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Katy Willings - Chief of Adventures at The Adventurists - Competing the Rickshaw Rally

Katy Willings - Chief of Adventures at The Adventurists - Competing the Rickshaw Rally and rode in the inaugural Mongol Derby, the world's longest horse race!

Katy Willings is the Mongol Derby Chief, and erstwhile Chief of Adventures at The Adventurists.

Based in Bristol, UK, she was a junior international dressage rider in her teens. She rode in the inaugural Mongol Derby, the world's longest horse race, in 2009, sparking a later endurance riding career which saw her compete up to 120kms internationally, and became a full-time Adventurist in 2010, working on the Derby, and later the Ice Run, Icarus Trophy and Monkey Run.

In the course of producing high profile events for the Adventurists she has ridden vintage Russian motorcycles in -30 (and got the damn things started in -40 when no-one else could), wrangled with customs in far-flung places to get equipment and people in country, managed local and international teams to deliver logistically complex and culturally significant goods and services. And learned to fly a paramotor. Kind of. She finally did her motorcycle test in May 2018 (5 years late then) and will be taking to the open road, legally, this summer.

She has ambitions to cycle the iron curtain, to fly her paramotor over Victoria Falls, to ride from New York to Buenos Aires as Aime Schiffely once did. In the meantime she'll be wielding a clipboard and a satellite phone in her spiritual home of Mongolia this summer, and manning the airwaves during the Mongol Derby (it's live now!) in the operations room.

She declares herself to be utterly devoid of talent, and proof that talent is no barrier to doing whatever the hell you want. One day she will ride at Grand Prix and further prove this. She has worked with horses in Europe, Mongolia and Malawi, and men and machines in Morocco, Siberia, Sierra Leone. She has had as much adventure putting on the adventures, as the participants have had taking part. Oftentimes, a great deal more.


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Show notes

  • Moving to Bristol in 2010

  • Struggling to call herself an adventurer

  • Spending most of her life on a horse

  • Happening on adventure by accident after losing her best friend in 2008

  • Fighting to make the world less boring

  • Being 25 and living in London and living for the weekend

  • The Rickshaw Run how it came about and why she decided to do it

  • What is it and how you plan for it!

  • Starting with a New Years Eve Party then 2 weeks to get to the finish line!

  • Being 40Km from the finish line and rolling the rickshaw….

  • Driving to the finish line and finishing the race

  • Being lucky to walk away from the crash

  • First hearing about the Mongol Darby!

  • A healing, a closure, and a change in attitude about herself

  • Being a glorious amateur!

  • What adventure means to Katy

  • Applying for the Mongol Darby and being placed on the reserve list

  • Not being able to let it go and also not being able to commit to the challenge

  • Having 10 weeks to prepare and having to change her expectations for the race

  • Running, cycling and riding horses to build up endurance and to be as fit as possible

  • Loving history and reading up on the historically and cultural aspects of the race

  • Was the race even possible? Could it be done?

  • Dealing with the unknowns

  • Becoming friends with her fellow competitors

  • The structure of the race, and what it was like on a daily basis ‘glorious isolation’

  • Riding 1000km over 9 days…

  • How completing the race changed the direction of her life

  • What she’s leant from working at the Adventurists

  • The difficulties of making money from adventure

  • Getting the flying bug and what the next challenge is going to be

  • Her plan to cycle the Iron Curtain

  • Advice to fill your life with adventure and why it’s ok to do things for pleasure

  • Her side hustle in Mongolia - Morindoo


Social Media

Insta (Katy) - @willingskaya

Insta (Morindoo) - @morindooadventures

Website - Morindoo -

Website - The Mongol Derby -

Twitter - Katy - @KatyAdvntrists

Twitter - Mongol Derby - @mongolderbylive


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