Wyoming native Bob Long, 70, became the oldest winner of the Mongol Derby, the world’s longest horse race, Aug. 13 according to The League of Adventurists International.
Long is from Cheyenne but now lives in Boise, Idaho. He finished the seven-day, 1,000 kilometer race through the Mongolian steppe at 11:03 a.m. local time, according to a press release from the Adventurists.
“It’s nothing — you just ride 650 miles on a death march. There’s nothing to it,” Long said afterward.
He changed horses 28 times, according to the announcement. Each “semi-wild” horse has to be checked by veterinarians throughout the race, and all of Long’s horses passed the tests, meaning he did not receive any time penalties, the announcement said.
“I’ve only stayed overnight at one horse station,” Long said in a statement. “I’ve been staying with local families. They’re spectacular.”
The race, which began in 2009, is meant to recreate Genghis Khan’s ancient horse messaging system. It claims to also be the world’s toughest horse race.
According to the release, Long did not need medical treatment for any injuries during his ride. Other riders weren’t so lucky, suffering from a broken nose, a concussion and dehydration, among other difficulties.
“Bob isn’t just the oldest, he has ridden better and stronger, camping out more, than anyone else,” Tom Morgan, race director and founder of The Adventurists, said in the release. “We opened up the course this year to make navigation a key skill again, and Bob absolutely nailed it. The man is tougher than a box of concrete.”
“Age is just a number,” Long said.
He has a doctorate in public health, according to the release, and in 2013 he retired from Healthwise, where he was vice president of research and tech development.
South African Wiesman Nel finished second. Margreet Voermans of the Netherlands and three Australians, Jesse Byrne, Justine Hales and Sarah Brownj, finished together in a joint third place. Frank Winters of Texas, Sam Chisholm of Australia and Zsofia Homor of Hungary were next to cross the finish line.
Long is the second American winner, following Texan Justin Nelzen in 2010.
“I am riding to accept the challenge of selecting and managing a good horse across a historical, storied and difficult landscape,” Long said in the announcement. “To interact with the legendary and best horsemen of all time. To test my skill, my nerve and my mental fortitude.”