Marahau kindergarten teacher ready for Mongol Derby adventure

Marie Palzer is riding the 2017 Mongol Derby, the longest and toughest horse race in the world which kicks off on August 9.
BRADEN FASTIER

Marie Palzer is riding the 2017 Mongol Derby, the longest and toughest horse race in the world which kicks off on August 9.

A 22-year-old Marahau-based kindergarten teacher leaves next week to take part in the world's longest, toughest horse race – the Mongol Derby.

The starting gun will sound on August 9 and Marahau adventurer Marie Palzer will start her ride alongside 40 others in a race that traces a path of military leader Genghis Khan.

"I'm ready. [I'm] definitely nervous but I'm super excited. I just can't wait to get over there."

Nelson Mail Daily

Palzer has spent the last four months training and prepping herself for the "exciting" and "scary" adventure, knowing only a third of the riders will make it to the finish line before the 10-day deadline.

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The time had "come along so fast" and on Tuesday Palzer will be on a plane to Mongolia with nothing but her saddle and riding supplies.

Marie Palzer of Marahau with friend Callum Watts-Smith of Nelson hoofing around for a change with Spirit on her way to ...
MARION VAN DIJK

Marie Palzer of Marahau with friend Callum Watts-Smith of Nelson hoofing around for a change with Spirit on her way to St Arnaud for a fundraising ride she completed a few years ago.

Palzer is a little "apprehensive" but said if she wasn't "it would be like I don't care about it".

"I don't feel the pressure of needing to do well but obviously I want to do well," she said.

In the four months since Palzer heard news of the race she has been focused solely on training and working.

She has put her skills to the test with overnight rides and completed a few 60km-long rides to help her prepare, finished off with "two weeks intensive training".

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Most of Palzer's training has involved running so she can save her horse's energy by making her way on foot. It will also provide a safety net if her horse bolts without its rider. She had conquered her goal to be able to run 20km, she said.

Palzer has also had to train her stomach for a change in diet, eating fermented foods and some dairy, to get her gut used to it. She will have to eat a lot of fermented foods, some dairy and possibly dried meat on the ride.

"I don't eat meat or dairy products at all so it will be a bit of a shock to the system."

Palzer said none of her training would be possible without the willingness of her two horses at home and the support and encouragement of the community and business sponsors.

"It's been really nice [how] the community has been supporting me in it and not putting any pressure on me.

"I definitely have a loan I'll be paying off when I get back ... everyone wants to know how to follow and keep in touch and wishing me luck."

"Other than that, I'm pretty organised."

Palzer will compete as rider 24. Her progress can be tracked through The Adventurists' website.

 - Stuff

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