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Tucson's Tanaka finishes third in Mongol Derby

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For 10 days, Tucson's Michelle Tanaka trekked across the Mongolian steppe on horseback, a participant in one of the world's strangest and most grueling sporting events. She finished tied for third in the annual Mongol Derby; the event ended Aug. 15.

Byeronie Epstein won the Derby, a 600-mile trek over wooden plains, sandy dunes and steppe. Elise Poitrinal finshed second, while Tanaka — a 25-year-old Canyon del Oro High School and NYU grad — finished tied with two others for third.

That she finished in the top-10 is an accomplishment. The race included 37 horsemen and international adventurers, three of whom retired in the race’s early stages.

The Star's Jon Gold wrote about Tanaka last month. You can read his story here.

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