From Manhattan to Mongolia – How Kelsey Eliot is preparing for the 2019 Mongol Derby

My name is Kelsey Eliot, and I will be riding in the 2019 Mongol Derby, a 1,000 km horse race across Mongolia on the back of feral horses. There is no marked trail, no comfy camp, and no support. It’s just you, your horse, and the endless steppes of Mongolia.

When I submitted my application in August 2018, I thought there was no way I would ever hear back from the race organisers. Two weeks later I was proven very wrong, when they contacted me and told me they actually wanted me to come and ride this thing! First I felt elated. They think I have what it takes to do this! Then I felt terrified. What was I thinking? How am I going to conquer this? How do I prepare for what will likely be the most wild ride of my life?

It was time to hit the ground running—literally. The day I got the call that I was in, I downloaded the couch to 5k app and started running. I quit drinking coffee, mostly to save my wallet but also to stop my caffeine dependency. I didn’t want to have a caffeine crash out in the middle of Mongolia. I also hired a personal trainer and purchased a three-month personalized workout program. Getting as fit as possible was my number one priority to start with; now that we are less than six months from the race, saddle time is my number one priority!

Is the Mongol Derby something you might be up for? Learn more here.