World’s Toughest Horse Race Retraces Genghis Khan Route
By Ashleigh N. DeLuca, National Geographic // August 17, 2014
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC: Riders Attempt To Stay Atop Half-Wild Mongol Horses For Over 600 Miles
On August 6, before most of the world woke up, 47 riders from around the globe had saddled half-wild horses and set out on what the Guinness Book of World Records has called the longest equestrian race on Earth.
The goal—beyond not getting seriously injured—is to ride a 621-mile (1,000-km) circuit of Mongolian steppe in less than ten days.
The race route is modeled on the horse relay postal system created under Genghis Khan in 1224, which was instrumental in the expansion of the Mongolian Empire.
Guided by a local escort, specially appointed postal riders would gallop more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) to a morin urtuu, or horse relay station, where another escort would be waiting with a fresh horse.