This is the second year Iqarus has been chosen as the medical partner for the event, which takes place in some of the remotest terrain imaginable. Riders can be 24 hours from definitive care and injuries in the past have ranged from broken bones including ribs, pelvises, wrists, collarbones, ankles, spinal injuries, concussions, torn ligaments, dislocations, and a huge array of medical issues such as heat stress, hypothermia, dehydration and gastro complaints associated with ultra-endurance events in extreme climates.
In 2017, the team performed nine successful evacuations and contributed to an overall finishing rate of 26 riders from 43 starters; one of the highest ratios ever achieved on the Mongol Derby. In 2012 and 2013 the finishing rate was less than 50%.
Riders will navigate independently between stations set 35kms apart, manned by local herding families living in traditional Mongolian gers, and will change horses at every station. This way, the horsepower stays fresh and fast, whilst the riders are pushed to their very physical and mental limits, riding up to 160kms each day in pursuit of the Derby crown.
This year, 44 riders will line up to compete; from Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Portugal, South Africa, the UK, the USA and Uruguay. Ages range from 18 to 70. Some 1,400 horses will be used on the event, each running just one 35km leg, and offered veterinary support throughout the adventure. Riders carry a satellite tracker and are able to summon emergency assistance for horse or rider, but in general they navigate, survive and race independently.
Alex Stronge, Iqarus’ Director of Education, said: “we are delighted to once again be part of the great adventure that is the Mongol Derby. We wish all the riders a successful race and hope to see them all at the finish line. If we do see them beforehand, they can take comfort in knowing that they will be in the care of the most dedicated medical team, committed to providing them the best possible care.”
“Our training team from Hereford Training Centre take a leading role in providing immediate field care to the Derby, bringing their unique skills to bear, while ensuring that their instruction on our MIRA and other courses is based on recent real-world experience when they return to the classroom.”
Katy Willings, the Derby Chief, added: “Iqarus is at the vanguard of remote medical expertise and this event is a fantastic showcase for their unique talents and abilities. The quality of personnel they provide, and the support and advice around protocols for this and future editions of the race, has exceeded my expectations.”