Former Olympian and Galong resident Ed Fernon has stamped his claim as Australia’s premier endurance athlete after winning the world’s longest and toughest horse race in record-breaking fashion.
Twenty-nine-year-old Fernon not only conquered the gruelling Mongolian Derby, a whirlwind 1020 kilometre tilt across the unforgiving Eurasian landscape, but also crossed the finish line with South African Barry Armitage in equal first place to etch his name in history.
It’s arguably Fernon’s most incredible achievement to date but the London 2012 modern pentathlete was never truly concerned with personal success.
“This was just a new challenge for me,” he said.
“Winning wasn’t important – rather it was the desire to push myself to the absolute limit.
“Since the Olympics, I’ve been looking for new competitions and ways to test myself each year.
“I love my horses and have quite a few back in Galong so I thought the Mongol Derby would be a good thing to try.”
Fernon’s adventures have been many and varied; from his travels as a young pentathlete to his 7000m ascent of Argentina’s Anconcauga, the Galong boy has seen it all.
The Mongol Derby, however, was far and away his most challenging journey to date.
“Mongolia is an incredible landscape and the quality of competitors was exceptional,” he said
“A lot were endurance riders from around the world, including some very good riders from the South African circuit.
“The Derby is more than just riding though ... it’s being able to navigate and survive, sometimes even without eating.”
Though the journey left him exhausted, the exhilaration of completing one of Earth’s greatest feats has fuelled Fernon’s desire to strive onwards, but not without first visiting home.
“I’m looking forward to a well-earned rest and returning home to Galong to assist the family.”
“it’s always good to get home for a while.”