below), and hasty submission of additional data ensues.
July 2011: We are officially the Longest Horse Race in the World, a record set by the Mongol Derby 2010 riders on their epic ride from Kharkhorin to Binder, August 7-17th 2010.
Largest exhibit of two-headed animals. USA, Natch. St Louis, September 2006
Highest jump by a guinea pig. Held by Puckel Martin, a guinea pig from Sweden. March 16th 2003
Mongol Derby 2011
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