Sam Franklin, senior in supply chain management, got the opportunity to participate in the Guinness World Records’ longest horse race in July 2019. It is approximately a 620-mile horse race in Mongolia that takes place over 10 days.
“After day three, I had hit a wall in the race,” Franklin said. “At the time it was not very fun. Looking back on it though, I am really glad I pushed through and completed what I set out to do.”
If not completed in time, participants will not be able to continue. The race is very selective: out of about 2,200 applicants, only 45 are chosen to participate in the race.
The participants are selected through an interview and application process. Franklin found out about the competition because he knew someone that completed the race the year before he did.
Franklin said that he started riding horses when he was 10 years old. He also ran the horseback program at Camp Mac in Munford, Alabama, for five years.
“Two years ago in July I had a rappelling accident,” Franklin said. “I broke my back, sternum and arm. I tore some soft tissue in my leg, too. I was 10% permanently disabled with limited mobility in my wrist and some disabilities in my back, and I wanted to do this race to see if I was recovered or not. That was my motivation to do it.”
Franklin said half of the participants don’t finish. He mentioned how many participants were injured during the race. He said someone punctured a lung, many participants broke a bone, two people got hypothermia and someone got heat stroke. Franklin said he also was susceptible to the conditions after having to sit out one day due to an infection.
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“I had been training for the race for four or five months and was not going to let one trip to the hospital stop me from competing,” Franklin said. “I came to race, and I was not going to let anything stop me.”
Franklin said his favorite part of the trip was his experience with the Mongolian culture and getting to meet the other riders, who were from all over the world.
“Getting to see the difference between trained horses and the horses we rode was very interesting, because these horses were semi-wild,” Franklin said. “They are not trained the same way we train horses in the West. So, when you would ride the horse, it would take off and not stop running for 10 miles. It was a pretty exhilarating experience.”
Franklin said he proved to himself he was indeed ready to take on one of his dreams, even after being injured.
“I think it proved to me that my injury does not hold me back from anything,” Franklin said. “It was a self affirmation that I can do anything that I want to do.”
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