Media Alert: Official Derby Press Release!

Official Press Release Online

Please excuse the formatting (if you want nice formatting, click the above link).  I copied and pasted it from a PDF file and am too excited to change all the formatting.  Instead, I will take this extra energy to the gym and barn.  You understand right?



Friday 31st January
Largest field ever to take on Mongol Derby: the world’s longest
horse race
43 riders signed up to race 1000km across Mongolia on semiwild
The 6th edition of the Mongol Derby will be the largest since the world’s longest and toughest
horse race thundered across the steppe for the first time in 2009.
43 riders from 15 different countries will compete in the race that recreates Chinggis Khaan’s
ancient horse messenger system in epic fashion.
The hardy & semiwild
native horses of Mongolia reprise their traditional role as the legs and
lungs of the adventure and the horse stations, or morin urtuus, will be manned by nomadic
herding families as they traditionally were. The messengers themselves will be played by
horsemen and adventurers from around the world all riding up to 160kms a day, navigating
independently and changing horses at 40 kilometre intervals.
Featured Riders
This year’s riders are a diverse bunch. Former British jump jockey Chris Maude has ridden eight
Grand Nationals and is now a well known valet in the professional horse racing world. His
countryman and polo player Jamie Peel has represented England in the Gold Cup. Together they
could form a racing pair with formidable experience.
Another experienced equestrian in a very different field is Pieter van Pletzen, the only South
African entered this year. As a profession stunt rider, musician and rescue swimmer for a
helicopter rescue unit, he’s no slouch. He also lived in the wild for three years making and selling
drums so he won’t be fazed by the Mongolian wilderness and life on the steppe while racing.
Oxford University graduate and corporate lawyer Roisin McCourt from Ireland is one of 26 female
riders. After last year’s allfemale
domination of the leaderboard saw the top three finishers keep
the mens’ challenge at bay, the fact that 60% of the field is female suggests that 2013 winner
Lara PriorPalmer
may not remain the sole female winner of a Mongol Derby for much longer.
The youngest rider is the 21 year old female rider from New Zealander Courtney Davis. The
oldest in the field is male rider Per Michanek, a veterinarian from Sweden at 59 years old.
At 52 British rider Robert Skinner is a serious contender for the 2014 title given his impressive
background in the military and riding experience. He too won’t have any problems on the survival
front with knowledge gained as a Royal Marine and via numerous high altitude training courses.
He’s also a parachute instructor among other skills and talents there’s
certainly not a sense of
underachievement in this year’s Mongol Derby pack.
Professionally their backgrounds and day jobs are also diverse. The job titles of the riders
include Forest Ranger; Doctor; Teacher; Legal PA; Creative Director, Fashion Designer and
About the Mongol Derby horse race
Getting a place is not automatic, each rider undergoes a rigorous interview and has to provide
references to organisers The Adventurists to back up their own claims of equestrian hardiness,
survival skills and general adventurism.
Each rider also has to raise a minimum of £1000 for charity, including £500 for the official race
charity, Cool Earth. The annual event was launched in 2009 and the riders have raised over
£330,000 for charity.
Before the race itself riders also undergo three days of intensive prerace
training in Mongolia
and have to convince the trainers they’re suitable to start and ‘weighout’
at 85kg fully dressed.
The race typically takes between seven and ten days. The riders travel at least 100km every day
while the horses are swapped every 40km at a network of horsestations
(Morin Urtuu in
Mongolian). In 2014 around 1000 semiwild
Mongolian horses will be selected for the race. A
team of equine veterinarians make sure the horses’ welfare remains at the top of everyone’s
agenda and rigorous race rules include vet checks at the start and finish of each leg.
The logistics of the race are vast, with nomadic herding families and horsemen providing the
network of horsestations
and horses to make the 1000km race possible. 25 traditional Morin
Urtuus (horse stations) will be set up along the course and in addition to the obligatory swapping
of horses, riders also often eat and sleep with the Mongolian families in traditional Gers.
Full Rider List
1. Sabine Christen, Switzerland, 32
Successful amateur endurance rider and trains with fellow Swiss rider Bettina Steiner.
She’s raced in Switzerland, France and Italy.
2. Felix Schweizer, Switzerland, 34
Mechanic and business owner, Felix is as comfortable on a motorbike as he is on a
3. Sylvia Simonin, Switzerland, 34
Professional horse trainer and avid climber, outdoor enthusiast and world traveller.
4. Bettina Steiner, Switzerland, 47
CEO of a Telecoms company and trains horses. She’s ridden in Tanzania, Costa Rica,
Jordan and South Africa.
5. Mikael Eriksson, Sweden, 41
Forest Ranger who keeps a small farm in northern Sweden who also show jumps locally
and has ridden in Mongolian, Jordan, Botswana and Spain.
6. Musse Hasselvall, Sweden, 41
TV Presenter, MMA fighter and holds an amateur jockey’s licence. Relative newcomer to
riding but has taken part in amateur races over jumps in Sweden.
7. AnnTherese
Helgesson, Sweden, 41
Fashion Designer from Stockholm, has been training intensively for a year to take on the
8. Per Michanek, Sweden, 58
Veterinarian and race horse trainer and the oldest rider in the field. A highly skilled
9. Emile Colling, Luxembourg, 45
Doctor, Anesthetist and helicopter air rescue crew member in Luxembourg. A serious
athlete, he’s competed in three fencing world championships and the skibob world
championship in 1993.
10. Katja Joachim, Germany, 35
Management Consultant & surfer. She’s been dog sledding and worked race horses in
Saratoga, USA and Woodbine, Canada.
11. Alexander Piltz, Germany, 29
Polo player, a Captain in the German paratrooper reserves and airline chief.
12. Chris Berkers, The Netherlands, 22
History of Art student, ultra marathon runner and outdoors enthusiast.
13. Anna Christina De Jonquieres, Denmark, 21
A showjumper studying Agricultural Economics who could ride before she could walk.
14. Jessica Kwong, UK, 22
Working full time as a groom and rider. Born and raised in Hong Kong she’s ridden in
Mongolia and is taking part in the Tough Mudder as part of her Mongol Derby training.
15. Chris Maude, UK, 44
Retired National Hunt jockey, has ridden in 8 Grand Nationals, won the Becher Chase
and now works as a master valet.
16. Jamie Peel, UK, 32
Played in the British Open and Gold Cup for the England Polo team. Rides and hunts
with fellow rider Chris Maude.
17. Claudia Vicente, UK, 33
Veteran of the Mongol Rally overland adventure, she entered the first Mongol Derby in
2009 but couldn’t take part and is back to finish the job. Legal Secretary working in Dubai
and enjoys endurance riding in the desert.
18. Vikki Wojcik, UK, 31
PE Teacher soon to switch careers and set up a cherry orchard.
19. Robert Skinner, UK, 52
Won the Grand Military Chase last year, an impressive amateur jockey and also won the
Royal Wessex Yeomanry race ride 2012. A former Royal Marine who has served in
Bosnia and Afghanistan, Robert is also a parachute instructor and has completed
numerous mountain and high altitude training courses.
20. Robert Tugwell, UK, 23
An Army Officer training hard for the Mongol Derby.
21. Roisin McCourt, Ireland, 30
Oxford Classics graduate and corporate lawyer in the city of London. An extriathlete
rower she found her way to riding via polo. She’s training with Mongol Derby endurance
specialist and race course manager Maggie Pattinson.
22. Sarah Cuthbertson, Canada, 27
Executive Assistant from Ontario and a successful endurance rider. She writes, edits
and publishes Pulse magazine, Ontario’s competitive trail riders’ official publication.
23. Alison Wilson, Canada, 51
Highly experienced returning Mongol Derby veteran from the 2013 edition. She
represented Canada on the junior eventing team.
24. Courtney Davis, New Zealand, 20
Professional rider and horse trainer. She has show jumped up to 1.25 metres, competed
in eventing, dressage and rodeo. She musters cattle, rides trackwork on thoroughbreds
and backs her own horses.
25. Patrick Everingham, New Zealand, 24
He’s been riding professionally for 8 years, has worked for leading event rider Jonathan
Paget and brought on several event horses to international level. He also won a National
title at one star eventing level.
26. Michelle Ann Jarvis, New Zealand, 43
Veterinary Opthalmic Nurse from Auckland and very experienced lifelong rider who has
bred and started her own horse.
27. James Mitchell, Australia, 23
Professional horse breaker and part time farrier, he rides between 510
breakers and up
to five racehorses every day. He’s competed in rodeo and camp drafts.
28. Sam Jones, Australia, 40
She has evented at one star level, camp drafted at open level and been leading rider at
Landor Races. A highly experienced rider who grew up on a sheep farm and has started
her own horses since she was 14.
29. Brent Albuino, Australia, 30
Professional jockey, racehorse trainer and trackwork rider. He rides up to 10 horses
every day training them for flat racing.
30. Bonnie Hutton, USA, 28
Runs an equine charity rehabilitating exracehorses.
Has competed in eventing and
works daily with racehorses.
31. Madison Kauffman, USA, 27
A riding instructor, she also competes in showjumping and eventing and has started two
of her own horses. Also a fan of the wild outdoors having spent time in Alaska and
32. Krystal Kelly, USA, 24
Professional showjumper and trainer, she currently lives in India and rides six horses a
day. She has led trail riding camping trips in Bhutan and Romania.
33. Justin Fitzpatrick, USA, 31
COO of tech start up DueDil. He’s training with the Mongol Derby endurance specialist
and race course manager Maggie Pattinson. He’s aiming to raise £100k for his charity
Hope and Homes for Children.
34. Jessica Kipp, USA, 29
Public Relations Professional and former dressage instructor.
35. Mary Lee, USA, 38
Creative Director, Fashion Consultant, founder of internationally renowned blog Twisted
Lamb, to name just a few of her many achievements and professional accolades. She is
currently training polo ponies in Wellington, Florida to prepare for the Mongol Derby.
36. Adam Perlman, USA, 35
A Mongol Derby veteran from the 2013 edition, looking forward to another attempt at the
world’s toughest and longest horse race.
37. Heather Russell, USA, 34
Lifelong equestrian and outdoors enthusiast, she has ridden since she was eight years
old and competed in many disciplines including rodeos. She’s now focusing on
endurance riding.
38. Jade SevelowLee,
USA, 29
Professional horse trainer and instructor, fan of travelling the world and a surfer.
39. Lisa Youngwerth, USA, 48
Head Wrangler of the family ranch until recently, she’s ridden in Ecuador, Spain and
Costa Rica. She also leads adventurous riding trips, owns a mountain equipment store,
part owns a rock climbing gym and her kids are world ranked rock climbers.
40. Katherine Bechtel, USA, 28
Construction Engineer, has been riding since she was six years old and competing in
show jumping for 20 years a
very experienced equestrian.
41. Amy WallaceWhelan,
USA, 50
Farm Manager, she holds a degree in Equine Science from Colorado State University
and has 10,000 miles of endurance riding under her belt including a World Championship
and 25 100mile
races. She’s also a past President of the American Endurance Ride
Conference (AERC), the governing body of Endurance Riding in USA.
42. Pieter van Pletzen, South Africa, 39
Performer, musician and stunt rider. He also runs stunt riding workshops, has performed
with the Russian Cossack Stunt Academy, ridden on movie sets and worked as a rescue
swimmer for the helicopter rescue unit in South Africa.
43. Loden Burton, USA, 34
Notes to Editors
Interviews with the riders and organisers are available. High resolution images can be provided,
please contact us for details.
The Adventurists Press Office
Dan Wedgwood /0117 364 3402 / media@theadventurists.com
The Mongol Derby is organised by the UK based purveyors of adventure – The Adventurists, who
are fighting to make the world less boring and save a bit of it as well.
Find out more at
The official charity of the Mongol Derby is Cool Earth, find out more at


1 thought on “Media Alert: Official Derby Press Release!”

  1. Today, I went to the beach front with my children.
    I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and
    screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched
    her ear. She never wants to go back! LoL I know
    this is entirely off topic but I had to tell someone!


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