Maxim says sponsorship will help him win the Mongol Derby
Maxim Van Lierde has taken his sponsorship from horse feed company MaxWin as an omen for success in one of the world's toughest horse races.
The former New Plymouth man is putting the final preparations in place for his race in the Mongol Derby – a 1000 kilometre race across the Mongolian Steppe in August.
Van Lierde, 25, son of New Plymouth sculptor Renate Verbrugge, has received sponsorship from Thailand-based horse feed company MaxWin, which will cover the majority of his expenses.
He sees MaxWin's support as a good omen because he intends going over there to win, just like the name of his sponsor suggests.
"My father, Eddy, works for Aviagen in Alabama, USA and a colleague of his is the niece of the CEO of MaxWin," Van Lierde said.
"So she was kind enough to put me in touch with him."
Prior to MaxWin's contribution, Van Lierde was trying to manage a demanding training regime as well as full-time employment.
"It was doable, but it made for some really long days."
He would be on his first horse at 4:45am to fit in the training necessary to prepare for the longest horse race in the world.
"They've allowed me to focus solely on training for the race."
Van Lierde is riding 10-12 young horses a day to get used to the semi-wild horses he will be riding during the race.
He is hoping to come close to finishing the race by day seven, which Van Lierde said was the fastest time the race had ever been finished.
Being able to focus solely on training, Van Lierde was able to work on his personal fitness and test his endurance.
Around 30 riders compete in the yearly 1000 km event in August, battling weather conditions, unfamiliar terrain and the constant threat of dehydration.
"When it gets hard, you've just got to push through it and keep going – because in Mongolia we won't be able to stop," Van Lierde said.
- Taranaki Daily News