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Mongol Derby Rider Handbook Contents
The Mongol Derby.................................................................................................. 3 Welcome............................................................................................................ 3 Rules................................................................................................................. 4 The Horse Welfare Rule.......................................................................... 4 The “On Your Own” Rule......................................................................... 4 The Charity Money Rule.......................................................................... 4 The Do Not Neglect A Rider in a Pickle Rule........................................... 4 The Rest of the Mongol Derby Rules....................................................... 4 Deposit.............................................................................................................. 4 Equipment......................................................................................................... 5 Horse Welfare.................................................................................................... 5 The Penalty System and Disqualification........................................................... 6 Veterinary Control and Procedure...................................................................... 7 Other Horse Protocols....................................................................................... 8 Rider Record Cards........................................................................................... 8 Weight Limits..................................................................................................... 8 Navigation.......................................................................................................... 9 Rider Speed and Ensuring Back-up................................................................... 9 Behaviour Towards the Mongolian people....................................................... 10 Emergency Situations...................................................................................... 10 Riding Hours.................................................................................................... 10 The Winning Rider........................................................................................... 11 Placings................................................................................................. 11 Friends and Relatives...................................................................................... 11 Pre-race Training Assessment......................................................................... 11 Money Gubbins................................................................................................ 11 Pre Race Meetings and Adventurists Gathersomes........................................13 Afternoon Teas...................................................................................... 13 Surviving Adventure Course with Prometheus Medical.........................13 Hazara's, Ulaanbaatar, Outer Mongolia................................................. 13 Pre Race Training with Maggie Pattinson........................................................ 15 Finishing the Mongol Derby............................................................................. 17 Mongol Derby Finish Party.................................................................... 17 Getting back to Ulaanbaatar from the Finish Line.................................. 17 The Horse Stations (Morin Urtuus).................................................................. 19 What happens at the urtuus?................................................................. 19 Who will you find at the urtuus?............................................................. 20 What happens if you want to stay between urtuus?..............................20 Beware of the Dogs............................................................................... 20 The Horses...................................................................................................... 22 Choosing your steed.............................................................................. 22 Untacking and tacking your steed.......................................................... 22 Being responsible for the horse you choose.......................................... 22 Technology on the Steppe............................................................................... 24 How to use the Spot Messenger Satellite Tracker................................. 24 Your handheld GPS Units...................................................................... 25 Vetinary Support.............................................................................................. 26 Pre-race vet checks............................................................................... 26 Urtuu vet checks during the Mongol Derby............................................ 26 Emergency vetting during the Mongol Derby......................................... 26 Post-race veterinary care....................................................................... 27 Environment and Etiquette.............................................................................. 28 Ger Etiquette.................................................................................................... 30 Medical Back-up by Prometheus..................................................................... 32 Pre-Race Fitness............................................................................................. 33 Hygeine, Health and Nutrition.......................................................................... 34 Vaccinations.......................................................................................... 34 Travel Insurance.............................................................................................. 35 Personal Gubbins............................................................................................ 36 Team Website.................................................................................................. 38 Route............................................................................................................... 39 Historical Background............................................................................ 39 The Course............................................................................................ 39 Tracking the Route and GPS................................................................. 40 Water on the Course.............................................................................. 40 Filming your Escapades.................................................................................. 41 THE WARNING............................................................................................... 42 Charity.................................................................................................................. 43 How charity works?.......................................................................................... 43 Official Charity................................................................................................. 43 Fundraising...................................................................................................... 47 Sponsorship..................................................................................................... 51 Visas & Paperwork................................................................................................ 55 Visa Machine................................................................................................... 55 Travel Insurance.............................................................................................. 55 The Adventurists................................................................................................... 57 Social Media Links........................................................................................... 57 Contact Us....................................................................................................... 57

The Mongol Derby
Congratulations on getting a coveted place and welcome to the third edition of the Mongol Derby, the longest, toughest horse race ever ridden. This handbook is intended to give you both a thorough insight into exactly what you are about to undertake, as well as, hopefully, some useful information about the Mongol Derby 2011 and Mongolia as a whole. So read on at your leisure and discover the adventuring dangers and delights in store. We can't emphasise enough how important your preparations will be for this event, both in terms of your own enjoyment (and possibly ability to walk again afterwards) but also in terms of raising wads of cash for our charities. This handbook offers a lot of guidance, but we aren't in the business of spoonfeeding folks and there are contingencies you need to cover off on your tod- just like in the Derby proper....the Mongol Derby is truly an adventure and not a relaxing holiday! It is certainly no simple undertaking. The route you take between each Urtuu is up to you and, unless you find yourself in an emergency situation, you will have no backup along the way. Exactly what an adventure should be all about. As well as all this adventure, the Mongol Derby is going to raise an absolutely massive amount of money for charity. To date the Mongol Derby has raised over £100,000. We at Adventurists’ Towers think it’s important that you don’t just give your money to a bottomless pit called “charity”. We think you should know how that money is spent and how it changes people’s lives. This handbook gives you an introduction to the charitable projects your donors’ money is going to, and tells you how you can find out more. After the Mongol Derby has come to and end, we will liaise with the official charity to send you updates on the projects that receive funding through the Mongol Derby. If you have any questions, please drop us an email at, give us a call on +44 (0) 117 3209 0884 or corner us at an Adventurists Afternoon Tea if you can make it along to one. Tally Ho, The Adventurists

Because the Mongol Derby is an event which utilises around 1000 lovely Mongolian horses, and takes place across 1000 km of beautiful Mongolian steppe, we do have to impose the odd rule to make sure everything goes smoothly. These rules should not interfere with your enjoyment of the event in any way, and they are ultimately designed with the horses' welfare and your safety in mind. There are four basic rules to the Mongol Derby, and they are as follows.

The Horse Welfare Rule
At all stages during the Event welfare of the horses must take precedence over all other demands. You and your horses are in this adventure together, and you must respect and care for each horse you ride at all times.

The “On Your Own” Rule
While riding the Mongol Derby, you are entirely responsible for yourself. Though you are required to change your horse at each Morin Urtuu (horse station), you are wholly responsible for getting yourself and your trusty steed to each Urtuu. You will not be accompanied, there will be no guide and there will be no back up or support team to help you should you become unstuck. Though there will be doctors and vets within a certain proximity of you and your fellow riders, they will only appear should you face a medical or veterinary emergency. Even then, they may not be able to get to you quickly.

The Charity Money Rule
You need to raise a minimum of £1000 per for charity, with at least £500 going to the official Mongol Derby charity, Mercy Corps. Donations need to be raised online via, or another online fundraising system approved by us here at Adventurists’ Towers. Your fundraising profile must be linked to from your rider page. All this is so that we and the charity can see exactly how well you’re doing – and we have no doubt that you’ll do well. Above and beyond the £500 you can raise money for a registered charity of your choice.

The Do Not Neglect A Rider in a Pickle Rule
Because we rather like the idea that you chaps are, in the first place, on an adventure together and secondarily on a race against one another, we have introduced this rule. A similar rule pops up in other dangerous racing events such as sailing races and is there to ensure that when you see a fellow adventurer down, you don’t just trot over them, but tie up your steed and give them a hand. This becomes especially important in the wilderness of the steppe, where it may be the case that even minor injuries become of life threatening proportions. Anyone found ignoring this rule will be penalised.

The Rest of the Mongol Derby Rules
Alongside these four basic rules there are a host of other rules covering every aspect of the event, from vetting procedures to weight limits and horse selection. Please read all of these rules carefully and be abide by them throughout the event.


We ask for a $700 deposit on top of your entry fee in order to try and ensure that the horses, the tracking devices and the saddles are looked after by you. We’ll be in touch to remind you about this deposit, which will be due just before the race starts. To make sure you get this back, you need to make sure you. Look after your horse to the best of your ability – hop off if it appears to be injured, make sure it has plenty to drink and above all deliver it to the next Urtuu responsibly and safely. Take care of the SPOT tracking device - don’t drop it in a pot of boiling offal, don’t gallop over it, don’t throw it away even in the case you feel an overwhelming spiritual desire to be at one with the steppe without the burden of modern technology. Make sure you return your saddle, bridle, girth and numner in reasonable condition – don’t sell it to a passing horseman, don’t cut it up into little pieces and use it as substitute leather flavoured chewing-gum, don’t set it on fire because you didn’t like the idea of burning dried poo. Please give this deposit to us in cash in Ulaanbaatar in advance of the race. We will then return it, again in cash, as soon as the race is over and if you have not lost or broken anything.

Protective headgear, of a recognised equestrian / endurance standard and adequately secured, is compulsory for all riders taking part. Riders must either wear safe riding footwear with heels of 12mm or more, or alternatively have caged / boxed stirrups. Every rider must have a supply of water on their person at all times so that in the case of being separated from their horse they are not at risk of dehydration. This could be in a Camelbak or a waist pouch with bottles. How much water they carry in their Camelbak is their choice. Riders are welcome to have a platypus on your saddle but this must not be their only water source- you MUST have some on your person in case of a separation from your horse. Whips and spurs are prohibited Riders must be responsible for returning all equipment belonging to the Mongol Derby to the organisers at the end of the Event. This includes the saddle, bridle, bit, reins, girth, numnah and Satellite tracker. Riders must be responsible for the maintenance of their tack during the race. At the end of every day they must clean their girth and make sure their tack is in a suitable state to be used on the next horse. Not cleaning the girth, and allowing a build up of sweat and dirt, can cause discomfort and possible girth galls for the horses. Cloths and buckets will be available at the urtuus for cleaning girths.

Horse Welfare
Any act or series of actions which, in the opinion of the organisers can be clearly defined as cruelty or abuse, shall be penalised by disqualification. Reports of such actions must be accompanied wherever possible by the signatures and addresses of witnesses of the actions. Drinking alcohol whilst riding is forbidden. Any riders who are visibly inebriated will incur a penalty.

Riders may lead their horses during the Event. Once a rider has selected a horse at an urtuu, no other person may ride that horse. The rider is solely responsible for that horse until it has completed that stage and passed the veterinary inspection at the end of that stage. Any rider who allows another rider - including the horses' owner - to lead or ride their horse, will be penalised. Riders who have been categorised as 'Bigger' riders must always choose the Bigger horses at each urtuu. These horses will be at one end of the line and have a B marked alongside their number. Riders who are visibly exhausted and in the opinion of the vets pose a risk to the welfare of their horses may be held at the urtuu on the authority of the vet or the urtuu manager, or any member of the organising team who have observed them on course.

The Penalty System and Disqualification
Urtuu managers and event staff will enforce these penalties. Veterinary penalty - for presenting a horse which in the vets' opinion shows signs of poor or negligent riding- 2 hourtime penalty, to be sat out at the urtuu. Where a penalty is awarded at the end of the day it will be served the following morning. Riding in the dark penalty- riding hours are between 6am and 8pm- 1 hour time penalty for anyone who rides outside these hours. To be served either the following morning in the case of riders coming to an urtuu, mounted, after 8pm, or at the next urtuu as soon as Derby HQ has identified from SPOT data that a penalty is warranted. Mis-use of the SPOT trackers (e.g. in non-emergency, if rider moves after activation of SPOT) – 4 hour penalty, to be served at the next urtuu Going off course- while riders are free to choose their route between urtuus, there are limits- in order to provide back-up we need to keep riders reasonably clustered. The 'course' consists of a band 10kms either side of a straight line drawn between the urtuus. This provides more than sufficient variety, and riders will be able to gauge how far from the line they are using their GPS. If a rider strays outside the 10kms band, they will incur a 2 hour penalty, to be served at the next urtuu, or as soon as Derby HQ has identified the penalty. Anything else- at the discretion of the vets and organisers. We do not intend for the penalty system to have any tactical significance during the Mongol Derby, but simply to encourage good riding and sensible, respectful behaviour towards the horses, their owners, the event organisers and their Mongolian partners. Riders who are visibly exhausted and in the opinion of the vets pose a risk to the welfare of their horses may be held at the urtuu on the authority of the vet or the urtuu manager, or any member of the organising team who have observed them on course.

Penalty offence
Veterinary penalty for negligent riding e.g. high heart rate, dehydration, injury Riding out of hours (before 6am, after 8pm)

Length of penalty
2 hours

Vet informs urtuu manager, who holds the rider at the urtuu. May be enforced the following morning in cases where the rider cannot ride on the same day Urtuu vets and managers will announce penalty for late/early riding

1 hour for every hour or part hour. E.g. rider

comes in at 8.40pm- he cannot leave urtuu until 7am Repeat offence, e.g. 3 horses with high heart rate Riders swapping horses Riders going off course - more than 10kms off a straight line between urtuus Non-emergency use (misuse) of SPOT tracker 4 hours 2 hours 2 hours 4 hours

where rider arrives at an urtuu. In other cases, Derby HQ will inform urtuu team to hold rider To be announced by senior vets, who will inform urtuu team to hold rider Emergency vets or back-up crew to inform urtuu team if they see this happening Derby HQ will inform urtuu team to hold rider Derby HQ will inform urtuu team to hold rider

We expect you all to respect the rules of this event, and recognise that they are designed to protect you and your horses. We also expect you to respect the hundreds of event staff who have come together to bring the Derby to life. Anyone abusive towards horses, urtuu families or Derby staff will risk disqualification from the event. The decision of the organisers is final and any rider disqualified will have to leave the course and make their own way home.

Veterinary Control and Procedure
Every rider must go to every urtuu along the Mongol Derby course, and must present their horse immediately to the urtuu vet when they arrive. To ensure this riders must be signed in to each urtuu by the vet or the urtuu manager. The vets have absolute control on all matters concerning horse safety. The decision of the organisers taken on the direct advice of the vets is final and there can be no appeal against them. The veterinary inspections of each horse will include: heart rate, gut sounds, gait evaluation, hydration, soundness, lacerations, wounds and general condition. Riders have not officially finished until their final horse has passed the final vet inspection and they have been cleared to go by that vet. Each horse's heart rate should be down to 64 bpm within 30 minutes of reaching an urtuu. Heart rates will be checked upon arrival, and any over 64 will be held for 30 minutes and checked again. During this time the rider will not be able to select his or her next mount and will have to stay with the horse while it is treated or monitored. If a horse's heart rate is not down to below 64 bpm 30 minutes after its first inspection then the rider will be penalised at the vets discretion. The general rule is that riders will not be able to leave the urtuu until their horse's heart rate is below 64 bpm. If the rider gets a penalty at the 30 minute mark and the horse's heart rate is still above 64 bpm after 2 hours, they will still have to remain at the urtuu while the horse is treated. If the horse's heart rate is satisfactory then the rider is free to select his or her next horse and continue immediately.

Random veterinary inspections may be carried out any any time during the event. If a horse fails any aspect of its veterinary check it will be up to the discretion of the vet as to whether the rider gets penalised or not. If the rider has presented several horses with high heart rates, they may incur a longer penalty of 4 hours, at the discretion of the vets. Vets will record heart rates, times in and out of the urtuus, and all other parameters on the riders' record cards, which will be carried by the riders at all times while mounted. The vets or urtuu managers will also check that riders' SPOT trackers are activated upon signing riders out of each horse station.

Other Horse Protocols
Tacking up. It is fine for the Mongolian horsemen at the gers to help you select and tack up your next horse for you. BUT you are responsible for the correct fit and condition of your kit. You are not using Mongolian saddles and should not assume that because the horse's owner has dressed your horse, that everything is fitted correctly. Is the bit at the right height? Is there enough space in the headpiece? Is the girth in the correct place and at the correct tightness? Be sure to smooth the skin behind the horses' elbows and under the girth to prevent and girth rubs. In general, CHECK tack before leaving the urtuus. At each urtuu there will be tack cleaning equipment, most likely a bucket and sponge. Riders should wipe their girths and dry them to remove sweat and prevent any irritation or rubs to the horses. We will cover this in depth at Pre-Race Training, but the general rule is, be vigilant!

Rider Record Cards
Each rider will be given a record card on which their horses' veterinary parameters, plus times in and out of urtuus, and any penalties, will be recorded. It is the responsibility of the rider to carry this card at all times whilst riding and to return it to the organisers at the end of the event. This record card will be submitted as evidence of your Guinness World Record attempt, and you will not be placed officially unless you retain it throughout the race. So don't ride off without it!!! The rider's record card will be pocket-sized and should be carried so that it is readily retrievable at the urtuus. You might want to consider a bumbag, or clipping it on a string or a plastic wallet around your neck or arm. See below.

Weight Limits
Weight is restricted for the welfare of the horses. We aim to enforce this policy as fairly as possible, so, for the sake of clarity, please read and digest the following:

Maximum Rider Weight

What does this include?
All riding wear, and all technical equipment attached to your person- breeches, boots, hat, top, coat, whatever else you want to wear. Bear in mind you will also be 'wearing' your GPS and SPOT tracker, combined weight of these will be c. 0.5kgs. The SPOT tracker must be on your person at all times. They will attach to a waistband or belt, or can be duct taped to your helmet.

What doesn't it include?
Your saddle and your 5kgs luggage allowance. We will weigh the saddles before your first training ride, so that you have three days to customise yours and attach your luggage allowance as you see fit, and test ride it. You will then weigh in on the morning of the race with your saddle fully pimped, and the luggage weight will be calculated as the weight of you carrying your saddle LESS your weight LESS the weight of your saddle. For example, if the saddle weighs 5kgs, and you weigh 70kgs in your riding kit, the TOTAL weight of you with all of your kit on the scales should be 80kgs. Your saddle pad. Riders will be provided with a saddle pad. They must use this on every horse. Your water. Riders are advised to carry water on their person in case they are separated from their horse. You can carry a full Camelbak on your back, or a smaller waist pack, or a Capri sun in your pocket. You may also carry water in your saddle bags or attached to your saddle, and again this will not count as 'luggage' so remove it for the weigh-in. The bridle, neckstrap (if used), stake and hobble are all classified as the horses' tack and come outside the 85kg personal limit and the 5kg equipment limit. Final weigh in will take place before breakfast on 6 August. Saddles will be weighed before the first training ride. (They should technically all weigh the same but for the sake of fairness we will make sure!)

Navigation is a hugely important part of riding the Derby, and if it something you do not have much experience with, it is advisable to train specifically on this skill. You may ride the entire race in the company of a consummate gadgeteer, but on the other hand, you may be on your own, so the more comfortable you are with the technology, the more independent you will be out in the wild. GPS is intuitive and straightforward for most, but this is not something you should wait to find out until you arrive in Mongolia. Why not have a go at geocaching and spend a weekend GPS treasure hunting with a few friends? This is just the kind of shenanigans you could organise by using the rider forum.... Though no set route is marked and you are on your own in terms of getting from one urtuu to the next, there will be a 10km boundary either side of a straight line between the urtuu points. This is so the emergency response teams can reach injured riders and horses in the best possible time. If you ride outside the boundary you will be penalised and brought back inside the course. In order to keep track of where riders are at any time, riders must keep their SPOT trackers activated throughout the race. Riders will receive full training on how to use the trackers at the Pre-Race Training.

Rider Speed and Ensuring Back-up

The logistics surrounding the Mongol Derby and exceedingly complicated, and orchestrated by the Derby Ops room in Ulaanbaatar, in conjunction with Derby HQ in Bristol, UK. Using the data from the SPOT trackers, we move vets, urtuu managers and medics up and down the course to provide coverage to you riders and perform their duties at the horse stations. If the pack of riders becomes too dispersed to enable the back-up team to function properly, the organisers may need to transfer riders further up the course in a back-up vehicle and deliver them back into the pack. Riders will have detailed information at Pre-Race training on the dates each urtuu will be open, and therefore how fast they need to travel to stay 'in touch'. Similarly, if a rider is so far in front that they we cannot provide veterinary cover, they will need to be held at an urtuu until the vet team can be transferred to their location. In practice no rider has ever arrived at an urtuu without any veterinary cover to date, but it is a possibility and in such an eventuality they will not be able to ride on.

Behaviour Towards the Mongolian people
This Event would not be possible without the co-operation of the Mongolian people you will stay with, eat with, drink with and meet along the way. Please show them the utmost respect at all times. We will give you a lesson in ger etiquette during the pre-race training. Please try and observe this!

Emergency Situations
Riders must wear their SPOT tracker on their person at all times. It must be switched on, and at every station this will be checked by the vets or urtuu managers as one of the safety protocols. Your SPOT tracker is solely for use in emergency situations, not when you have chapped lips or want a beer. When you press that help button we will send out our nearest medical or veterinary team, depending on which button you have pressed. You must make sure your SPOT tracker is able to see the sky and the satellites at all times when you are riding. If you consistently fail to turn your tracker on or use it incorrectly you will incur a penalty. You can duct tape it to your helmet, wear it on an armband, thighband, waistband, on a lanyard round your neck, carabinered to your belt....experiment at pre-race training and do whatever works for you. Once you press the SPOT you must stay in the same location until help arrives. Anyone who uses the SPOT in a non-emergency or who presses it and then moves location, hence wasting our team's time, will incur a 4 hour penalty, which they must sit out at the next urtuu. If both our medical teams are called to emergencies at the same time the organisers reserve the right to halt the Event and hold riders at the Urtuus until further notice. This is for the safety of the riders.

Riding Hours
Riders are allowed to ride between 6 a.m and 8 p.m. Riding in the dark is hazardous to both horse and rider If you wish to ride up to the wire at 8pm and sleep wherever you get to, this is permitted. We will be able to tell from your SPOT tracker when you have stopped, and where. If you do choose to do this you must secure your horse safely, and make sure it is watered and grazed. Be sensible- you can of course walk your horse to a nearby

ger, or a well, and if you are only a couple of kms short of the next urtuu and wish to overnight there, you may walk your horse in hand. As ever, the welfare of the horse is our primary concern. You are permitted to choose and tack up your horse before 6 a.m but you must not get on the horse and leave the Urtuu until 6 a.m on the nose. Remember, Big Brother will be watching you with the help of SPOT! The same applies for people camping out. You may catch and tack up your horse before 6 a.m but not mount and ride on until 6 on the dot. Riding hours will be monitored by Derby HQ using the SPOT trackers, and by the vets and urtuu managers, and the organisers have the authority to impose a time penalty on a rider who flouts the rules

The Winning Rider
The winner is the rider with the shortest elapsed riding time, and no penalties. Unless the winning rider incurs a penalty on the final leg, this should be the first rider across the line!

Placings will be decided in the same manner - assuming your final horse comes in in good shape and you haven't ignored any riders in pickles in your dash to the glorious finish, your name will be etched into the Derby annals in the order in which you cross the line. What happens when riders cross the line together? You'll be equally placed.

Friends and Relatives
It is forbidden for any rider to be followed, preceded or accompanied at any stage during the Event by any bicycle, pedestrian or a rider not taking part in the Mongol Derby. If so that rider will be penalised. No friends or relatives are allowed to be present at the urtuus at any point. The start and finish camps are exclusively for the riders. If friends and relatives wish to come and see a rider off, or welcome them home, they may do so, but they are not allowed to stay at either the start or the finish camps.

Pre-race Training Assessment
As per the Rider Entry Agreement, if at the pre-race training it becomes clear that you have exaggerated your riding abilities to the extent that your participation puts the welfare of the horses at any kind of risk, we reserve the right to withdraw you from the event.

Money Gubbins

Because we ask for the entry fees in US Dollars, and many of you pay in instalments to ease the pain a little, the finances can get a little messy. So, here is a quick reminder of how to pay an instalment and secure your place on the Mongol Derby. You need to make the transfer(s) at your bank, and once you have made a transfer, you need to let us know! Use the Payment Administration Form on the website, and give us your surname as your reference on both the form at the bank and online. The other important thing to remember at the bank is that we need to receive the amounts stated below. Where there are transaction charges incurred, these must be paid by you. It should be a simple box-tick to say that you will bear the charges. Please tick the box.

The Account Details
Beneficiary: The Mongol Derby Ltd Address: Hamilton House, 80 Stokes Croft, Bristol, BS1 3QY. Bank: HSBC Account number: 70635877 Sort code: 400515 SWIFT/BIC: MIDLGB22 IBAN: GB21MIDL40051570635877 The Company will not be liable for any third party charges, such as bank charges, incurred upon payment of the Entry Fee by the Rider, or upon any refund of the Entry Fee to the Rider by the Company should the Rider decide to withdraw from the Event and be entitled to a whole or partial refund.

The Instalments Schedule
If you wish you can pay the $9,800 in instalments. However, this will be $100 more expensive to cover the cost of dull things like administration. If you sign up later in the year, you may need to pay more than one instalment in the first instance. You can split up the payments in the following manner: $1,500, $2,800, $2,800, $2,800 ● The first $1,500, which secures your place and gives you access to the rider's resource centre, within 2 weeks of verbally accepting your offer. In effect this represents your formal sign-up ● The second instalment of $2,800 will need to be paid by Friday 28 January 2011.

● The third instalment of $2,800 by Friday 25 March 2011. ● The final instalment of $2,800 by Friday 27 May 2011.
That's all chaps- from our end, we register your payments as they come in and if you fill in the form as we request, we get an automated email to inform us of your payment so we don't need to go scrabbling to the bank every day to see if your cash has hit the account. This is a huge help. If you or your sponsors requires a receipt, we ar every happy to provide one - just shoot us an email to and we will send you one by return of that email.

Pre Race Meetings and Adventurists Gathersomes
There are a number of pre-race meetings that you can come along to should you chose to, including our famous Afternoon Teas, where you can be inspired by tales of high adventure, ingenious running repairs and extraordinary cultural encounters.

Afternoon Teas
Here are the dates for the fabulous 2011 editions of tea and cake-based adventuring: Saturday 5 February, The Round Chapel, Hackney, London, UK Saturday 11 June, Madrid, Spain Saturday 15 October, Edinburgh, Scotland Tickets for our afternoon teas are free to riders signed up for the 2011 Mongol Derby. As you can see it's a pan-continental assault, and we very much hope to see you at one, nay, all, for some gin-soaked festivities. To find out more about the excellent afternoon tea series and the wonderful cakes to be enjoyed there, please see: In addition, the rider forum and banter module will enable you to contact other contestants, and our marvellous pre-race trainerMaggie Pattinson, in case you want to set up some pre-Mongolian shenanigans of your own. We wholly approve of this. You can navigate to the forum from your homepage when you log in to the website

Surviving Adventure Course with Prometheus Medical
This excellent weekend course take places at the Prometheus HQ in Herefordshire. In one weekend you'll learn from the experts how to deal with medical incidents whilst traveling off the beaten track. For more details about the course please see here: The course costs £175 (including VAT) or £225 if you wish to stay at their lovely place and get fed all weekend too. Look out for the Adventurists competitions, which will net one lucky entrant a free place! For more information and bookings please contact Samantha Edwards at Prometheus directly on: Tel: 01568 613942 Fax: 01568 620032

Hazara's, Ulaanbaatar, Outer Mongolia
Monday 1 August, 2011 This will be a meeting in the capital city of Mongolia, Ulaanbaatar. We would very much like all of you to attend so that we can ensure we get the chance to meet you all before the training session starts on the 3 August and so that you can ask us any last minute questions you have. Maggie Pattinson will come along too so it will be a great chance to get to know her a little as well as one another before the adventure begins in earnest. We will meet at Hazara’s Restaurant (North Indian Cuisine and one of the most popular places in Ulaanbaatar believe it or not!) at 7pm. This great place is just behind the wrestling palace in the Bayanzurkh District, Ulaanbaatar.

Dinner here is not included in your entry fee, but will only set you back around £10, if that.

Pre Race Training with Maggie Pattinson
Between August 3-5 you will be at the Mongol Derby start camp out in the steppe, being put through your paces by the superb Maggie Pattinson. She's got an eagle eye for how to get your kit together, how to handle the horses, how to rescue your knees, and how to pace your Derby so that horse and rider come home safe and sound. In the run-up to the Derby you will have exclusive access to Maggie's expertise and support on the wonderful rider forum, and the more you use this, the better the resource it will be. The Pre-Race Training on the steppe will be a final familiarisation with technial and logistical aspects of the Derby, from handling and riding the Mongolian horses, to medical issues, the SPOT messengers and veterinary issues. You'll be sleeping in beautiful gers in the steppe. More details of the pre-race training will be given to you nearer the time, but for now the basic curriculum is as follows; Monday 1 August 2010 Riders will meet at Hazara's Indian restaurant in Ulaanbaatar at 7.30 pm for some tipple and tiffin. Any taxi driver will take you here for around 1-2000 Tugrig. Any more than this and you're being had! Tuesday 2 August 2010 Riders will all meet in Ulaanbaatar at a designated point and travel out to the Mongol Derby start camp, in time for dinner. We will let you know this point nearer the time, but it will very likely be The Adventurists office near State Department Store, just off Peace Avenue. We will arrange the riders' transfer out to the start camp, most likely by bus. For the four nights and three days you will be at the Start Camp you will be staying in gers, and we will be catering for you. Drinks will be on a pay per drink basis, but the food is all included in your entry fee. Wednesday 3 August Training starts! Tutorials will cover the course, choosing your route, operating the SPOT trackers, emergency protocols, monitoring yoru own and your horses' health, loading your horse and essential equipment, navigating water sources, vet check protocols and ger etiquette. They will be a mixture of practical (mounted!) and theoretical sessions. It's a full schedule but it should be masses of fun! The last night of Before the Derby will be Friday 5 August We'll see you off with a celebration to thrill the Great Khaans..... 8 pm: Feasting and partying! Saturday 6 August

8 am: Rider weigh-in 8.30 am: Breakfast 9 am: Horse selection, tacking up and the start

Finishing the Mongol Derby
Due to the nature of the Mongol Derby, you won't all be cantering across the Finish Line at the same glorious moment, but will be coming in over a number of days. With this in mind, we've set the official end of the Mongol Derby for Tuesday August 16, but it's likely some of you will be finishing several days earlier. Because of this we'll have a Derby Finish Camp, where the final party will be held, and where you are free to stay once you have finished. You don't have to stay here of course; you can camp, go back to UB, go hiking.... the choice is yours. The Finish Line itself will be clearly marked and once you cross the line your time will be recorded and you must hand your horse over to the final veterinary check. Once your horse has passed it's vet check then you are free to go and celebrate your triumphant completion of the Derby. Having ridden across 1000km of some of the toughest terrain in the world and battled against some highly cumbersome odds, if you make it across the finish line you're likely to be in the mood for celebrating... If, by 8 pm on August 16 you have not completed the course, you must stop at the next Urtuu. Your time will be recorded and this is where you will finish the race. If at any point during the Event you decide to retire then you must also make sure you get you and your horse to the next Urtuu and alert the vet, who will in turn alert the organisers. It is then your choice if you wish to return to UB or get a lift with one of the Derby jeeps to the Finish Line.

Mongol Derby Finish Party
On Tuesday August 17, tendays after you have set forth on the world's longest horse race, we'll be officially celebrating it's finish. There'll be prize giving, numerous tearful speeches, feasting and drinking and even the odd bit of wrestling and archery. We'll be celebrating the end of the second Mongol Derby in some style, with a traditional Mongol naadaam. A special prize goes to any rider who thinks they're hard enough to take on and beat a Mongolian wrestler. Food and accommodation for the Finish Line party is all part of your entry fee, but if you wish to stay at the Finish Line Camp before August 15 then you'll have to pay for it out of your own pocket. We'll pay for your accomodation between 14-16 August, (ie for the ninth, tenth and eleventh day of the Derby) but any silver-winged riders who finish mega early will have to look after themselves. If you have a favourite frock you wish to wear at the Finish Party but don't want to strap to your saddle for 1000 km, then we can transport one hand-luggage sized bag for you from the start to the finish. We'll add more details about the Finish to your Rider on the Steppe pack.

Getting back to Ulaanbaatar from the Finish Line

We will arrange transport to take you back to UB after the Derby, and this is included in your entry fee. This will be either in Furgons - Russian minibuses - or jeeps.

The Horse Stations (Morin Urtuus)
The Urtuus will be spread out along the course at 20-40 km intervals, with each urtuu manned by a local nomadic family. Though we can’t promise that you’ll find 400 horses waiting for you as Marco Polo might have expected, each Urtuu will stocked with fresh steeds for you to choose from. Each horse will have been vetted that day, and will have a number painted on it's hindquarters. Once the horse you have just finished on has passed it's vet check and you have been given the all clear to go by the urtuu vet, then you can select your next horse, tack up and ride on. Once you've saddled up your new horse and set off on the next leg your old horse will then be returned to the previous post and previous owner. This relay system will continue for the whole race. Each Urtuu will consist of a small collection of gers (canvas and felt tents which the nomads live in), a large collection of horses and a few local chaps. While you do not by any means have to stay at the Urtuus each night, this may be a chance, should you want to take it, to get some rest, local food and hopefully a large bowl of Monglian Tea, made from various types of milk, a tiny bit of tea, a healthy few spoonfuls of freshly churned butter and a good helping of salt. Food will be available at the urtuus but don't expect any fancy pants four course meals. But if you do share food with local, nomadic people along the way, you'll be eating what they eat - most likely mutton and fermented mare's milk. If you're a vegetarian then you'd better come with your own supply of noodles… this is something to be thought about when you’re planning your 5kg of gubbins to carry along the way. The Urtuus are going to be a rare opportunity for you to hang out with the nomads, get drunk on airag (mare's milk) and eat an awful lot of mutton. If you want to streak ahead and sleep wherever you find yourself at moonrise, then the steppe is your oyster and you and your horse can enjoy a romantic night out under the diamond-studded vault. However, whilst you don't have to stay at the Urtuus, it is imperative that you stop at each one and change your horse. Amazingly, the system of Urtuus was not closed down until the Autumn of 1949, so we are going to be recreating the stations with the guidance of people who actually worked at them. What happens at the urtuus? When you and your horse arrive at an urtuu there will be a vet team waiting for you. You must immediately get your horse vet checked (hear rate, gait, gut sounds, metabolic issues etc). At the same time the vet's assistant will record you as having arrived. Once the horse has passed the vet, you will be free to untack it, choose the next horse and ride on. You MUST be responsible for tacking up your own horse and ensuring the girth is done up correctly. The Mongolians are incredibly helpful, hospitable people and will want to help you at every

opportunity, but choosing and tacking up ech horse must be your responsibility. You must also not allow the horse owners to test ride the horse before you select it. or after you tack it up. If you fancy a break between legs then tea, airag, mutton and noodles will always be available in the gers and you do not by any means have to rush on to the next urtuu immediately. It depends how competitive you are..... Who will you find at the urtuus? At the urtuus you will find: a Mongolian vet, a vet's assistant / translator, other riders, the host nomadic family and the horse owners. Other people you may find will be; the soum governors, Mongol Derby organisers (only if there is a problem at that urtuu and the vet has called for assistance). If there is a veterinary emergency you will also find one of the foreign veterinary units. And the same goes if there is a medical emergency at the urtuu. What happens if you want to stay between urtuus? Riding hours for the Mongol Derby are strictly 6am -8pm. Since you are using SPOT trackers we will be able to track you at all times, and anyone riding outside these hours will be penalised. However, due to the fact that the Mongol Derby is a race, we understand that some of you will want to push on as far as possible within these hours. You may arrive at an urtuu at 6.30 pm, know you can't make the next one by 8 pm but still wish to ride as far as you can by 8p m, then either camp out in the steppe or stay with a nomadic family. Last year two riders ended up going to a wedding when they did this! You are allowed to do this but you MUST secure your horse properly if you choose to camp out. Mongolian horses are wily beasts and even hobbled and tied up they can hop off into the inky night. Please be aware that our back-up team will not come out in the middle of the night to find a lost horse, as this is not considered an emergency and can be dangerous for the back up team, particularly in a mountainous area. So if you camp out, you are responsible for grazing, watering and securing your horse. Anyone who uses their SPOT trackers in a non-emergency situation will be penalised. If you choose to camp between urtuus please also be aware that you are putting you and your horse in more danger from wolves and horse thieves than you would be if you stayed at an urtuu, and that any lost horses will mean you lose your $700 deposit. Beware of the Dogs You should expect to find very vicious dogs at every Urtuu. They are kept to guard the Urtuus but they are usually aggressive and will chase your horse.

They do bite and may hurt you. Each Urtuu owner will be asked to tie up their dogs for the duration of the Mongol Derby, however there is no guarantee that they will. You should particularly, though not solely, beware of any dog with a red rag tied around its neck as these dogs are trained to bite. If you can, you should slow your horse to a slow walking pace when approaching any ger which will deter the dogs from chasing and biting at the horses legs but will not necessarily stop this entirely. Please be aware of this issue!

The Horses
We're lining up nigh on a thousand horses for the Mongol Derby, selected from a vast network of owners and breeders along the length of the 1000km course. These horses are far from the kind of steed you may be used to riding at home. They are small, hardy Mongolian horses, an extremely tough breed that has changed little since the Mongol Hordes swept across Asia on their backs in the early thirteenth century. They range in size from 12 to 14 hands high and generally spend their time roaming and eating the vast Mongolian Steppe. As the Mongol Derby will be run across wild terrain, not roads, the horses will be unshod as they always are.

Choosing your steed
The Mongol Derby is all about rider endurance rather than horse endurance, and you'll be riding a new horse every 40 km. When you arrive at an urtuu you'll find fresh horses for the next leg ready and waiting to go. If you're at the front of the pack you'll have the pick of the bunch. If you're bringing up the rear you'll have a small handful to choose from. Though the quality of the horses may vary a little due to their semi-wild lifestyle, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll find a 3-legged half-mule, half-marmot staring you in the face if you’ve decided to take your time, since all the horses have been carefully chosen and vetted well in advance of the race. If you are nearer the 85 kg weight limit then you must ride one of the bigger horses. We'll let you know at the start if you are on of the 'bigger' riders and hence must select the 'bigger' horses at each urtuu. These horses will be marked with a B as well as their number and will be stationed at one end of the line. Any 'bigger' riders who sneakily select a smaller horse because it looks faster will be liable for a penalty. Every horse you ride will have been vetted just before it starts, and will have a number on it's hindquarters. Provision of the horses will be managed by local people stationed at each Urtuu and you choose your steed at your own discretion. Horses at the start line will be allocated to riders by the Mongol Derby organisers, using a random lottery system.

Untacking and tacking your steed
At each urtuu it's likely you will find a small crowd of horse owners and local nomads, all of whom will want to help you untack, select your next horse and tack up again. You must be responsible for untacking your horse, getting it through the vet check, selecting your next horse and tacking it up. As much as people try and help you, politely turn them down! Of course you can ask someone to hold your horse, and even have a horseman tack up your steed,but YOU will be held responsible for the fit of your tack. If your horse comes in to a vet check and has a gaping girth gall resulting from a badly done up girth, it's you who could be penalised....

Being responsible for the horse you choose
Once you select a horse, tack it up and ride off towards the next urtuu you are solely responsible for that horse until you deliver it safely to the vet check at the next horse station. This means that if you suspect anything to be amiss with the horse, such as lameness or dehydration, you must act accordingly.

Only press the SPOT tracker emergency button if it really is an emergency. If the horse has only gone a little bit lame (by standing on a stone for example) then use your wits and just get off and walk it to the next urtuu. Obviously if it's a broken leg or a collapsed horse then this is an emergency, and you must press the SPOT tracker. Water will be at regular intervals on the course, either in wells, in rivers or in blue barrels which we have placed there. You must be responsible for watering your horse and ensuring it does not get dehydrated. We'll cover techniques at Pre-race Training. Once you have chosen a horse you must not allow anyone else to ride it, even if it turns out to be difficult and one of your co-riders offers to swap horses. You will be penalised, and even risk disqualification if this happens. You must also not allow any helpful Mongolians to ride your horse, or to try and offer you a fresh horse half way through a leg. All the horses are numbered and recorded and hence if you do swap horses it will be blindingly obvious!

Technology on the Steppe
The Mongol Derby is all about getting out there into the wilderness and having a proper adventure. But it's also a dangerous way to spend a couple of weeks and therefore one of the rules of the event is that you carry, at all times, one of our SPOT trackers. These trackers, when switched on, send out a satellite signal which we track throughout the event, therefere always being aware of where you are. In the case of a medical or veterinary emergency you press for help and one of our team will speed to the rescue. Although it's not imperative you carry a handheld GPS unit for navigation, we would strongly advise it. Getting lost on the steppe is very, very easy to do, even for Mongolians.

How to use the Spot Messenger Satellite Tracker
The most important thing about the SPOT is that to work it needs to be able to see the satellites, therefore it's no good having it buried in your rucksack or under a sock in your saddlebag. It needs to be switched on, and strapped to either your arm, or your riding hat. Whatever you do, never leave it on the saddle - if the horse gets rid of you and gallops off with the tracker, you could be in big trouble. Buttons

● On/Off: turns the unit on and off (you must hold the button down to turn it off) ● OK (Tracking mode): Push and hold for 5 seconds, this will put the unit into Tracking Mode for 24 hours. You must make sure the unit is
put into this tracking mode before you start riding every morning. if the two middle greem lights are flashing every three seconds then you have correctly set it to tracking mode.

● Help (Veterinary Emergency): This should be used in the event of a veterinary emergency. Push and hold for at least 2 seconds. The unit
will send a help message every 5 minutes for one hour. To cancel press and hold the Help button for three seconds, red light will come on to show cancelling.

● 911 (Medical Emergency): This should be used in the event of a human emergency. Push and hold for at least 2 seconds. The unit will send
a help message until it is turned off. To cancel press and hold the 911 button for three seconds, red light will come on to show cancelling. Lights The lights tell you what the unit is doing. The following list explains what the various flashings mean.

● If one green light is flashing every three seconds above on/off this means the unit is on. ● If the two middle green lights are flashing every three seconds this means the unit is in tracking mode (the OK button has been pushed for
5 seconds).

● ● ● ●

If both lights are flashing in unison this indicates a GPS lock has been made. If both lights are not flashing in unison this means a GPS lock hasn't been made; move the unit so it has a clear view of the sky. On/off light flashing red indicates low battery. Solid green for 5 seconds - sending message to our HQ with your location or help request.

● Solid red for 5 seconds - cancelling message of help (if you realise you are infact ok).

● The unit does a quick self check at the start, so wait three or four seconds after turning on before doing anything else. ● You MUST reactivate the Tracking Mode every morning before you set off by pushing and holding the OK button for 5 seconds.
Remember, if you don't use your SPOT tracker correctly you could be putting yourself in serious danger.

Your handheld GPS Units
Although it's not absolutely imperative that you carry a handheld GPS unit, we would strongly reccommend that you do. You could try navigating using the sun and an old map drawn on the back of your favourite Thesiger novel, but it could be rather tricky. In the months leading up to the Derby all the mapping and GPS-ing of the course will be done on our central system. The course consists of hundreds of GPS points; everything from the urtuus to water points, soums, rail crossings, prominent hills and areas where there are lots of marmot holes. When you arrive in UB just before the Derby we will designate a time and place for you to come and meet us, so that we can plug your GPS into our system and download all these points onto your GPS. This is very simple, as long as you have the correct unit. It's very important that you have one of the following GPS units. The Etrex Legend H The Etrex Legend HCx The 'H' retails at around $100 and the HCx at around $200. The only real difference between the two is that the HCx has a coloured screen, and the H is black and white. What is key about these two models is that they have a USB connection. If you turn up in Ulaanbaatar with another model, and particularly one without the USB connection, then you might not be able to download the course details onto your unit. And believe us when we say finding a Garmin GPS in UB is no easy task....! One important consideration is battery power- your GPS will run on batteries and you will need to carry spares as they will be switched on for long periods of time. We strongly recommend lithium batteries as they have a significantly longer lifespan than standard ones. Several riders attempted to use solar chargers last year and rechargeable batteries, but none were man enough for the job.

Vetinary Support
In 2011 the Mongol Derby will involve around thousand Mongolian horses selected from a vast area along the 1000 km course. The welfare of these fine animals comes first and we will be working with a superb team of international and Mongolian vets to ensure that the Derby horses get the best possible care. Our veterinary programme of care for the horses has a number of different elements; pre, during and post-race.

Pre-race vet checks
Several weeks before the start of the Mongol Derby a team of vets travels the length of the Mongol Derby course to check all the horses that have been selected are fit and healthy. Any horses that are too old, too young or with the slightest question mark over their health, fitness or suitability are not allowed to take part. All those that cut the mustard are marked, photographed and recorded before going on to start their training programme. This consists of regular ridden work over the kind of terrain they will be encountering on their Derby leg, ensuring your mounts are fit and have the appropriate head for heights/ amphibious skills (only kidding, there will not be any swimming legs). Each horse is again checked once it is at the Urtuu and ready to start.

Urtuu vet checks during the Mongol Derby
As well as being checked weeks before the race, each horse will be checked by one of our vets once it has arrived at an urtuu and is about to be ridden in the Derby. So each horse you select will have very recently been given the all clear to take part by one of our vet team. Once you have ridden a leg and arrive at an urtuu the first thing you must do is present your horse to the urtuu vet for inspection. The urtuu vets will be specially trained Mongolian vets, working with one of our international vet team, assisted by a translator. They will record your arrival time as well as checking the horse is sound in every way. Once the horse has passed the vet check you are free to choose your next horse. Please see the Rules section for more detail on vetting and penalties.

Emergency vetting during the Mongol Derby
If, at any point during the Derby, you find yourself in an emergency situation with your horse, you must immediately press the veterinary help button on the SPOT tracker. A girth gall or minor lameness is not an emergency. A broken leg, burst blood vessel or severe exhaustion / dehydration is an emergency. If you call out a vet and they deem it to be a non-emergency you will be penalised for wasting valuable vet time. When you press the emergency button it will be one of our three mobile, fully equipped veterinary teams that responds. They will be roving along the course in jeeps, equipped with GPS, SPOT trackers and satellite telephones, and hence our HQ can send the nearest vet to respond in the fastest posible time. Response times in 2009/10 were between 20 minutes and 2 hours.

Post-race veterinary care
The veterinary team will monitor any horses that require treatment, and may leave one of the team behind at an urtuu to give appropriate care while the other vet is transferred further up the course to resume duties at another urtuu. In short, no horse that requires treatment will go without it. To date no horse has required ongoing treatment after their participation in the Mongol Derby. In the words of head vet from 2010 Jenny Weston, "a couple of horses were involved in freak accidents (that’s just what horses do) but ultimately less than 2% of the horses required any treatment and that was all minor first aid, which compares favourably to most other equestrian sports."

Environment and Etiquette

Mongolia’s steppe landscape is one of few true wildernesses left in the world and we’d quite like it to stay as sublimely beautiful as it is today and has been for thousands of years. So the following are hints about what you should and shouldn’t do when riding across the steppe. Sticking to these simple rules will enable the success of the Mongol Derby as an event that respects the environment of the Mongolian grassland. You should... Generally respect the environment of the grassland as a highly sensitive ecology - with man and beast living together in harmony, it would be a shame if we adventurers did something like accidentally hunt and eat a rare species of tiger or something. It’s very worth knowing what the local wildlife is and if possible, what it looks like before you take off into the steppe. Some useful information can be found on the Wildlife Conservation Society’s website. Take ample care when lighting a fire - Mongolia’s climate is dry and in August hot during the day, so the risk of fire spreading is high. Make sure you build a surround that will contain the fire and make sure you put it out properly before you move on. If you are lacking in the survival skills department, we would strongly recommend getting some practice in with fire lighting and safety. You may not be planning to camp alone at any point, but this is not to say that you won't, so best to be prepared we think. Respect local habits when near any nomadic encampment and at each Urtuu with regard to going to the loo – though toilets may be few and far between, it’s always worth asking which direction you should walk before you go to the toilet incase you wee in the kitchen or something by accident – a cultural faux pas in many places. Respect local etiquette should you visit a nomadic encampment and at each Urtuu with regard to entering, sitting in, eating and drinking in a Mongolia Ger. There are strong traditions connected to entering and socializing in a Ger and in order not to offend, you should try to follow the rituals as far as you can. Nobody’s likely to get very cross if you don’t remember everything, but it’s worth a try to show that you have some knowledge of Mongolian nomadic customs. We will be giving you a talk at the pre-race training session on ger etiquette, so you can hopefully avoid causing offence to the nomads, and we have also included a helpful guide in this very handbook. You should not… Leave litter in the steppe - If you have packaging or other forms of litter that you don’t want to carry with you all the way, just make sure you take them to the next Urtuu rather than leaving it behind. Light a fire without ensuring it is not going to spread or leave a fire if the embers have not completely died out. Hunt. Hunting is illegal in Mongolia and has been made so in order to try a protect some of the species of wildlife found in the grassland. So if you need to eat you’ll have to carry some fruit and nut bars or ride yourself to a local Ger to ask if you can have some fermented, dried cheese or carry on to the next Urtuu to enjoy the local delicacies there.

Climate and Environment

The climate in Mongolia at this time of year is very variable. This means that temperatures can soar between being uncomfortably hot and uncomfortably cold. You should consider the type of clothing you carry with you on the Mongol Derby with such fluctuations in mind. The average temperature during the day in August is 20-30 degrees, but at night the thermometer can plunge to not far above freezing. It can rain in August, so do bring a lightweight raincoat. But be aware that the horses are not used to these raincoats and rustling one around whilst riding could induce a fit of bolting or bucking. The less plastic and rustley your garment, the better! There is very little moisture in the air in August when it is dry, heightening the risk of fire spreading should you chose to light one. Water will be available at regular intervals along the course, and in the main these will be natural sources or wells. However, in the event that the summer is very dry and water sources have dried up, we will prvide water butts out on the course and ensure that there is always water available at regular intervals. Wherever you see a ger, there will be water nearby for the livestock, and use this as a guide- you can always make a stop at a ger, even if it not a family involved int he Derby, and ask for help getting water. Always make sure you have a supply of purified water on you- there will be water at all of the urtuus. The Mongolian steppe is hilly and arid, with lots of rocks, short grasses, sand and hardly any trees. The lack of shade means that dehydration and sun stroke are very real problems especially when riding for hours on end! So be careful and keep an eye on yourself, your fellow adventurers and your horse. There are regular holes across the steppe floor made by small mammals and rodents such as marmots. You need to keep an eye out for these as you ride, and be aware that they can be a hazard for your horse when moving at speed.The horses themselves are generally very good at avoiding them, but they do make mistakes and can trip up, so be vigilant and help them.

Ger Etiquette
You'll be spending a fair few hours of the Mongol Derby in gers, the traditional felt and canvas homes of the Mongolian nomads. Although Mongolians are famously hospitable and the most consummate of hosts, there are a few tips about how to behave in gers that might help you on your way. How on earth are you to know that patting a child on the head is the ultimate affront or that throwing your rubbish on the fire is insulting to the gods? Well have a little read of these here tips and hopefully you might avoid a few of the most common tourist faux pas....

Dos ● Be respectful - don't take photos without asking, don't touch things in the ger and don't have long conversations in a language your hosts
can't understand.

● Go to the left hand side of a ger when you enter; the right hand side is the domain of the family. ● Accept food (most likely dairy products, tea or airag) when offered to you. Almost every ger will have a hospitality plate piled high with
curds and biscuits which will be offered to you when you enter, along with salty tea. You should always take what is offered - try not to refuse anything. If you don't like what you have been given, take a small sip or bite - or pretend to if it greatly upsets you - and leave the rest on the table. If you finish anything, the plate or bowl will be filled up.

● Accept snuff if it is offered to you. This is between males only. f you want some snuff, empty a tiny portion on your hand, between your
(downward-facing) first finger and thumb. Raise your hand to a nostril, take a long, deep inhalation and smile widely. If you don't want any snuff, just go through the motions anyway, but don't inhale. If the snuffbox is empty, don't make any comment (he has run out of snuff or can't afford any) - pretend there is some. The snuff and bottle can also be appreciated by loosening the lid without opening it fully and then sniffing the neck lid area appreciatively - which is somewhat simpler.

● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●

Be aware of the altar, which will be at the back of the ger. Try not to sit with your back to it, and don't point your feet towards it. Keep your sleeves rolled down, if you have any, or pretend to, if you have short sleeves; try not to expose your wrists. Accept food or drink with your right hand (or with both if the dish or cup is heavy), with the left hand supporting the right elbow. Ensure you remove your gloves when shaking hands if you are wearing them Sit cross-legged with your feet underneath you. Leave a small gift, other than money, for your hosts. Grab the hand of a Mongolian if you have accidentally kicked their feet. When offered some vodka, dip the ring finger of your right hand into the glass, and lightly flick a drop (not too much - vodka is also sacred) once towards the sky, once in the air 'to the wind', and once to the ground. If you don't want any vodka, go through the customs anyway, put the same finger to your forehead, say thanks, and return the glass to the table.

Don’ts ● Lean against a support column or wall of the ger, they represent stability. ● Whistle inside a ger.

● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●

Stand on or lean over the ger threshold. Stamp out a fire or put water or any rubbish on it; fire is sacred. Walk in front of an older person. Take food from a communal plate with your left hand. Touch other people's hats. Leave your hat on the floor. Walk over an uurga (lasso pole). Spill any milk, it's very unlucky! Touch people ( including children) on the head or hold their shoulder.

Obviously there is rather a lot to remember here so don't get your jodhpurs in a twist and just try and remember some of the more important ones. The nomads know you are foreign and are not going to be acquainted with all their myriad of customs, but a little perceived effort to respect them will get you a long way.

Medical Back-up by Prometheus
The Mongol Derby is an adventure, so once you set forth into the wilderness it's down to you to get yourself to the finish line. If you retire from the race for anything but a medical emergency you will need to get yourself to the finish line by whatever means you can. However since this is a very dangerous event we have two expert medical teams ready to respond to emergencies to scoop up the bits and stick them back together. Our fully equipped medical units are supplied by the marvellous people at Prometheus Medical who are ready to deal with all manner of medical mishap. The units are not just packed to the rafters with medical gubbins and supremely qualified medics, they also have satellite phones and trackers galore so we can get them in the right place double quick. As a rider you'll get a satellite tracking device which shows us where you are at all times even if you haven't got a clue. The data from the trackers is monitored by Derby HQ in UB so we can keep the emergency support vehicles in the right area. Should you find yourself in a medical emergency you just press a button on the tracker and the nearest team will be sent to your aid. If you're seen on the tracking system to stay still for too long anywhere other than at a horse station our support teams will sneak up to check things out. The emergency back-up won't be visible unless you need it. If you are badly injured and have to be taken out of the race, you will be evacuated to Ulaanbaatar either by jeep or helicopter. Please make sure you have fully comprehensive medical insurance for the Mongol Derby. Going back to this here adventure idea, we strongly suggest you ride with the means to treat the most likely health problems you will encounter- it needn't weigh much and will save you masses of time and misery if you can nip a problem in the bud. So- bring high-factor suncreen and lip balm, sterile wipes, sterile dry dressings and highly adhesive tape to dress any saddle sores, plenty of electrolytes for rehydration, foot powder or talc for your sweaty bits, some decent pain killers and anti-inflammatories and some anti-histamines if you are allergy-prone. You'll also appreciate some bug spray. The Prometheus team will also be giving a medical briefing at the pre-race training session in Mongolia.

Pre-Race Fitness
You will not have been granted access to this guide unless you have made the grade as a rider and passed our application process. However, if you are not ‘riding fit’ at present, or even if you are a regular rider, you will still need to put in the hours to get ready for the Derby. You will be riding for 12 hours a day or maybe even more, every day, for 1000kms. Do not underestimate the physical demands of the event just because in theory you’ll be carried by a horse. The less fit you are, the quicker you will tire and the greater the risk you will pose to your horses and to yourself. So, for their sakes as well as your own, you must take your own physical condition seriously. Fall off or lame your horse and you could be 20kms from the nearest horse station, and that’s quite a jog. The best way of preparing for the Mongol Derby is to ride as much as possible. Don't expect to be able to get on these Mongol horses at half-fitness and be able to ride 1000 km without seriously hurting yourself. Bear in mind that these horses are very different to anything you might have ridden in your home country. They're smaller, they have harder mouths, they have eight speeds and they're pretty wild. So practicing on a wide range of horses prior to the race would be a good idea. As would riding that slightly wild horse in the yard that you normally tend to avoid. It's great practice if you can bum spare rides on strange horses, and be forced to 'read' them, and work out if they are a lazy type, a goer, fit, unfit. You will need to get to grips with a horse's attitude and condition in short order during the Derby, and this is hard-won experience! You'll also need to get used to exercising in all winds and weathers- all very well running 10kms on a treadmill while watching X-Factor re-runs at the gym, but it's not necessarily going to help you tough it out when you have another 20kms to ride and there's a hailstorm. In addition, riders must be under 85kgs, fully clothed ready for riding, to be allowed to ride the Derby. If you are close to this weight limit you will need to watch your weight carefully and take the necessary steps to lose weight if required. You won’t get any refund from us if you sign up and subsequently cannot make the weight. We have enlisted the help of Maggie Pattinson, an endurance riding expert, to act as a ‘guru’ to the selected riders in the run-up to the event. She can arrange distance riding practice, advise on training programmes both in and out of the saddle, give input on useful equipment and how to simulate the conditions you will experience during the event. Regular contact with Maggie can give riders an enormous advantage and we are extremely pleased to have her on board. In her own words, "each km has be trained for. Whilst the Derby is not an endurance race for the horses you will be riding, the principles of pacing and horse management over long distances will be critical to your and your horses’ enjoyment of this adventure."

Hygeine, Health and Nutrition
You need to look after your own hygiene, health and nutrition. There won’t be any facilities in between the Start Point and the Finish Point so you may well get a tiny bit smelly. But really – being dirty can increase your chances of infection should you get sores from riding or cut yourself cutting up wild onions or something. So make sure you prepare for this! See the Medical Support chapter for our medical kit-list, and add to it if you need to. Also be aware that the fitter you are and the better your general health in the run-up to the event, the more robust you are likely to be once out there. So be good to yourself! You need also to work out food for yourself. We will provide food at the Start and Finish, and the urtuu families will provide local food at the urtuus, but if you are either a vegetarian or plan to camp out between urtuus, you will need to bring a supply of your own food. This is just the kind of thing to discuss on the rider forum- from sherbet dip-dabs to bales of biltong, everyone's got an opinion on the best expedition food. If you enjoy meat and dairy, you'll probably enjoy eating with the Mongolians, and you'll pass through a few soums en route where you'll be able to get some Mars bars if you're desperate.

There are a number of vaccinations that you can have before you travel to Mongolia. For advice and information about these please see your local GP or travel clinic. Make sure you do this in plenty of time if you want to have the vaccinations. Nomad Travel Clinics are an excellent place to start. Message from Nomad about health stuff... "No matter what your adventure, health is one of the most essential elements. So whether you’re on a Rally or Run, a Junket or a Derby, get the right advice from the travel health experts at Nomad Travel Clinics. They have 7 locations across the UK with specialist travel health nurses on hand to vaccinate and advise on medical kits. And don’t forget that as an Adventurist, you can will receive 10% off vaccinations and travel health equipment. Click here for more information on the Nomad Travel website >>

Travel Insurance
The kind (or perhaps slightly mad) adventure specialist people at Campbell Irvine have offered to provide you riders insurance for the Mongol Derby 2011 at only £73 of our lovely Queen’s finest sterling pounds. This is for up to 32 days cover. Anyone who is a resident in the UK or European Union can apply for cover... If you live outside the UK or European Union it is still vital to get the right travel insurance for your journey! When your arm falls off in the desert you'll be grateful for it. It’s important to get the right insurance for your exact needs and tell your insurers exactly what you intend to get up to so that you’re not caught out if the unexpected happens. Don’t forget to check all the details and get the policy you need. You will have to show this policy to the Event Directors, Katy or Tom at least two weeks prior to the start of the pre-Derby training session. You can do this by scanning us a copy of the full policy wording and certificate to And because the medical facilities in the steppe are not comprehensive by any means, you should be sure to find out exactly what the emergency cover available in Mongolia through your insurance policy is before the commencement of the Mongol Derby. If you do chose to use Campbell Irvine, they are a completely separate organisation so if you have any questions about the cover or any aspect of the policy you need to contact them directly on the details below: Telephone: +44(0) 20 7937 6981 Email:

Personal Gubbins
The only pieces of equipment you are obliged to carry are a riding hat, a Camelbak rucksack or similar water-carrying vessel (though we might suggest that items such as a yoke with a bucket on each end would be rather too heavy and impractical), the map we give you with the Urtuu and water hole coordinates marked, some kind of navigation instrument (GPS coordinates will be provided so a handheld GPS unit might be what you choose to use) and the SPOT tracking device so that we can see where you are. Other than these things, what you bring is up to you. We've set a 5kg weight limit on equipment as we don't want the horses to be weighed down with endless bits and pieces. See the Weight Limits section of the rules for the details on this. Some suggestions for other equipment are:

● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●

Para cord or similar strong string Sleeping bag (able to cope with fluctuations in temperature) Bivi bag Basic medical kit Leatherman or similar multi-tool Torch / headtorch Tiny keyring torch Water purification tablets or something like a Katadyn water filter A Camelbak GPS and spare lithium batteries Ziplock bags (very useful for batteries) Bungee cords Suncream Sunglasses Mongolian phrasebook Lighters Something warm Something waterproof A wicking top Maybe a spare pair of pants

What you wear and how stinky you get is up to you. Ride in your underpants if you wish, but you might be better off in chaps / jodhpurs. One piece of kit which has proved to be a huge hit is a photographer's jacket with multiple pockets. Great for easy access to essentials like GPS, headtorch, sunscreen. Less essential items which you could bring are:

● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●

Very small lightweight one man tent. Gelert or Alpkit for example, make nifty little one man tents. Roll mat (if you're a bit soft) A few army rations (although it's easier just to man up and eat what the nomads eat) Lip protection (you should have seen the state of some people's chapped lips in 2009) Wet wipes - great for getting clean(ish) while in your sleeping bag A sponge for cooling the horses A cloth / sponge for cleaning sweat and grime off your girths. The less dirt and dried sweat there is on your girths, the less chance of girth galls A spare bit of sheepskin for putting under girths, under your bums Saddle soap Small gifts to give to the nomads (tiny torches, whisky miniatures, sweets...)

Swedish fire steel Please remember this list is not a comprehensive outline of what you should bring but merely some suggestions to help you prepare – what you bring really is up to you…

Team Website
As a rider signed up to the Mongol Derby you now have access to our website system that allows you to build your team website. We've tried to make this as easy to use as possible, but still allowing you the ability to customise the website to your taste. You do not need any experience of building websites or knowledge of html, however if you do have such skills then you can use the advanced mode to further customise your team page. Follow the Manage Website link on your user homepage in the teams module to access your website control panel. We have placed help & tips across the control panel where you see this image: If you have any problems, spot a bug or have suggestions as to how the system can be improved, drop us an email on Content From the control panel you can configure and add content. You can setup your team blog, add specific pages with information about the vehicle for example, add photos to galleries, add videos via YouTube and upload or report on your press coverage. By adding your JustGiving or FirstGiving fundraising page link under the charity section you will be able to place donate buttons or the fundraising widgets on your website and will also enable us to display the results of your fundraising efforts on the teams list. Themes You can select a theme for your website which basically defines how the site looks. You can switch between themes while the content will remain the same. We have a few default themes to choose from, however you can further customise these to create your own themes.

Historical Background
Under Chinggis Khan’s regime, a postal system was developed which bound his Great Empire together. Riders would go flat out across thousands of miles to carry messages for the Grand Khaan. Along the way were a series of Morin Urtuus - horse stations - at which messengers could change their horses before galloping on. This way the messengers would be able to ride for days on end on a series of fresh steeds, their kidneys bound in silk to stop them bleeding. Legend has it that they would even drink their horses blood for sustenance. Marco Polo wrote about this mighty postal system:

"At some of these stations, moreover, there shall be posted some four hundred horses standing ready for the use of the messengers; at others there shall be two hundred, according to the requirements, and to what the Emperor has established in each case. At every twenty-five miles, as I said, or anyhow at every thirty miles, you find one of these stations, on all the principal highways leading to the different provincial governments; and the same is the case throughout all the chief provinces subject to the Great Kaan…And in sooth this is a thing done on the greatest scale of magnificence that ever was seen. Never had emperor, king, or lord, such wealth as this manifests! For it is a fact that on all these posts taken together there are more than 300,000 horses kept up, specially for the use of the messengers. The thing is on a scale so wonderful and costly that it is hard to bring oneself to describe it." (From the Book of Ser Marco Polo: The Venetian Concerning Kingdoms and Marvels of the East, Book Second. Part 1.Chapter XXXVI)
Amazingly, the system of Urtuus was not closed down until the Autumn of 1949 - exactly 60 years before the world's first Mongol Derby in August 2009. The Mongol Derby is structured around this ancient postal system so you will be riding from one Urtuu to the next to swap your steed and continue on your way. How you find your way between each point is entirely up to you and your wits. There will be no pointers, no guides and no liveried staff at the Urtuus to check you in or help you with re-tacking. You really will be on your own with only the wilderness, probably a fair amount of mutton, the urtuus and the nomadic families you will meet along the way.

The Course
The Adventurists' Mongol Derby team will map the course in advance of the Derby. We select nomadic families to host the urtuus, source horses and Derby staff, and strike a balance between a course which is interesting and varied to ride, and one with enough water sources. If water on the course is too scarce during the event (a very dry summer, for example), we will provide water barrels at regular intervals. Due to security reasons we will not give you the GPS co-ordinates of the course until the pre-race training, at which point one of the Adventurists' technical team will download the co-ordinates onto your handheld GPS unit. You will also be given a simple paper map of the course, and the team who be set the course will give you a course overview, pointing out things such as rivers, water sources, soums (villages) and any road or rail crossings.

No urtuu will be more than 40km from the last one, and they will be clearly marked by red numbered flags, as well as red Mongol Derby flags. They'll also be pretty hard to miss, given there will be about 40 horses tied to a line and a small gathering of gers.

Tracking the Route and GPS
How you navigate your way between the urtuus and which route you take is up to you. You don't have to take a GPS (although you do HAVE to carry one of our SPOT trackers) and if you really want to you can navigate between the Urtuus using sign language and a compass. However, you do have to go to each and every urtuu, where you will be signed in and out by the vet and their translator. Missing out an urtuu will be penalised by disqualification (see the Rules section). Due to security reasons we will not give you the GPS co-ordinates of the course until the pre-race training, at which point we will download the coordinates onto your handheld GPS unit. You will also be given a simple paper map of the course, and the Adventurists team who will be setting the course will give you a course overview, including rivers, water sources, soums (villages) and any road or rail crossings. No urtuu will be more than 40 km from the last one, and they will be clearly marked by red numbered flags, as well as red Mongol Derby flags. They'll also be pretty hard to miss, given there will be about 40 horses tied to a line and a small gathering of gers.

Water on the Course
Water will be available at regular intervals along the entire course. This will either be in the form of wells, rivers, springs, ponds, water holes, gers, urtuus or water we have specifially placed on the course. Whenever you see a ger or settlement this indicates water. Wells you come across in soums will often be locked. At a few points along the course we will have placed barrels filled with water for your horses to drink. The GPS points of these barrels will be marked on the course as a waypoint, so look out for them. These barrels will be placed where the natural water sources are too far apart. Please purify any water that you drink. Although it is tempting, please do not drink water from the Tuul River. Herders allow their animals to drink from here but this river comes straight from UB and is polluted with heavy metals etc. The Mongolian word for water is yc (ooc). Please be very aware of the dangers of dehydration to both you and your horse.

Filming your Escapades
There's nothing stopping you from making your own film about your Mongol Derby, in fact we would recommend you do - particularly in conjunction with the marvellous Adventurist's Film Festival. Have a good read all about it as if you're footage is up to scratch you could be seeing it on the silver screen at the next festival. However, if you want to do anything commercial with your footage, like get it shown on the telly, or use it in some kind of commercial campaign for advertising and all that caper, it's rather a different matter, and you need to run it past HQ first to make sure it doesn't conflict with anything that's being planned for the overall Derby. Ants is the one to talk to about this, so just drop her an email at It's the same deal with the sponsorship, we want to be able to say yes to everything and will always do our best to support your ideas and help you out if you need it. But we really need to know in advance to work it all out. If we don't know plans in advance it can get tricky later down the line if there are conflicts between two projects. For the finer details on the agreement with the event organisers about media stuff, see the Rider Entry Agreement, or give us a shout. All this doesn't mean that you can't do it; we love the adventures being on telly, we just need to be contacted first to make sure it's OK. If you have any questions just give us a shout through the Get in Touch pages on the website.

Before you consider applying for this race we want to point out how dangerous the Mongol Derby is, and how dangerous the sport of horse riding is. By taking part in this race you are greatly increasing your risk of severe physical injury. You could break limbs, suffer internal injuries, become paralysed or even die. Whilst much of this website may be written in a light-hearted manner please do not underestimate the extreme nature of the Mongol Derby. Some important things to consider ● You are twenty times more likely to have an accident on a horse than a motorbike.

● ● Falls from horses can result in broken bones, spinal injuries, even brain damage. ● ● The nature of the Mongol Derby means that if you do fall off, the response time of the medical back up is going to depend on where you
are and if you have been able to activate your emergency beacon. And if you are seriously injured you may be hundreds of miles from the nearest hospital.

● ● Every selected rider will have to sign a legally binding rider agreement, in which they will recognise the inherent dangers of taking part in
the Mongol Derby.

● ● The Mongol Derby is an extremely physically demanding and dangerous race. This really is the toughest horse race in the world and that is
a title it holds for good reason. *Some of these figures were published by the BBC

How charity works?
One of our main principles is that we don't blur the line between giving money to charity and having a bloody good adventure. So we don't touch a single penny of the money that is donated, it goes direct to the charity. When you give some of your hard earned cash to a team you can be sure it all goes to the right place. Teams that sign up for adventures are asked to raise £500 for their adventure's Official Charity, and £500 for a charity of their very own choice. Each event has an Official Charity that our teams raise money for. This means that each organisation gets a meaningful sum of money to benefit their projects. It also means we can support projects in the areas our adventures thunder through.

Official Charity
The Mongol Derby in 2011 is going to be supporting Mercy Corps. We have had a fruitful association with Mercy Corps across multiple adventures and they have been an official charity for the Mongol Derby since its inception in 2009. We are delighted to be working with them again and hope you will be inspired by the fantastic work they do in Mongolia. After the race, our resident Charities rep Claire will provide you with updates on how the money you have raised has been spent and the impact your and your sponsors' generosity is having on the communities you will be supporting. You can continue to fundraise until six weeks after the sun sets on the glorious event, and we will be in touch on a regular basis to support you in your charitable efforts. While we want to assign plenty of your sponsors' cash to help Mongolia, we also recognise that you, the riders, will have charitable projects of your own which have special significance for you. Once you have raised £500 for our official charity, you are welcome to nominate a registered charity of your choice for your ongoing fundraising. More on this in our Fundraising chapter. The Adventurists' mighty teams have been supporting excellent Mercy Corps projects around the world for years. They are a massive supporter of what you guys do and they work tirelessly to make sure the donations you raise make a massive positive impact to the communities they work with in Mongolia. Mercy Corps supports rural communities in Mongolia to meet their economic and social needs, helping individuals, families and communities to become more selfsufficient, diversified in their production, and better linked to local, regional and national markets. Over the past ten years Mercy Corps has established a strong reputation across the vast Gobi region, and continues to work with business associations and local organizations to ensure a robust economy that preserves ancient traditions. In this section you can find information and gubbins to help with your fundraising and details about how the money you raise will be spent. Mercy Corps are keen to make contact with you and help you along the way. They can do all sorts of clever stuff including helping to secure media coverage for their supporting teams. Have a look around and if you have any questions, give them a shout using the contact details at the bottom of this page.

Welcome Message from Mercy Corps
Dear Riders, On the 6 August 2011 35 of you will mount your steeds and set off on a 1000 km race across the empty wilderness of Mongolia. This is no ordinary horse race; the Mongol Derby is not a test of the horse’s speed, but of the riders’ skill, endurance and courage. Mercy Corps are delighted to be the official charity for this epic quest, which will resurrect the famous horse stations that Chinggis Khan used to rule his vast empire. This race will use around 1000 semi wild horses and with stations every 30-40 km this is certainly going to be one mighty adventure. The money raised by you will help to fund Mercy Corps projects for the rural Mongolian herding communities that will be so integral to the success of the race. These communities receive very little support from elsewhere and Mercy Corps strives to ensure that they meet their economic and social needs by helping individuals to become more self sufficient and better linked to local regional and national markets. Good luck! Best wishes, Dominic Graham Country Manager, Mercy Corps Mongolia

Contacting Mercy Corps
The team at Mercy Corps towers are really keen for you to get in touch if you are supporting them so give them a holla! Phone: +44 (0) 131 662 5160 Fax: +44 (0) 131 662 6648 Email: / Web: Snail Mail...

Mercy Corps, European Headquarters, 40 Sciennes, Edinburgh, EH9 1NJ, Scotland, UK

Recommended Charity
Under Derby rules you need to raise at least £500 for the official charity Mercy Corps, and then you can raise the other £500 for a charity of your choice. You could carry on raising money for Mercy Corps of course, but if you want to look for a second charity The Adventurists has worked with a bunch of amazing organisations over the past few years. Here's a list of all those charities, which come with a big old recommendation stamp from Adventurists HQ
Other Adventure Official Charities

Mongol Derby 2011 - Mercy Corps Mongol Rally 2011 - Christina Noble Children's Foundation CNCF Mototaxi Junket 2011 & 2012 - Practical Action Rickshaw Run Autumn 2011 & 2012 - Frank Water Rickshaw Run Spring 2011 - Social Change & Development SCAD Rickshaw Run Spring 2011 - International Rescue Corps
Other Recommended Charities

1 Heart (Cameroon) - Ape Action Africa (Cameroon) - Camda (Mongolia) - Cesvi (International) - CYPPD (Mongolia) - Hope and Homes (International) - Maiti Nepal (Nepal) - Nadieshda (International) - Operation Smile (International) - Send a Cow (Africa) -

Donating Online

We are using as the official fundraising website. You all need to use the Just Giving site so we can monitor the money coming and trace it back to you. There are excellent features on there to help your fundraising. You also need to embed your Just Giving “widget” (this is all explained on their website) into your Adventurists’ rider page.
Offline Donations

If you donate money directly to the charities, you can add this as an 'offline amount' on your online donations page. First, contact the charity to make sure they know the donation is from your team. Then send us an email at to tell us how much you raised offline and donated directly, and a contact email address at the charity, so we can add it to your team page and overall Derby total.
Over the £1000 minimum

We surveyed our brave Adventurers at the end of 2009, specifically about their fundraising efforts and experiences, and your feedback was invaluable. Many of you epxressed a desire to raise money for charities with which you had a personal connection, and for this reason we have changed the minimum dontaion to our official charity. You still need to raise a total of £1,000, but £500 of this can go to a registered charitable cause of your choice. Once you've reached the minimum donation of £500 for Mercy Corps, you can nominate another registered charity of your choice. You need to raise the money for the additional charities through the same online donation website.
Finding Out More

If you have any questions about the Official Charity or about the charity bit of the Mongol Derby in general, then either contact the charity directly, or give us a shout at Adventurists towers - Fundraising Pointers
The Charity

People will want to know why they should sponsor you, so you'll need to tell them what you are doing, why you are doing it, who the charity is, how they will spend the money and who will benefit. The more you know about the awesome cause you are supporting, the more convincing you will be to potential donors. Remember to keep the charity informed of your efforts and ask them for any help you need. They may provide you with leaflets explaining what they do and how your sponsorship will be used. The charity may also be able to help with further fundraising ideas.
Play the Numbers Game

Ask as many people as possible because it is often the people who you least expect to support you who will surprise you with a fat wedge. Plan a target group - think of everyone you know, friends, family, work colleagues, and make a list. Put your request for sponsorship in writing, and always personalise it if you know the person well enough - never use Dear Sir/Madam. Let them know exactly why they should support you. Explain who are you going to be helping and why.

If you have a personal link to the charity, give some details. Include some information to show how the money that this particular charity has received in the past has helped specific cases. Make sure you include details of your fundraising profile on See the user pack on the site to find out your team specific URL that you can send out to the world. The fewer the obstacles in their way, the more likely you are to receive a positive response. Where possible, offer something in return.
Be Innovative

Don't randomly send letters asking for money, you'll rarely get a response, let alone any money. Instead of asking someone outright to put their hands in their pockets and give you cash, why not give them something back in return. An example is to find a cinema that will allow you to sell tickets for a specific showing on 'sale or return'. You can sell the tickets for £10 each to a new film, and pay the cinema the cover price i.e. £6. If you manage to fill the cinema, you could raise your entire donation in one go. If you don't mange to sell all of the tickets, give them back before the film's screening and you will have lost nothing at all. Invite friends to a birthday party and ask them not to bring a present but to sponsor you instead. Negotiate the free hire of a bar and charge friends (advertise in local papers) £10 admission, find a DJ and again with good support, you might be surprised how much you can raise in a one-off event.
Making That Extra £1

Every pound counts. Here are a few ideas on how to make that little extra: ● Collect loose change in buckets, not tins ● Get guests to empty their pockets as they leave your event ● Fine people for not participating or donating enough ● Pass around a pint glass to be filled with pound coins

Make a comprehensive list of potential sponsors and supporters. Include relatives, friends, neighbours, sports & social club contacts, school/college friends, colleagues, business contacts, bank manager, Christmas card list, etc.
At Work

This is always a great place to get the sponsorship requests circulated, or perhaps a mass e-mail sent out explaining what you are doing. Give people as much information as possible. Many people will admire what you are doing and will be willing to support you financially as they know that they would never do it themselves. Put some information on notice boards or in your company newsletter about what you are planning to do, how much you need to raise, and where the money is going.

Ask customers and suppliers (if appropriate to do so), and stand by busy areas (the canteen or gym at lunch time) with a collecting tin. If you work for a large corporation, they may have sponsorship or specific departments to deal with charitable donations. Find out who to contact and arrange a meeting. Their advice will be valuable whether sponsorship is given or not. Many companies now work on a match-giving scheme whereby the company matches any money raised by you. Smaller companies are also great targets as opposed to large corporations where no personal contact is available. Try asking family and friends for any contacts they may have. At Home Anyone who comes to mind, don't be afraid to approach them to explain what you are doing and to ask them. It is always advisable to start the conversation with "Don't feel obliged BUT". Ask friends, relatives, people at your local pub, sports club, and local businesses - they are all potential sponsors. Keep reminding yourself that every penny counts! Never leave home without details of how they can donate. Merchandising Teams in the past have sold t-shirts and the like to help raise their charity donation. But be warned - you are only exempt from paying tax on profits if you comply with the following regulations: the profits are applied solely to the purpose of the Charity; the trading is not regular; the trading does not compete with other legitimate businesses. Your merchandise needs to be clear that it represents a rider taking part in the Derby rather than the overall Derby itself. You also need to check out the guidelines on using the logos when you download it from the team area of the website. Collection Boxes When making collections, you should think about carrying change in case someone only has a large note that they are not prepared to part with. Most charities have their own stickers and collection boxes, but there are certain rules: ● Collections must be licensed by the local council or its equivalent; collectors must be over 16; ● Collectors must carry collection permits (ask the charity); ● Collectors must wear an official badge (ask the charity); ● Money must be collected in a sealed tin or envelope; ● Boxes must be opened and money counted in the presence of two or more people; a return must be made by the licensing authority; ● Street collectors may not cause an obstruction or solicit activity for money (don't rattle tins). How to raise the £50,000

Ants who works at Adventurists HQ raised nearly £50 000 from one of her adventures when she drove a tuk-tuk from Bangkok to Brighton, which we reckon qualifies her to know what she’s jabbering on about. So here’s what she’s got to tell you…

“Fundraising is a competitive business these days. Everywhere we turn people are trying to make us part with our hard earned cash in order to support a worthy cause. In the last few months I’ve had friends swimming the channel, trekking across deserts, climbing mountains and running marathons; every one of them for a good cause and every one of them wanting my support. As the challenges get wackier and the causes seem to multiply, standing out from the crowd is becoming increasingly hard. If you want to achieve your fundraising goal you’ve got to be innovative, passionate about your cause and unerringly determined. However, don’t be deterred, if you go about it the right way and give yourself enough time fundraising can be incredibly rewarding. First things first. Before you do anything you need to decide which charity you want to support and what your fundraising target is going to be. You can then start to dream up ways in which you are going to raise this money. Having agreed on this the next thing is to work out a fundraising plan. How are you going to raise this money and how long have you got to do it? What events can you put on in order to raise funds? This could be anything from a curry night to an auction of promises to a fancy dress dog show. Because I had past experience in putting on club nights and contacts with some DJ’s and bands we opted to put on a party at a club in London with a well known band, DJ’S and a fantastic raffle. The latter alone raised £500. The main thing to remember is that when it comes to fundraising there are no rules. The more you can innovate and the more determined you are the more successful you will be. Make sure as many people as possible get to hear of what you are doing and don’t be afraid to step outside the box and try things that haven’t been done before. Ants’ Top Tips ● Give yourself a realistic amount of time to achieve your goal ● Choose a charity that means something to you. If people see you have a personal relationship with the cause they are far more likely to donate. ● Be creative in your approach to fundraising; think of ways to make people part with their money and get something out of it at the same time. ● Make friends with your local press and get them to publicise your cause or any events you are putting on. Publicity is one of the best ways of raising money. ● Be bold. Don’t be afraid to stand out and make a fool of yourself! Make people laugh – humour is key in getting people to support you.

Write a really good, punchy letter describing what you are raising money for and why and send it to as many people as you can think of. Family, friends, local businesses… The more people you write to the more money you will raise. I must have written about 400 letters in total to get the money for my adventure. ● Find out which celebrities are associated with your charity and write to them via their agent. See if they will endorse what you are doing in any way, even a quote can help. Press in particular will prick up their ears if you have celebrity endorsement. ● Find out if there are any charitable trusts in your area and when they meet. There are hundreds of these in the UK and they normally meet twice a year to decide where to distribute their funds."

This here mighty adventure could cost you absolutely bugger all if you put time and effort into sponsorship. This can mean selling companies a bit of advertising space on your lovely vehicle or the website or even your body. Think creatively - why not tattoo “Dave Fromely’s Saddlery” on your forehead, an advertisement for life, now there’s a catch phrase to get the sponsors rolling in. However if you want some real advice on how to get your adventure sponsored read on. Make sure anyone you extract money from knows exactly where their money is going and what it’s for. You need to make sure there’s absolutely no confusion between sponsorship for your own reasonable costs and donations to charity from companies in return for benefits. Some things to do before you approach anyone.
Know the charities

There is no point arranging a meeting with someone and not being able to answer their questions about the charities and their work. Read up on all the charities’ fine work and make sure you understand it – this may sound obvious but often development projects can have many additional benefits which contribute to the most obvious and visible benefits. Arm yourself with some solid facts about the charities and some leaflets. Have the name of a contact at each charity who can verify the event if the company wants this. (See charity section online for Charity contacts who will be able to help with your fundraising and your questions.) Know the event Use the Mongol Derby website and to gather as much information on the event as possible. Funny statistics, stories and scrapes will all contribute to selling your pitch to a sponsor. Finding companies to target If you can find a local saddlery, an outdoor store, a GPS maker or anything relevant to the trip, then target them for sponsorship. Spending a bit of time online is hugely beneficial – use sites like to find local companies that are relevant to your trip, i.e. saddleries, vets, adventure outfitters.

Spending a bit of time online is hugely beneficial – use sites like to find local companies that are relevant to your trip, i.e. car sales, garages, travel companies etc. Know the companies you are targeting You will have to sell the Mongol Derby and yourself to the company, so show an understanding of their business and show them how you can help promote their business. It's also worth mentioning that they will be the only company in their given field that will be offered this marvellous opportunity. (Companies will not appreciate having their rivals advertised alongside themselves!) Writing a proposal Putting the time and effort into a good proposal is one of the most important steps in getting some money in return. It needs to be short (no longer than 2/3 pages) and visually appealing. You need to grab the attention of the reader straight away as many companies receive hundreds of sponsorship applications daily. If you know your way around Photoshop or a similar graphics programme, it is definitely worth the effort to pimp your proposal with photos and bold graphics. Alternatively you can use a Word based programme pretty effectively with the addition of graphics and photos. The first page should introduce the event and yourself. Try to be as succinct as possible and include links to the Mongol Derby website and your rider pages. The following pages should be a clear list of what you can offer to the company. Be as creative as you can – space on clothes or on your rider pages for company logos etc are all worth money but only if you can ensure return on the exposure. To do this it’s important to mention any press coverage you have received/will be receiving. You then need to establish what you want in return. This may vary from money to products depending on which companies you are targeting. It’s easiest to do a generic proposal for financial and in-kind (product) proposals that can then be sent out in bulk to as many companies you can think of! Sending out your proposal If you are sending your proposal via email, its worth making it into a PDF as it’s a smaller neater file to send and receive. Taking the effort to send each proposal out individually is worth it; find out who is in responsible for sponsorship in the company you are targeting. Briefly summarise the proposal in the text of the email to ensure its read, but don’t make it too long! Remember to include your contact details in both the proposal and the email text. Send as many proposals as you can. Securing sponsorship can require a lot of patience and persistence! Focusing on smaller companies that are local to your area is a good start, they often don’t have budgets allocated as far in advance as the larger companies, and you are more likely to be able to offer media coverage of their brand that is of use to them.

Following up Leave it about a week for your proposal to be read and thought about, but not forgotten and then give them a call to follow up. This can be the most important part of securing the sponsorship as relying on the companies to make the effort to call you can be a bad idea! Tips for once you have a lead What would their alternative be? Find out what a full page colour advertisement in the local paper costs (probably the most expensive in the paper), and the price. The company will get an advert in the paper when you get your photos done with their name plastered all around you, plus they get the goodwill gesture of supporting a rider that is raising money for charity. Be nice to receptionists The most powerful person in any company is the receptionist, upset them and you'll never get to speak to the people that can authorise your sponsorship. Try not to tell the receptionist too much however, otherwise they will just relay the message and you might not get put through to state your claim. Cash is expensive At the end of the day, we all want to raise money for the charity. Sadly, many companies will be reluctant to give you a pile of twenties, but they may well offer products or services that you can sell on or offer as prizes in raffles etc. A company can look much more generous if they donate £500 worth of products rather than £250 in cash, but the cost to them will invariably be less. Your local auction house may well be willing to put your items in their next general sale at a reduced (or free) commission rate. Also try getting sponsors for a specific part of your trip so they know where their money is going and what you’ll spend it on. Delivering the goods ROI (Return on Investment – the vomit‐inducing industry term). Keep your sponsors informed at all the stages of your preparation. A newsletter won't break the bank and will keep interest levels in your efforts high. Get in touch with local media Three main reasons: Get your mugs in the media and you will be surprised at the response that you will get. A plea for sponsorship and donations will often result in a few calls from individuals and companies because what you’re doing makes people laugh. Regional media are normally more easily convinced to include the names of your sponsors than national media – use the local link and get local sponsors into your regional media, and go for all of it: TV, online, print and radio. Once you have a journo hooked at an early stage they will probably follow your progress all the way and do regular updates, which gets more exposure for your sponsors.

Information to hand out You’ll meet loads of people who will probably want to know your contact details and website address – why not print out some brief blurb so you can direct people to your fundraising profile or rider website. No corporate love? If selling the Derby to a company isn't your cup of tea, then stick to individuals. Friends, family and work colleagues are all good sources of funds, and make sure you've got lots of sponsorship information for them to hand out for you. Word of mouth is a handy weapon. This guide is not intended to be the definitive guide to sponsorship; it is just a few ideas so come up with your own master plans and let us know how it goes!

Visas & Paperwork
Visa Machine
Visas are an expensive pain in the arse. But they are essential. Incase you're not up to speed with the world of visas, these are basically your permission to enter a country. The countries that you need to get a visa for vary dependent on your nationality and so it requires a bit of research to be sure you don't get stuck - and you would quite literally get stuck for an indefinite period between one country and another should you get this wrong. Requirements and details about visas change every year - in fact the requirements for some countries change by the day. We run a visa service which can help to alleviate said pain and answer your queries - it can be worth working out the costs and requirements for visas early on so that when the Derby comes around, the boring paperwork like this is well and truly sorted.

Travel Insurance
There are numerous travel insurance options out there, but what's important for you is that you have the right kind of cover. It might be that you are interested in a policy that can offer you cover for the Mongol Derby Entry Fee in case something happens to you and you can't come on the Derby after the normal refund period is up. Or it might be that your interest is only in finding out what kind of cover is available to you on the adventure itself. Whether only the latter, or both, this is really important. Not only are you obliged if you sign up to the Mongol Derby by the Team Entry Agreement to get the correct kind of cover, but you could find yourself in a whole world of unpleasant trouble if you are, for example, injured or harmed in some way and unable to pay the medical bills. Because of the inherent risks to your possessions, your health and even your life on the Mongol Derby, you need to research your choice of travel insurance very thoroughly and be sure that your insurer knows exactly how you're going to be traveling. We’ve teamed up with one insurance company, Campbell Irvine who are able to provide insurance cover for the Mongol Derby without charging you an extortionate amount. Click the image on the right if you want to find out more. Anyone who is a resident in the UK or European Union can apply for cover from these guys...

If you live outside the UK or European Union it is still vital to get the right travel insurance for your journey! So please be sure to research this properly before or after you sign up for the Derby. Campbell Irvine are not the only insurer out there who will be able to provide you the correct level of cover for this type of journey, but remember that if you use an insurance company who are not fully aware of exactly what the Mongol Derby entails and the risks it involves, it is your responsibility to make them understand what you're going to undertake. Many insurers may reject your application on the basis that their policies cannot cover you for the risks involved in dong something like the Mongol Derby - so you may need to research your options extensively and persistently! Campbell Irvine are a completely separate organisation so if you are interested in what they have to offer or have any questions about the cover or any aspect of the policy you need to contact them directly. Telephone: +44(0) 20 7937 6981 Email:

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Contact Us
To fill our e-mail inboxes with thrilling tales: Mongol Derby: General: Charity: Media: To scribe to us in old fashioned scribble: The Adventurists, The Independent Republic of Adventurism, Hamilton House, 80 Stokes Croft, Bristol, BS1 3QY United Kingdom To sound our telephonic devices for the possibility of one-way, perhaps even two-way speech transmission: +44 (0) 117 329 0884