A MOUNT Isa woman is one of four Australians who will take on the longest and toughest horse race in the world.
Camille Champagne is the co-manager of Linda Downs station located 225-kilometres south west of Mount Isa and will travel overseas to compete in the Mongol Derby.
The derby is a 1000-kilometre course that recreates Chinggis Khaan's legendary empire-busting postal system. Riders change semi-wild horses every 40-kilometres, and live with herders and camp under the stars.
Riders are only allowed to carry a five-kilogram survival pack, eat local cuisine and complete the course on their own. Competitors will ride through different terrain and weather conditions adding to the complexity of the challenge.
Ms Champagne was one of the lucky few to be selected to attend the world competition and said she had been preparing for this type of competition for many years.
“I came to Australia nine years ago and I have competed in endurance riding and have trained horses for people here,” she said.
“The longest distance I have competed is 400-kilometres but nothing like the Mongol Derby. In preparation for the derby I have ridden 1000-kilometres in three months along with running and cycling.”
Ms Champagne said she was nervous about competing.
“The derby is on semi-wild ponies that will be very challenging because you could get a horse that throws you off or plays up for the whole 40-kilometres,” she said.
“Also the riders get more exhausted along the journey and keep receiving fresh new horses.
“I have spoken to people who have competed before and a year or more later they remember it as one of the toughest things they have ever done.”
All riders will receive three days of pre-race training including medical briefing, veterinary briefing, technical training, and riding practice, both on the steppe and in the classroom.
Not only is the Mongol Derby an industrial dose of adventure, it’s also about raising money for charity. Each rider was asked to raise a minimum of £1000 for charity, at least £500 of which goes to the derby’s official charity ‘Cool Earth’.
Ms Champagne flew out of Mount Isa for Mongolia on Wednesday July 27. The derby will start on August 4 and the final day of racing will conclude August 14.
You can watch live feeds of the Mongol Derby on The Adventurists Facebook Page. or their website at www.theadventurists.com/mongol-derby/