Nancy O’Neill, of Kelowna, B.C., had been waiting years to participate in the Mongol Derby, which is considered the longest and toughest horse race in the world.
She was selected for the race in 2019, but her 2020 spot was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This summer, she finally got to make the journey, along with her daughter whom she hadn’t spent much time with since the start of the pandemic.
About 1,500 horses were involved in the race, with riders switching them out every 36 kilometres. They had to ask herders for a particular kind of horse through sign language and interpreters — humble horses, fast horses, gentle ones — to suit the next leg of the ride. In total, everyone rides about 30 horses each.
O’Neill, 59, said the race got off to a smooth start; typically, most crashes and falls happen in the beginning, but her crew managed to stay upright. She ended up having an asthma attack and required medical assistance.
It cost her and her daughter USD 30,000 apiece.