Ed Fernon, London 2012 Olympian and the man behind the rejuvenation of Katoomba Golf Club has won the world’s longest and toughest horse race.
Twenty-nine-year-old Fernon, owner of Escarpments Estate, has conquered the gruelling Mongolian Derby, crossing the finish line with South African Barry Armitage in equal first and setting a new record after a nail-biting race.
The 2017 race saw 42 competitors from nine countries riding 1,020 kilometres across Mongolia on 27 semi-wild horses.
Mostly riding full tilt, they charged through the rugged terrain of the Mongolian Steppes, fording rivers, deserts and wide open plains on a course that is designed to re-create Genghis Khan's ancient postal system.
It puts to the test the competitor's survival skills, horsemanship, navigation and sheer endurance.
This year was relatively injury-free, however there were still two competitors with broken ribs, an evacuation of one with a suspected broken neck, a broken collarbone, concussion and broken ankle.
Nine of the riders were also forced to withdraw.
Fernon is a man who cannot resist a challenge. He took up the sport of Modern Pentathlon at the age of 19, while studying a Bachelor of Commerce at Sydney University, mastering the five disciplines of swimming, fencing, running, shooting and show jumping.
Five years later he represented Australia at the 2012 Olympics.
Needing a new challenge post-Olympics, Fernon undertook a charity horse ride to raise awareness of rural depression and $55,000 for The Blackdog Institute.
The ride was 1,100km from Braidwood through Canberra and all the way down to Melbourne along the Bicentennial National trail, retracing the legend of Archer that won the inaugural Melbourne Cup in 1861.
As a chaser to that adventure, Fernon climbed Argentina's Aconcagua, the monster 7000m peak, the second highest of the seven summits and highest mountain in the southern hemisphere.
Fernon crossed the finish line of the Mongolian Derby exhausted and exhilarated.
"Winning wasn’t important, rather it was the desire to push myself to the absolute limit and I've done that so I’m happy,” he said.
Fernon is now putting his focus back towards Escarpments Estate by revitalising the former Katoomba Golf Club as well as the club house and the development of the brand new luxury townhouses.