Redvers 'exhilarated' after completing gruelling contest
Emotionally drained but exhilarated was the verdict of Qatar Racing's David Redvers yesterday as he completed the 1,000km Mongol Derby in joint seventh.
Eight days after setting out across the beautiful but brutal terrain of Mongolia in the race dubbed the "toughest and longest" in the world, Redvers crossed the line arm-in-arm with fellow British riders Alice Newling and Alexandra Hardham and Australian bush doctor Shannon Nott.
"I can honestly say it's the most amazing experience of my life," said Redvers, who completed the course in eight days at 4.50pm local time, partnering at least 27 different horses along the way.
He added: "The scenery is beyond anything I can imagine and my riding companions were the best fun, but the ponies are the most incredible animals on the planet. To ride a Mongolian pony flat out for 15km here is the closest you get to flying. I am completely and totally emotionally drained but at the same time exhilarated by the experience."
The race, which recreates the world's first long-distance postal transmission system, which Genghis Khan set up in 1224, sees riders changing horse at least every 40km and living with herders and campers in the wild along the way.
Redvers was in the saddle for up to 13 hours a day, under conditions that this year were described as particularly bad, ranging from extreme heat to torrential rain.
Redvers was among a team of four from Qatar Racing to take up the challenge, although boss Sheikh Fahad Al Thani and the organisation's international representative Kevin Darley were forced to retire before the end.
Irish representative Peter Molony was within sight of the finish yesterday and is expected to complete today.
Australian cattle rancher William Comiskey, Canadian lawyer Heidi Telstad and New Mexican cowgirl Marcia Hefker-Miles were the first to complete the gruelling challenge at 9.51am local time yesterday, sharing top honours as they crossed the line in unison.