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It'll be the challenge of her life: after racing in Mongolia, Clare King's tackling the Patagonian Andes for a children's cancer charity

For Clare King riding in the Patagonian Andes will be a bit different... For Clare King riding in the Patagonian Andes will be a bit different... She normally rides out for her husband, the successful jump racing trainer Neil King on the northern edge of the Marlborough downs - where it's windy, but it's a gentle landscape.  Now Clare King is saddling up for the ride of a lifetime across the remote Patagonian Andes in South America.

From March 5-14, Clare King is taking part in the first-ever Gaucho Derby and is hoping to raise £10,000 for Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) in the process.

 

The multi-horse endurance race is the brainchild of UK-based adventure gurus The Adventurists and its gruelling course will cover 500km of beautiful yet very challenging terrain.

 

What’s more, in addition to riding and hiking for 13 and a half hours a day - swapping horses every 50km - riders will have to fend for themselves throughout.

 

Clare King riding in the Mongol Derby (2013)  Clare King riding in the Mongol Derby (2013) Forty-one year old Clare, who is originally from County Down, is no stranger to endurance horseback racing, this latest adventure represents a completely new challenge: “In 2013, I came third in the Mongol Derby, the longest and toughest horserace in the world."

 

"It was undoubtedly the hardest thing I have ever done, mentally and physically, and I said, ‘Never ever again, I’m settling down’.  So, against my better judgment, I committed to the ‘pioneers running’ of the Gaucho Derby and, as this is the first-ever running of the race, no one knows quite what will happen."

 

I’m very nervous, not so much about the riding but the survival skills needed to camp out in a harsh environment and the navigation – I have very little experience of either!"

 

“But it’s really uncharted territory in an amazing part of the world, with the chance to live like a real Gaucho and experience great horses and scenery, so I’m looking forward to it, too!”

 

In between busily balancing a full-time job, being a mother of two and riding racehorses for Neil King, Clare is also training and learning a host of survival and mountain craft skills: “I also need to know how to shoe a horse and learning to speak a bit of Spanish will probably be helpful, too!”

 

Clare is supporting Children’s Cancer and Leukaemia Group (CCLG) having seen the heartache that childhood cancer can cause families: “I am raising money for CCLG to support children and parents that I know who are enduring the worst kind of journey, and certainly tougher than any kind of sporting challenge."

 

“I have set a huge target, but I am determined to get there for an extremely worthwhile cause."

 

“As well as funding research and supporting parents, CCLG is a central point of sharing best practice and treatments. To use a horrible phrase 'joined-up thinking’ is so important where there is so much good research and know-how happening in different places.”

 

You can donate to Clare's fundraising here - and wish her well on this adventurous challenge.   There is more information about the CCLG on their website.  And you can find Clare’s charity Facebook page here.

Clare King (on the grey): obstacles in the Andes may be a bit less friendlyClare King (on the grey): obstacles in the Andes may be a bit less friendly

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