TWO Borders women known as Doddie’5 Dazzlers have pushed their bodies to the limit in the world’s longest and toughest horse race.

And in the process they have raised around £40,000 to help find a cure for MND.

In 1224 Genghis Khan set up the world’s first long-distance postal transmission system, using a massive network of horse stations known as Urtuus at 35km intervals.

And for ten days each August, the Mongol Derby recreates this legendary system along the entire 1,000km course.

Riders use semi-broken Mongolian horses which are only 12-14 hands high, but they are the toughest and most fit-for-purpose partners imaginable.

Last month Alice Gully, 46, from Heriot and Kate Mactaggart, 46, from Jedburgh took part in the race, riding in temperatures which ranged from freezing to 38 degrees centigrade. The pair survived ‘brutal’ conditions along the 1,000km route across mountains, rivers and desert through the Mongolian Steppe, living on a diet of offal and mutton.

The race began on Wednesday, August 10, but by the weekend a number of riders including Alice suffered hyperthermia. She continued the race as an adventure rather than a competition. Kate was able to complete the race.

Alice said: “The conditions were brutal and it was the hardest thing I have ever done. I never had any doubt that I would finish, but on day four I got hypothermia and it took the rest of the day to recover.

“There was really heavy rain and it was impossible to get dry. Even our sleeping bags were soaked through. That put me and several others out of the competition as the medics can’t allow the competitors to be spread over a large distance.

“So I finished the race as an adventure, but Kate was able to continue in the race.

“The horses were tough little things but unpredictable and the terrain was full of large marmot hole. At one stage I came off the horse which ran away, and it took four hours to find it.

“The families we stayed with were magic, but the food was disgusting and nothing was ever ever wasted. The food was reheated two or three times until it was finished so it was no surprise that many of us got norovirus. I think I only had two vegetables all week and the food consisted of mutton, goat and horse meat with mare’s milk.

“And we survived on about three hours sleep a night. But with gift aid we have raised around £40,000 for the My Name’5 Doddie Foundation so it was worth it but never again.”

Alice and Kate have a host of stories about their adventure and intend telling all in a question and answer sessions later this month.