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CHOOSE TO FUNDRAISE FOR CHILDREN WITH CANCER UK AND EARN UP TO A £2500 REFUND ON YOUR ENTRY FEE. FIND OUT MORE.

100 MILES ACROSS A FROZEN LAKE IN THE DEPTHS OF OUTER MONGOLIA. BY ANY MEANS…

In winter, the ice freezes across its entire near-100-mile length to a depth of over a metre thick, creating for Rat Race the ultimate adventure challenge course. This is the Mongol 100 – the most surreal, audacious and hauntingly beautiful adventure challenge known to Man. The objective is to traverse the entirety of the lake from north to south, by any means: Foot, skate or bike.

$268.32

SIGN UP NOW FOR ONLY*

*price per month, depending on departure date, click here for more info on pricing

2 - 9 MARCH / 2025
1 - 8 MARCH / 2026

EVENT DATES:

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DISTANCE: 

100 MILES (160 KM)
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SLEEP STYLE: 

CAMPING
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LOCATION: 

OUTER MONGOLIA
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DURATION: 

8 DAYS / 7 NIGHTS

DIFFICULTY RATING: CAN I DO THIS?

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This adventure is for anyone with a moderate level of fitness.

WHAT'S INCLUDED:

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ACCOMMODATION

7 nights camping

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GUIDES AND SUPPORT

Professional support vehicles, safety staff, medical and welfare.

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SAFETY

Professional local and UK safety  staff, bike mechanic, medics, drivers, route safety staff and Rat Race experts on hand throughout. Audited and accredited to BS8848 expedition safety standard.

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ALL MEALS

All meals included as standard, at hotels and in camp, cooked up by our expert catering crew

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TRANSFER POLICY

Flexible transfer policy up to 12 weeks before your departure.

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TRANSFERS

Airport transfer.

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EXTRAS

High quality medal, rat rag and premium t-shirt for all participants.

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YOUR TRIP LEADER:
Abbi

Abbi is our highly experienced Expeditions Manager

MORE INFORMATION:

Our most surreal, audacious and hauntingly beautiful adventure. In a remote corner of North-Western Mongolia lies Lake Khovsgol: One of 17 ancient lakes in the World over 2 million years-old and which contains the World’s purest fresh water.

 

The shores are lined with ancient stands of boreal forest and packed with Wolves. It is serene, hostile, stunning, intimidating. In winter, the ice freezes across its entire near-100-mile length to a depth of over a metre thick and here lies our adventure. Traversing the entirety of the lake from north to south, by any means: foot, skate or bike.

DAY ONE: SUNDAY

Arrive Ulaan Baatar International Airport. (Most international flights arrive early morning). Be met by our team and transfer to Khatgal by road.  Travelling through hundreds of miles of mountain and forest wilderness as we leave civilisation behind and head to the lake.  Accommodation is in a permanent cosy ger camp at Khatgal. A slap-up meal and drinks are provided to welcome you to Mongolia after your long journey, plus some local entertainment.

ACCOMMODATION: Ger camp.
MEALS: Breakfast, hot dinner and simple lunch.

DAY TWO: MONDAY

Enjoy your stunning and surreal new surroundings and get used to life at between -20 and -40. After a hearty breakfast we will complete kit checks today, plus provide safety briefings. For those biking and skating, you will be asked to complete a small proficiency test on the ice. You can also stretch those legs on the ice itself and ‘feel it for real.’ Accommodation will again be in our cosy permanent ger camp at Khatgal and we will again provide meals.

ACCOMMODATION: Ger camp.
MEALS: Breakfast, hot dinner and simple lunch.

DAY THREE: TUESDAY

We will rise at first light and board our transports for the journey from Khatgal to Khank at the northern end of the lake. This journey is an adventure in its own right as we ride in convoy over the entire length of the frozen lake. Today will allow you to see the route itself and will give you immense confidence in what lies ahead. We will stop for lunch ‘al fresco’ on the ice and continue towards our toasty permanent ger camp at Khank, arriving in mid to late afternoon. A hearty dinner awaits, before you hunker down in preparation for what lies ahead.

ACCOMMODATION: Wilderness camp.
MEALS: Hot water is provided at breakfast, pit stops and at dinner for the use by participants in the preparation of their own expedition foods.

DAY FOUR: WEDNESDAY

The Mongol 100 begins! From the start line metres from your ger you will strike out south down the lake, heading for our first overnight camp on the eastern shore. Distances will always be approximate, due to the route taken to provide safe passage. 3 pit stops will be provided each day, at approximately 10km intervals and you will cover (approx.) 40km today to reach your first wilderness camp. You’ll also likely spend a good bit of time today ‘sorting’ your clothing in this first stage of the challenge and managing temperature – layering particularly. Accommodation will be in gers in the first of 3 true wildnerness camps, with a log burning stove in each one and a roaring communal fire around which we will congregate in the evening to share tales from day 1.

ACCOMMODATION: Wilderness camp.
MEALS: Hot water is provided at breakfast, pit stops and at dinner for the use by participants in the preparation of their own expedition foods.

DAY FIVE: THURSDAY

Day 2 sees us aim for the island in the middle of the lake and to our second wilderness camp. By now you may be getting used to your mode of travel and to the endless bangs, rumbles and crashes emanating from underneath your feet. Pinch yourself every now and then and remember where you are – running, riding or gliding across a frozen lake in Mongolia! Accommodation is again in one of our stunning wilderness camps, nestled on the edge of the island with views over the lake towards both shores.

ACCOMMODATION: Wilderness camp.

MEALS: Hot water is provided at breakfast, pit stops and at dinner for the use by participants in the preparation of their own expedition foods.
 

DAY SIX: FRIDAY

Another long day on foot over (approx.) a marathon’s worth of icy terrain – by now the legs will definitely be feeling it but hopefully you’ll be in a good rhythm. The route will provide safe passage to our third and final wilderness camp on the shore of the lake, amidst the ancient boreal forest which envelops the whole World at this latitude. We will serve up an amazing feast of reindeer meat and livers around the huge open fire.

ACCOMMODATION: Wilderness camp.

MEALS: Hot water is provided at breakfast, pit stops and at dinner for the use by participants in the preparation of their own expedition foods.
 

DAY SEVEN: SATURDAY

The fourth and final stage brings you across another 30 – 40km stage and right back to where it all began at Khatgal, at the southern end of lake Khovsgol. The finish line will be established amongst the ice sculptures of the Ice Festival. You will feel astonished at your achievement as you sail through it, having completed quite probably the most unique, memorable and emotional event you’ve ever done.

 

Tonight is now all about the party. Those who know Rat Race will know this is as much a part of the event as the event itself. Enjoy a cracking local meal, event video highlights on the big screen, presentation of your finisher’s medals and other very secret and special mementos before partying the night away with local music, local food and perhaps the odd vodka and beer, all laid on by us in tribute to yourselves and your mighty achievement.

ACCOMMODATION: Ger camp.
MEALS: Breakfast, hot dinner and simple lunch.


 

DAY EIGHT: SUNDAY

After a morning sorting kit, viewing the ice sculptures once more and saying goodbye to our warm Mongolian hosts, we saddle up for the return trip to Ulaan Baatar by road. 

ACCOMMODATION: NA

NOTE THAT TIMINGS AND ITINERARIES ARE APPROX AND OUTLINE AND MAY CHANGE

Our accommodation is split between the comfortable GER CAMPS and WILDERNESS CAMPS.

ACCOMMODATION

PERMANENT GER CAMPS

 

Upon arrival at Khatgal at the southern end of the lake, you will spend 2 nights in a permanent ger camp facility, followed by a night in one at the other end of the lake and then again in Khatgal at the end.

WILDERNESS CAMPS

 

This is the essence of the event experience and we will pride ourselves on the quality and ambience of these campsites, although these are undoubtedly very rustic. Ride, skate, hike or run into camp and enjoy a night under a star-filled sky, a roaring fire and plenty of tales of derring-do from the ice. We will provide gers, mattresses, toilets, and hot water service.

MEALS

AT PERMANENT GER CAMPS

Including hot and cold options for breakfast, hot dinner and simple lunch. Hot drinks and water are also provided with all meals. Hot drinks are provided at breakfast also. Meat will feature heavily and unfortunately, we cannot commit to vegetarian, gluten free or vegan options being consistently provided by our in country catering, we recommend that you augment this with expedition meals. See below for advice for intolerances and dietary requirements.

AT WILDERNESS CAMPS

Hot water is provided at breakfast, pit stops and at dinner for the use by participants in the preparation of their own expedition foods (freeze-dried meals recommended). These meals will be carried in the participants’ overnight holdalls. Beverages to mix with hot water at camps (such as blueberry tea, sea buckthorn juice, English tea) will also be provided. The exception is at camp 3, where a reindeer meat feast will be laid on by the organisers.

 

There are no participant cooking facilities provided at the camps BUT there is hot water provided at all camps, allowing you to prepare your own freeze-dried and packet meals as you wish at all times.

Gluten-free, Vegan or other dietary requirements​: If you have food intolerances or you have made food choices in respect of vegetarian or vegan diets, the catering we provide in Mongolia will not necessarily be brilliant for you. We are being open and up front about this now. That does not mean you cannot come and that there won’t be anything to eat. There are veggies on offer, dishes are frequently accompanied by rice and soups are often made with a veggie base. The diet also features some delicious fish soup dishes too. Certainly for Vegetarians therefore, depending on how strict a code you enforce, there may be options to ‘mix and match’ a bit!

 

But the bottom line is this: If you have a dietary requirement, the baseline service from our catered ger camps is meat heavy. We will always have lashings of hot water available however, so the preparation of your own meals mixed with hot water; both inside the permanent ger camps  and (like everyone else will do) in the wilderness ger camps is absolutely fine.

 

So please do come, eat what you wish (and don’t what you don’t) and fill your belly with your own yummy things, mixed with hot water drawn fresh from the lake.

CAMPLIFE

WHAT CAN I EXPECT?

 

Quite simply, you can expect a campsite experience that will blow your mind. All of these sites are in stunning lakeside locations and you will sleep in traditional wood-fired heated Mongolian gers (you might know them as yurts) amongst ancient boreal forest, with the sounds of wolves howling in the trees. The sunsets and the sunrises are always spectacular, as the sky is always blue and the ice is always shimmering. There is no more authentically local experience than this.
 

WHAT ARE THE FACILITIES?

 

There are 2 types of camp we will use, which have many similarities (you will sleep in gers at all times) but have some varying characteristics. At the start and end of the route at Khatgal and Khank, the permanent ger camps will serve up hot food, have cold beer available to buy (no need to chill it as you just walk outside and it’s ice-cold), vodka, local crafts for sale (and fur hats), some power outlets, 3G phone signal and some internet provision. There are no showers at any of the camps and you will find that, owing to the nature of the trip and the cold, you’ll not really miss a shower too much (and you will probably wear the same clothes for 4 days, too).

 

At the permanent gers, you will sleep between 4 and 8 to a ger and the gers will be allocated to you. At the wilderness camps you will sleep 8 to a ger. You’ll get used to this quickly as the more folk to a ger, the warmer it is. Result! It can be cramped, but there is space in the ger roof to hang kit to dry and the camaraderie of this environment will form quickly. You’ll love it.

IS THE GER WARM?

 

Yes and no but mostly yes. They can get too warm believe it or not. The general cycle is for your wood-burning stove, located in the centre of the ger, to be stocked every 3 hours or so by our ‘fire fairies.’ You do not need to touch, light or stock the fire. Which means it gets very hot. You may be taking off clothes and coming out of your sleeping bag. But as the fire cools over this period, the interior of the ger cools too, of course. At the end of the cycle it can get cool (although never ever as cold as outside) so that 4 season sleeping bag is 100% required.
 

WILL I JUST GET TOO COLD AND NEVER WARM UP?

 

No. if you get cold while out on the route, quick action to ‘layer-up’ will prevent this going any further. If you do get too cold out there, we will intervene with re-warming in vehicles and the application of more layers, with Deels and other Mongolian layers such as furs. We need you to manage yourself as much as possible of course in order to prevent you getting too cold. In all cases, it is a case of layering up before it becomes a problem. If you feel yourself getting cold, put on more clothes.

 

In camp it is similar, although we have immediate respite with a big communal fire, which gets incredibly hot and which is lovely to sit up against, warming hands, feet and all other appendages. And of course you will have your gers, with a roaring wood-burning stove and the body-heat of 7 others, plus a 4 season sleeping bag to crawl into. Remove all wet clothes and change with dry ones and big thick layers (like your down jacket and Deel) and you will be toasty in no time.

WHAT ABOUT GOING TO THE TOILET?

 

At all camps we will have ‘long drop’ toilet cubicles or ‘thunder boxes’ that you sit on. It’s a cold few minutes wrestling with layers of clothes and kit to ‘do the deed’ and there is definitely no dwelling with the Sunday papers involved. Take your own toilet roll, get in and out quickly and return to the warmth of the ger as soon as you can.

The nature of an adventure is that sometimes, the uncertain becomes certain! That is all part of the adventure. Whilst we will always strive to pull off ‘Plan A,’ it may well be that for any one of a number of reasons, we cannot do so and we ned to wheel put Plan B, C or D. We do line up contingencies for many eventualities of course. But it is worth knowing that the course may change if we deem it prudent for your safety or for other operational or weather-based reasons and we must always reserve the right to do so. Ultimately our skill and judgement in organising such events is part of why you are entering, so we must be able to exercise this on your behalf where we deem it necessary. If we do have to make a route change, we will strive to inform you in good time (if that is possible). Usually, these unforeseen changes simply add to the flavour of proceedings and provide for a good story to tell at day’s end!

Click ‘Buy Event Voucher’ and go through the sign-up process, you’ll then be issued with an event voucher which will automatically reserve you a place in the event you have chosen.

Rat Race require you to be over 18 on the day of Registration for this adventure. If you wish to participate as a family group or with a responsible adult and you are 16+, we will consider applications on an individual basis. Please contact us if this is the case.

Getting to the start line is important and we are there to help you as best we can. However, if you feel on reflection that it is just not your time yet, we do have a transfer system that you can use to transfer out, receive Rat Race credit and come back again next year or do something else. Credit is typically valid for 12 months and there is a fee to be paid for transferring out in this way. We want to be really clear that this option is there for you if you need it, but it does have a deadline. View our full terms and conditions here.

The latest kit list will be sent to you before the event within the Essential Event Information Document.

Of course. If you run for Children with Cancer UK and raise the target amount for this event per person, we will refund your entry fee up to the amount of £2500. You are of course more than welcome to fundraise for any cause close to your heart.

Yes, you can. We welcome support on almost all of our events and if you do decide you want to come and work with us, we will make sure we look after you. Click here to find out more about volunteering for Rat Race.

We’ve put together a fantastic new instalment plan that allows you to choose how many months you want to spread the cost of this brilliant adventure over. You can pay it off all in one go or spread it over as many months as you like, totally interest free. There is no credit check required to use this facility. When you sign up to the instalment plan Rat Race will then set up a reoccurring payment and your card will be debited on the same date each month. If there is an error with your payment you will receive reminders from Stripe, our payment provider, and also the Rat Race customer service team. After 3 attempts to contact you if the outstanding balance remains unpaid we will assume you wish to cancel your entry and will withdraw you from the event and you will not be eligible to enter our transfer process and no monies will be refunded.

Add Refund Protect to your booking during purchase and receive a full refund of your entry fee if you are unable to attend the event due to a qualifying unforeseen circumstance. PLEASE NOTE this protection is with our 3rd party partner Refund Protect and NOT Rat Race. In the event you make a refund application this is administered by the Refund Protect customer service team, Rat Race are not privy to the application and cannot intervene on your behalf to influence the outcome determined by their team.

To check the full list of qualifying unforeseen circumstances that are protected please click here to view Refund Protect terms and conditions.

To add Refund Protect (administered by a 3rd party) to your Rat Race booking simply select this option when presented during the entry process. Refund Protect cannot be added retrospectively. Rat Race will then send you name and booking details to Refund Protect in order to protect your transaction with them. If you opt to pay in instalments and transfer your entry before the entry cost is full paid you will be liable to ensure the cost of Refund Protect has been fully covered. This total amount will be deducted from any Rat Race credit due through the transfer process or you will be invoiced by Rat Race for the outstanding amount as Rat Race have paid this on your behalf to Refund Protect at point of entry. 

Yes. You need a decent travel policy covering you for general travel and which covers participation in outdoor sports. You will also need what is called an Evacuation Insurance Policy, which is for if we need to send you back to the closest city for urgent medical attention via a helicopter or similar. We also recommend you have this in place as soon as you enter this event and that if you book flights, we highly recommend booking a flexible option for any last-minute changes you might need to make or to ensure you have maximum flexibility if you cannot attend for any reason.

Travel insurance is compulsory for our events, so please make sure your insurance policy covers the activities you will be participating in. There are a number of specialist providers available including Mann Broadbent

Once you’ve signed up, you will receive a confirmation email. After that, you will be kept in the loop closer to the event when we will send out our Essential Event Information approximately 12 weeks ahead of the event, detailing the full itinerary, what you need to bring and other important information relating to the specific event you have signed up for. We will also host webinars which you will be invited to (again, closer to the event), where you will have the opportunity to ask questions and go through your kit. There will be a final email one month ahead of the event, just to check you’ve completed all the important forms and are ready for the event ahead.

If you have chosen to pay in instalments, we will also get in touch with you if any of your payments have been missed.

Rat Race have been audited and accredited to the prestigious BS8848 expedition safety standard.

We have firm emergency protocols and response systems in place whilst out on our adventures. Our main priority above all else is to keep you and our staff safe. Before we leave for each trip a comprehensive in-country risk and threat assessment has been conducted by the Head of Expeditions. All protocols are put in place relating to those assessments. We make sure that the staff involved have the highest level of first aid training; a higher level of medical cover is also put in place if needed; all instructors have qualifications and/ or competencies to match the adventure we will undertake. In the event of an emergency, Rat Race staff and appointed contractors have comprehensive knowledge of procedures which will rapidly be put in place. If needed, our staff will provide first aid and then further medical assistance and evacuation if needed in line with a published Medical Procedures Plan. We have medical back-up and Clinical Directorship provided by a specialist events medical company and we have further emergency response support services provided by competent contracted partner. All our cover is available 24/7 while operations are underway. We use our knowledge and emergency procedures to provide the best possible care in our often remote and austere environments. Before leaving on a trip, we will advise on the insurance cover you are required to have in place for the trip; we will ask for a copy of these insurance details before the departure date.

Race entry includes a glorious finishers medal and bespoke event Rat Race tee. We will request your t-shirt size and this will be the size you will be given at Registration.

The short answer is no. The price for this event is for everything outlined on the website and it is very difficult for us to split this out. Our accommodation is based on group rates and is on a shared basis. All of our event logistics, support and organisation has been designed to have all the participants in the same locations to allow transfers, briefings etc to run smoothly and to let you bond with your fellow #ratracers! You are welcome to arrange your own accommodation if you wish but this will not result in a reduction in the event fee from us, you will also then be responsible for ensuring you are at our meeting points at the arranged time and we will not be able to transport you to and from your own accommodation, you will need to be able to do this independently.

Yes, although we do have some cut-offs - this is basically the amount of daylight available each day. We want everyone to finish and the amount of time available is genuinely the amount of daylight available to complete the job, from the published start time until nightfall (the start time always being after first light). If you do end up lagging behind and you really cannot make it in time, we will pick you up in an event vehicle (or horse and sled) and transport you to the overnight camp. You can re-start the next day if you wish. There is none of this ‘if you miss a cut-off you’re out’ stuff on this event.

Simply follow our marked route and where you interact with our team out there, simply go where they say. We will have a radio comms net in place for the event crew to talk to one another. The visibility is so good and it’s so flat you will be able to see other participants (or our crew and vehicles) ahead and/ or behind you at all times. You should not worry about getting lost. At all times our support team 4×4 vehicles will not be far away either. If you do step off course, we can see you (visually and on satellite) and we can come and get you.

We will use a mixture of safety staff in vehicles and we will also concentrate support services at our pit stops. If it does get too much, if you get injured, get too cold, need sustenance, motivational support or otherwise, we will be able to assist and out team will never be far away out on the route. You are in good hands.

Yes. We do not have any hire bikes available for this event.

UK nationals no longer require a tourist visa to enter Mongolia. You must check with the Mongolian Consulate or Embassy in your own country for the exact requirements, as they do differ. For example, US nationals can enter Mongolia as tourists visa-free for up to 90 days. 

It is hard, smooth, thick ice. It is absolutely flat as a pancake. BUT the ice surface does change and it changes often. Big smooth black sections are interspersed with small snow-covered sections and large smashed-up slabs. Plus some really weird formations that look like ‘dinner plates or ‘jellyfish’ (depending on how you look at them!).

This is a very unique event in a very cold environment. Whilst much of what you need is ‘standard’ cold-weather outdoor and athletic gear, there are some specialist items that you cannot do without and there are some ‘comfort’ items that we will insist you bring in order that you are protected from the extreme cold. We outline here what ‘the event’ provides and what you are expected to provide. Then below you will also see the mandatory kit list. This list will be made more detailed as we get nearer to the challenge but for now it gives you a very firm snapshot of what gear you will require for this challenge.

MANDATORY KIT LIST


Here’s a rundown. We may revise this nearer the time but this should give you a good idea at this stage.

Note: All items are mandatory, unless it says recommended, where they are, well, recommended!

  • A 4 season down sleeping bag with a comfort rating of at least minus 25C

  • A foam roll mat will do but the much better choice is a therm-a-rest or other self inflating sleeping mat

  • Balaclava (and spare)

  • Spiked shoes or spiked/ studded attachments for shoes, like these

  • Heavy-duty down jacket

  • Good gloves of varying thicknesses

  • Waterproof shell outer garments – top and bottoms (must be able to fit over your insulation garments so please try your outer garments for size over this clothing)

 

Clothing

  • Base layer(s)* Multiple base layers for top and bottoms, plus spares

  • Mid layer(s)* Multiple mid layers for top and bottoms, plus spares

  • Outer layer* Good insulating outer garments for top and bottoms. These do NOT need to be waterproof (in fact, it is better if they are not). Precipitation is negligible in this area, so insulation is king, not waterproofing. For moving on the ice, lightweight down and loft-style outer layers are best. Windstopper-style and soft-shell trousers and tights are recommended for bottoms

  • Socks* Minimum of one liner sock and a thicker sock. Plus spares.

  • Liner gloves – fingered**

  • Outer gloves – fingered**

  • Over mitten or down/ loft mitten**

  • Hat (plus spare)***

  • Balaclava (plus spare)***

  • Neck gaiter, Buff, Ratrag, snood or fleece tube (plus spare)***

  • Goggles****

  • Sunglasses****

  • Underwear: A good pair of wicking underpants or sports knickers/ bra. Plus at least one change of underwear

  • Footwear***** with spiked/ studs embedded in the soles OR a spiked/ studded attachment that can be fitted to the shoe or boot, like these.

  • Daypack: A small daypack (15 – 30l) to carry spare clothing, med kit and mandatory safety gear plus food/ drink. NB items like gels and energy bars are best kept in pockets close to your person, so they do not freeze. As is water. 

  • Sleepwear kit: Base layer top and leggings, gloves, hat and socks. This should be kept just for sleeping ensuring you always have a comfortable, warm and dry layer.

 

* How many base layers, mid layer, outer layers or pairs of socks shall I wear? And what materials? The answer to ‘how many’ is a very personal one. Some people run hotter than others and therefore how many garments you wear in which configuration is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer. What we will say is that you should plan to dress for your coldest-ever conditions but remember that you are exerting yourself. Which means that you need to wick sweat away from your skin and to the outer layer as efficiently as you can (otherwise it condenses between layers and snow forms inside your clothing). Our recommendation is a minimum of 2 base layers, 1 mid layer and 1 outer layer to be available to be worn at all times whilst out on the ice for your TOP. Plus MORE spare clothing (mid layers are advised) to be available to you in your day bag in case you need to add layers to this system.

 

For your legs, it’s more of the same in terms of choice, although runners may want to stick to tights as much as possible. That’s fine, although you will need multiple pairs and softshell/ windstopper outer garments (tights or pants) are advised. Our advice for all participants would be to start with a good next-to-skin leg baselayer tight and then layer with another tight OR looser fitting baselayer leg garment, then your outer leg cover. This may be a tight or a trouser BUT in all cases, you should have a spare outer layer leg garment in your day pack too. So that’s 2 baselayers and an outer, with the ability to stick another outer on, on the route, if required.

 

n terms of materials, this is also somewhat personal in nature, although there are some clear precedents in terms of performance. Synthetic fabrics are good for wicking; merino wool is also good for wicking and has very very good insulation properties, (and doesn’t smell) although some people find it a bit itchy for next-to-skin base-layers. Silk is also a good natural fibre for next-to-skin and is extremely comfortable, although requires more base-layers to be added above it as it is very thin. Our advice is to experiment and select the materials that work for you. There is no shortage of good base-layer technology on the market.

 

Socks kind of fall into the same camp as above. There are loads of different technologies and some people wear lots of pairs. Others don’t. Our advice would be a minimum of a wicking liner sock and then a good chunky woollen-based trekking sock (Merino wool, or Merino blended with other materials are great. Mongolian Yak wool socks are also fantastic and you can buy them locally at Khatgal). Your shoes or boots need to be loose enough to fit this sock combo, too. The tighter it is inside your shoes, the less the sock layers will trap the warm air between layers. Tight shoes = bad for insulation, therefore.

** Argh, the great glove debate Somewhat like the base-layer and mid-layer choice, this is down to personal preference and how cold or hot you run when you are exerting yourself. Some people love a nice lofty down mitt to feel toasty and snug all day long. Of course, you lose dexterity. Some people like a thin merino or silk liner glove and then a fairly lightweight, windproof glove for ultimate dexterity with zips and kit. In all cases, layering is still the key here. Our advice is unequivocally to start with a very good ‘liner glove’ (a glove in its own right; not a built-in liner glove to a bigger glove, if that makes sense). Something like this Merino number works very well. Then layer up with a ‘standard’ winter fingered glove: This can be a single or twin skin glove at whatever thickness suits you, although we’d advise having a ‘thin’ one and a ‘thick’ one ready so you can chop and change depending on comfort and conditions. Then over all of these, have a mitt ready to go that you can deploy over the top of everything if the wind-chill goes sky-high and/ or if the temperature plummets. It’s a lot of gloves, we know, but the ability to vary the system is key.

*** What sort of hat do I wear and what else do I put over my face? Full face cover is a good idea. This means eyes, nose, ears, mouth, head and neck. You won’t always need that level of cover but you frequently will, especially if a little bit of wind comes our way. The tools for the job are listed in the mandatory kit list but by and large they are a hat, a balaclava and some sort of cloth or fleece tube that goes around your neck. All of these items come in different shapes and sizes. Choice is part of the solution but there are some good general rules here

 

Balaclava and neck tube: These come with noses, without noses, breathable mouth holes, fully encased neoprene numbers, fleece-lined, windstopper materials, etc. You then augment the balaclava with a Buff or necktube that can be pulled up over your mouth and/ or nose for added protection. This combination is a very good one as it’s flexible and the neck tube can be lowered or raised accordingly. It is mandatory to have spares of both of these garments. This is because, due to breath and other perspiration in the facial area, over the course of a day these garments will totally freeze up. So you do need spares to change these out when they get too stiff and to allow the other pair to dry out overnight. Our clear advice would be to look for windstopper fabrics in at least one of your balaclavas, as this is very vey good at keeping wind-chill off the face and back of the head, plus ears.

Hats: The age-old saying is ‘if your feet are cold, put on a hat.’ The insulating properties of the hat are demonstrated in no greater way than in this environment. And it’s pretty much a key to instant warmth. There are lots of them. A good old-fashioned woolly hat is ideal and insulates well. As do shell-based mountaineering hats with fleecy linings. By far the warmest hat available to you however is a fox fur Mongolian hat. There is more info on local dress within the ‘LOCATION‘ page but our clear advice would be to ‘wear the fox hat.’ We understand some folk will view that advice with some trepidation or distaste. But it is not a vanity thing or a fashion show out here; it is simply the finest insulating headpiece known to Man and the Mongolians worked that out 1000s of years ago. They are available readily in the area and cost around $35 for a very good one. We’d advise you to buy one locally and support local trade.

**** Eye protection Another area where perspiration causes a bit of an issue is with goggles steaming up on the inside. Our clear advice is ONLY to bring very good goggles with you (which does unfortunately mean expensive), which have clear anti-fog coatings and technologies. They make a huge difference. Unlike when in a ski resort and whistling down a slope at speed may well clear a steamed-up goggle, here the steam instantly freezes and you cannot clear it. Sunglasses area a good ‘second solution’ for if your goggles do steam up, although they do tend to steam up quickly themselves. They are however a bit easier to clear than a big set of goggles. Simply put, wear goggles and if they steam up and you can’t clear them due to freezing-up steam, revert to sunnies.

***** Footwear Clearly this is a very personal choice. You have some defined options however. If you are running, you will want something lightweight, with good grip, either with ice studs built into the sole (of which there is plenty of choice) OR that you can attach a detachable ice stud or spike device to. It is personal choice. If hiking only, a sturdier and warmer boot is advisable but again, it must be compatible with detachable ice studs. Most are. Your choice as a skater is limited to those boots that you can fit a detachable skate to (more on this in the skating kit section, below) but you must also be able to fit detachable ice studs to the boot, for those sections where you cannot skate and must walk/ run instead. For bikers, it’s up to you but again, the shoe must be capable of being able to travel over rough ground and be able to take the ice studs. More on this in the biking section, below.

Camplife

  • A 4 season down sleeping bag with a comfort rating of at least minus 25C

  • A foam roll mat will do but the much better choice is a therm-a-rest or other self inflating sleeping mat

  • Head-torch with spare batteries

  • Thick down jacket for use in camp (separate to outer layers used on the route)

  • 2 x Water bottles – preferably with insulation

  • Knife, fork, spoon set

  • Plastic plate and bowl

  • Expedition meals*

  • Personal toiletries and medications**

  • Antibacterial wet wipes (baby wipes are best)***

  • Roll of toilet paper***

  • Anti-bacterial handwash***

  • Suncream

  • Blister kit/ adhesive blister patches

  • Holdall (to put all of your spare kit and overnight kit that you won’t be carrying in your daypack

Other recommended personal items (not mandatory)

  • Pee bottle*

  • Books

  • Playing cards

  • Face, hose and hand moisturiser – very good for weathered skin from the cold

  • Lip balm – good for those cracked lips

  • If you can play, a mouth organ or Ukelele (!) may go down well around the fire!

  • Music devices**

  • Phone**

  • Camera**

*WHAT IS THIS?! Once you have crawled out of your sleeping bag, pulled on your boots and some clothes and gone to the toilet in the middle of the night, you’ll know….! A pee bottle prevents you having to leave the comfort of your ger and is simply a bottle to pee in, at night. You then empty it in the morning down the toilet (If it’s not frozen!).

Safety and specialist ice equipment

  • Personal med kit. (Spec to follow but will include bandages, gauze, steri strips, antiseptic (spray or cream), plasters and rubber gloves)

  • Whistle on lanyard around neck or attached to outer clothing 

  • A flare will be provided to you by the event and must be carried at all times

  • A satellite tracker will be provided to you by the event and must be carried at all times, near to your person inside garments (so it does not shut down)

Mandatory kit list for cyclists

  • Fatbike or Mountain bike with spiked tyres*

  • Flat pedals (no cleats whatsoever, as you may need to cover some ground on foot whilst on the route and we require you to have the ability to attach ice studs to regular boots or shoes)

  • Bike box for transport of bike to/ from event (NOT cardboard box or soft bag; it does need to be a proper hardshell bike box)**

  • Tools, spare inner tubes, pump

  • Helmet

  • Shoes***

  • Gloves/ overmitts****

* Fat bikes are preferred as the wide tyres at low pressures give a large contact patch with plenty of grip. However, a standard MTB will work with some care and a fair dose of skill. Whichever bike you choose spiked tyres for use on ice are essential. They’re a specialist and pricey bit of kit but they work superbly and make the challenge super enjoyable. 45NRTH Dillinger tyres are the go to tyre for fat bikes and Schwalbe offer a range for different wheel sizes and widths. You should choose the widest that will fit your bike if you’re not on a fat bike.

** It is a fairly expensive business bringing a bike with ice tyres to Mongolia due to the size and shape of the box and the need for specialist ice tyres. Which shouldn’t put you off if you have the gear or if you want to obtain it. It is just something we want to flag up-front. 

*** You will need a system here that keeps your feet toasty while on the bike. Flat pedals means you can wear what you like, but note that keeping feet warm on the bike is a challenge given the extreme cold, so think carefully about shoes and overshoes, gaiters and the like. We are not making anything mandatory here as it’s a personal choice. But you need to plan to keep those feet warm at all costs or it could end your event quickly

**** As above, hands on the bike will get cold quickly if you don’t have the right gear. The glove advice for all participants still applies for cyclists, but we are going one stage further and insisting on overmitts or pogie as mandatory, for obvious reasons.

Mandatory kit list for skaters

  • Detachable back-country skates*

  • Back-country x-country ski/ skate touring boot*

  • Poles (wither skating poles or x-country skiing poles). No basket is required

  • Helmet – rated for snowsports (multisport helmets are also fine)

*This is a very particular type of event for a skater. There is no real known comparison. The terrain varies from glistening smooth black ice that you will glide across serenely (sometimes!) to crust, snow-covered sections, seams and other different surfaces, that are impossible to skate. The ability therefore to detach skates and switch to standard boots with ice stud or spike attachment for traversing the ‘lumpy’ stuff on foot is key. The skates must therefore ONLY be detachable touring-style kit. No figure-skating gear or hockey boots please! The choice is narrow (which makes it easy to select kit!) but there are absolute clear contenders for the job. We recommend Lundhags T-skates with Rottefella binding which will be on sale at a competitive price nearer to the event date. These fits most x-country touring boots due to the Rottefella binding. Email us to find out more.

For boots, a x-country touring boot is what you need. The key is absolutely that it must have the Rottefeller binding if using it with our recommended skates. It’s a very straightforward and interchangeable system. It’s just that the kit is quite specialist so there is not much choice in the market. These boots are however widely available in Scandinavia (and of course online via various retailers) so we would suggest you identify some boots and then purchase the skates from ourselves when you are ready to do so.

TO RUN, TO WALK, TO SKATE OR TO CYCLE?

This is the choice you will make and we welcome all 3 disciplines. You will note that we have not included ‘other’ means like skiing and kite-skiing (or kite-skating). You are welcome to ski, but there is normally hardly any snow and as such, the ice is hard, flat, smooth and terrible for x-country skiing on. You are able to choose multiple ways to cross the lake, you are not locked into one choice.

RUNNING

 

It’s a very very unique running event: The thick end of 4 marathons back to back, over a running surface you have simply never experienced before. The ice does change consistency over the lake’s length but of course in general terms it is very flat. Head down, pace set, layers in place and keep plodding. You’ll notice the very hard nature of the smooth black ice sections; some hard tarmac road-running miles will help you prepare for this. But nothing really compares. It is very very hard underfoot. As you’d expect from solid sheet ice!

WALKING

 

As above, but slower! Walking is clearly less high-impact than running and indeed most runners may well adopt a run-walk pace at some stage in proceedings, too. You may choose to or you may have to. But if you want to walk the whole thing you can. Trekking poles will help, as with all walking, alleviating the load from your feet somewhat. You need to maintain a decent pace of 5kmph (and as with all events, don’t dawdle at the pit-stops) but with some good mountain trekking and hillwalking fitness in the bag, you’ll be OK.

SKATING

 

What a treat. When was the last time you ice-skated 150km in a straight line? It is rarely ever (or ever, ever) done and frankly, the feeling of gliding over silky smooth black ice with the chink and crunch of the skates beneath your feet is just sublime. You will cover ground quickly on these smooth sections, but when you approach small snow-patches, seams or crust, you will grind to a halt on the skates. Time to detach skates and engage feet. It will be impossible to skate the entire length, but depending on conditions, you may skate ¾ +, which is a lot of skating in anyone’s book.

 

If you do decide to skate, you will need to satisfy us that you can in fact skate. Gaining the required level of skill is not outside anyone’s grasp however and some practice at a local ice rink will allow you to skate safely along this route. The technique involved in this type of ‘back-country’ skating involves the skates themselves and skate or x-country ski poles. The action is very similar to that of x-country skiing ‘skating’ style and if you do x-country ski, you are well on your way to being comfortable on this set-up already. If you know your x-country/ Nordic skiing you will know what we mean by x-country ski ‘skating’ style. If not, go and have a look at youtube for x-country ski ‘skate’ style (or Nordic ski ‘skate’ style or Langlauf ‘skate’ style – it is all the same thing) and check out the skates themselves in action. We will also ask you to wear a helmet, which is part of the mandatory kit list.

BIKING

 

You need a fatbike with spiked ice tyres.  We recommend minimum 4 inch tyre width and fatter 4.6/ 4.8 are also fine. You will need specialist ice-studded tyres also. This bike is an absolutely fantastic go-anywhere machine which you can use year-round on snow, sand and everything in between. Pair it with 45NRTH Dillinger tyres for the ultimate joy machine. There is no bike hire in this part of Mongolia so you must bring your own, in a hard shell bike box and with all your spares ready to go. Simple, old school rigid frames and mechanical gears are the way to go out here. Hydraulic oil will freeze and DI2 batteries will fail. If you have a mechanical en route, knowing how to fix it yourself is essential to getting you up and running quickly and keeping warm.  That said, we will come and get you if it goes totally pear-shaped and you can’t get going again on the bike. A bike is definitely fast across much of the surface, but there are some tricky bits involving crust, seams and smashed up chunks of ice. It can be easy going and it can be hard going. Especially on low-pressure tyres with studs. It’s not a-given that it’s the easiest way to travel therefore and the cold is fierce on your hands, feet and backside when sitting atop your steed. It’s also not cheap. Most airlines will charge you £200 each way for the bike, the specialist studded tyres are about £200 each and if you don’t own a bike already, you’ll need one of those too! But what a way to do it – when was the last time you rode a bike across a frozen lake in Outer Mongolia??

 

If you do decide to bike, you will need to satisfy us that you can in fact control the bike in this terrain and that you have a grasp of the basic mechanics of your machine. It does not require any great skill but we do want to ensure you are familiar with the steed you are about to ride. 

We will also insist that you wear a helmet, which is part of the mandatory kit list.

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*When you sign up to the instalment plan Rat Race will then set up a reoccurring payment and your card will be debited on the same date each month. If there is an error with your payment you will receive reminders from Stripe, our payment provider, and also the Rat Race customer service team. After 3 attempts to contact you if the outstanding balance remains unpaid we will assume you wish to cancel your entry and will withdraw you from the event and you will not be eligible to enter our transfer process and no monies will be refunded.

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Add Refund Protect to your booking during purchase and receive a full refund of your entry fee if you are unable to attend the event due to a qualifying unforeseen circumstance. PLEASE NOTE this protection is with our 3rd party partner Refund Protect and NOT Rat Race. In the event you make a refund application this is administered by the Refund Protect customer service team, Rat Race are not privy to the application and cannot intervene on your behalf to influence the outcome determined by their team.

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Brett.png
"While I like to think the inaugural cohort set the bar fairly high all the way around, I would strongly encourage anyone interested in a culturally immersive and highly challenging event to take advantage of this most unusual opportunity."

Brett Blanchard

March 2019

Being able to glide on 5-6 feet of clear ice with constant ever changing patterns was a true joy. Inevitably there was a slog through parts that were unskateable, sections needing intensive use of poles or the path suddenly blocked due to enormous new ice fissures but those obstacles only highlighted the most beautiful ice I’ve ever seen. The cold harsh wind that hit all racers 10 miles or so from the end also served as a reminder of just how superb overall conditions were the previous days. And I can think of no more a majestic backdrop than the ancient snow capped peaks that followed the entire western shore. While I will find another big adventure and plan on enjoying more endurance racing (and skating some amazing ice), it is the larger group camaraderie of the Mongol 100 that will be difficult to replicate.

"I’m here. This is happening. Months and months of planning, preparation and perspiration from hours of training, has all led to this…"
Dan.png

I step off the plane into Chinggis Khan international Airport. I’ve finally completed a lifetime’s worth of plane and bus journeys in a little over 24 hours, but spirits are instantly raised as I spy the friendly and welcoming site of the other Rat Racers huddled in the corner of the airport. There might as well be a sign above our heads saying “out of towners” but I feel almost immediately at home. The feeling that this is a friendly country full of warm, hard-working people begins at this very moment – a view that is only confirmed as the adventure progresses over the next ten days. Mongolia’s capital city Ulaanbaatar, is a city under development. Less than 20 Years ago a Ger (Yurt) wouldn’t have looked out of place in its main streets, but now skyscrapers fill the horizon and flashing signs light the way. This is a city is on the move, constructing a base ready for tourism and all the benefits that come with it. I hope that those in charge of this drive don’t lose sight of all that makes Mongolia unique.

Daniel Jones

March 2019

As soon as you passed the flags, we were given a medal, beers and snacks. But instead of making our way back to the camp, we lingered around, waiting for others to finish. Everyone was keen to know who'd come next, and we cheered for every single person arriving. Everyone was given a hug and a smile, and we were all happy for each other. Not something I had experienced in any race before. While I will find another big adventure and plan on enjoying more endurance racing (and skating some amazing ice), it is the larger group camaraderie of the Mongol 100 that will be difficult to replicate.