70yo Wins Grueling 1,000km Horse Race in Mongolia


August 23, 2019

The Mongol Derby, the longest multi-horse race in the world, according to Guinness World Records, was recently won by a 70 year old man. Bob Long, of Boise, Idaho, is the oldest person ever to win the race, which traverses a grueling 1,000 kilometer course across the steppes of Mongolia.

“Preparation trumps youth,” boasted Long, an amateur rider and retired chief technology officer from the healthcare industry, who beat out 43 competitors this year, riding, according to his own tally, about 100 hours in about seven and a half days, on 28 different horses.

“It took me about 15 minutes to decide that I could do that,” commented Long about his original determination to enter the competition after watching “All the Wild Horses,” a movie about the race. He grew up riding in the solitary landscape of Wyoming. “I had opportunity to give thanks for the blessings I was experiencing and to talk to God,” he said of his long hours in the saddle during the competition. He credits his victory to a months-long regimen of training with other previous winners for hours a day. “Preparation trumps youth,” he summarized.

Tom Morgan, established the annual competition in 2009, says that he spends months laying out the route. Conducting the race itself requires help from 300–400 families of Mongolian hunters and about 1,500 horses, which carry the contestants across a varied terrain – mountain passes, sweeping valleys, woodland hills, rivers, wetlands, and rolling steppes – featuring wide fluctuations in temperature. Each participant pays $13,700 to compete.

Since winning the race, Mr. Long has returned home to Idaho, and is working on figuring out a way to transport the horse that was awarded to him as a prize by a Mongolian herdsman.

(Source: The New York Times)


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