Donal Fahy wins world’s longest race

Donal Fahy (near) heads Richie Killoran

The Grand National is the longest race run under rules in Britain. Yet its distance of four and a half miles pales into insignificance alongside the distance of the annual Mongol Derby, which has just been won this year by Donal Fahy.

Indeed, you would need 138 of the 165 Nationals run so far to make up the 1,000 kilometres (621 miles) of the Mongol Derby. Of course, that’s a far fetched comparison, but maybe not as much as you might think. The Mongol Derby is a relay race, in which the 35 jockeys are the batons, switching from one horse to another at the several stations along the way.

There’s no set route for the race, so the jockeys find GPS very handy in the 5 kilo survival kit they are allowed to carry. Remarkably, at the end of a week of riding, only 44 seconds separated the first three home, with Fahy beating South African Barry Armitage and close friend Richie Killoran.

After finishing his adventure Killoran said, “It was really tough and exhausting, spending so long in the saddle every day, but it was fantastic and we’re delighted to have done so well. All we’ve had to eat has been sheep and noodles and even the water tasted of sheep. It’ll be interesting to see how much we weigh, but my jeans certainly seem looser than they were.”

Fahy is back in the saddle at Worcester today, and Killoran at Newton Abbot tomorrow. after flying in from Ulan Bator at lunchtime today. The five minutes it takes to cover the 2 mile hurdle will seem like nothing!

The two jockeys have used the opportunity to raise money for the Injured Jockeys’ Fund, but don’t yet know how much their venture will contribute to the work of the charity. It must be one of the most unusual sponsorship events from which it has benefited, and the two jockeys will have a host of stories to tell their weighing room colleagues.

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