In the Mongol Derby, named the longest horse race in the world by the “Guinness Book of World Records,” competitors ride semi-wild horses through the unfamiliar Mongolian wilderness. According to the Adventurists, the U.K.-based company that organizes the race, the “exact course changes each year and is kept secret until shortly before the launch.”
During the race, participants navigate to horse stations every 25 miles, battle the elements, sleep in yurts, all while riding about 30 unpredictable horses in less than 10 days.
This year’s race kicked off on Aug. 4 and includes native Austinite Courtney Kizer, 29, who has been riding horses since she was 6 years old. Before she left, Kizer sought advice from everyone from ultramarathon runners to former derby participants. “They’ve all been telling me that there’s this huge emotional roller coaster that goes with doing something like this,” she says. “And it’s just about holding on and knowing that there will be crying.”