Briton Tatiana Mountbatten and former University of Exeter student Venetia Philipps are competing in The Mongol Derby for Running with Rangers to help support those who risk their lives protecting Kenya’s endangered wildlife.
Tatiana and Venetia, who lives in Kenya, have entered themselves in this dangerous 10-day (estimated) horse race in which on average, half of the entrants fail to finish.
The pair are riding wild horses over the secret course that runs for 1000km through the Mongolian steppe, replicating Genghis Khan’s legendary postal system.
Riders on the course need to navigate themselves to each of the 25 checkpoints, spaced 40km apart with a map as their only source of guidance.
The size of the horses mean they can only carry 5kg of survival kit with them, and in total, the horses can’t carry more than 85kg. At each checkpoint, the riders can change their steed for the next stage, but whoever finishes first gets first pick of the horses for the next leg, so speed is very much of the essence.
Should they successfully reach their checkpoints, the riders will spend the night in Mongolian families’ yurts before embarking on their next leg the following day.
Running for Rangers
While the experience would be reason enough to take part in the Mongol Derby, Tatiana and Venetia are also competing to raise money for Running For Rangers, who work with Save the Rhino to raise awareness and funds for the welfare of rangers battling on the front line to protect Kenya’s wildlife.
They are hoping to raise £30,000 (at the time of writing, their total was already above £19,000), and all of the money raised will be going directly to aid the rangers themselves. The money will help and support them to not only combat poaching, but stay alive while doing it.
“Elephants and rhinos are under threat of extinction in our lifetime, a tragedy considering that only a couple of decades ago they were abundant throughout the African continent. Estimates suggest that up to 100 elephants are being killed each day, and while much of the attention of this crisis has focused on South Africa, Kenya has suffered just as much, if not more so. The illegal wildlife trade is now worth over $17 billion a year, making poachers more determined to destroy anything and anyone who gets in their way.
“RUNNING FOR RANGERS attacks this problem at it’s heart, supporting the brave rangers who put their lives on the line each day to stop poaching. A video on the work they do can be found in the gallery section of this page.
“Please help us to raise our target of £30,000, every pound donated gets us closer to making a serious difference to the lives of rangers, rhinos and elephants, so that we can all enjoy these wonderful animals with our families and our families’ families for a long time to come. Thank you for all of your help, it is hugely appreciated and we won’t let you down!!”
– Tatiana and Venetia (writing on their Just Giving page)