Man versus Horse Marathon

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The Man versus Horse Marathon is an annual race over 22 miles (35 km), where runners compete against riders on horseback.[1][2] The race — which is a shorter distance than an official marathon road race — takes place in the Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells every June.

History of the race[edit]

Competitors in the 2006 Man versus Horse Marathon

The event started in 1980,[3] when local landlord Gordon Green overheard a discussion between two men in his pub, the Neuadd Arms.[4] One man suggested that over a significant distance across country, man was equal to any horse. Green decided that the challenge should be tested in full public view, and organised the first event.

The first woman to run the race was Ann King in 1981. In 1982, the route of the course was amended slightly to give a more even match between the competitors. The course is slightly shorter than a traditional marathon at a reported 22 miles, but over rougher terrain. In 1985, cyclists were allowed to compete too - and that year, U.S. ladies' champion cyclist Jacquie Phelan narrowly lost to the first horse. In 1989, British cyclist Tim Gould beat the first horse by three minutes - the first time that a horse was beaten by a human in the race.

In 2004, the 25th race was won by Huw Lobb in 2 hours, 5 minutes and 19 seconds. It was the first time that a man racing on foot has won the race, thereby winning the prize fund of £25,000 ($31,786.40) (which had been growing by £1,000 each year from the race's inception until claimed by a winning runner). The year's race also saw the highest ever number of competitors; 500 runners and 40 horses.[1] The feat was repeated in 2007, when human competitors outpaced the first equine competitor by up to 11 minutes.[5]

The 2009 race was marred by controversy when the organizers deducted time spent in the 'vet checks' from the horse times in addition to the 15 minutes for the delayed start of the horses. The deduction of this additional time enabled the horse to triumph by 8 minutes, instead of being defeated by 2. Whilst the organizers at the time claimed that the time spent in the vet check (which is not accurately monitored on a horse-by-horse basis) had always been deducted, this had not occurred in previous years.[6] The fastest runner, Martin Cox, refused to accept the winners trophy in protest at the decision. Following protests from other competitors, the organizers reverted to the previously followed rules of only deducting 15 minutes for the 2010 edition of the race. However, despite Haggai Chepkwony running the fastest time since Huw Lobb's record breaking effort in 2004, a horse triumphed by 10 minutes. 2011 featured a number of very good riders and horses competing, and the wet track conditions favored horses over runners, but some very good times were recorded by the front runners. The winning rider was Beti Gordon riding Next in Line Grangeway, while the top runner was Charlie Pearson from London.

2012 saw the return of Huw Lobb, the runner who first beat the horse and landed £25,000 as a bonus. His winning time was, however, considerably down on his winning time from 2004. Coming 3rd in the Cork Marathon just five days earlier may have contributed to his running slower than perhaps he might. In 2013, extensive forestry works meant the organizers had to modify the route considerably, resulting in a course of nearly 24 miles, instead of the usual route of just under 21 miles. Despite a very hot day, the longer and hillier course favoured the horses, with 2011 winner Beti Gordon comfortably beating the first man Hugh Aggleton.

The 2013 race attracted an entry of 65 horses, with 44 completing the course, enabling it to lay claim to being "the world's largest horse race".

Winners of the race[edit]

Year Winner Fastest Horse Fastest Runner Weather Conditions Going
2014 Horse Geoffrey Allen on Leo (2:22:53)[7] Jonathan Albon (2:42:49)[7] Warm to Hot Good to Soft
2013 Horse Beti Gordon on Next in line Grangeway (2:18:03)[8] Hugh Aggleton (2:46:25)[8] Hot Good
2012 Horse Iola Evans on Rheidol Star (2:00:51)[9] Huw Lobb (2:25:57)[9] Cloudy Very Heavy
2011 Horse Beti Gordon on Next in line Grangeway (2:08:37)[10] Charlie Pearson (2:25:45)[10] Rain/Sun/Windy Heavy
2010 Horse Llinos Mair Jones on Sly Dai (2:07:04)[11] Haggai Chepkwony (2:17:27)[11] Hot Good to Soft
2009 Horse Geoffrey Allen on Dukes Touch of Fun (2:11:43)[12] Martin Cox (2:20:02)[12] Hot Heavy
2008 Horse Geoffrey Allen on Dukes Touch of Fun (2:18:13)[3][13] John Macfarlane (2:18:43)[3][13] Hot Good to Soft
2007 Human Geoffrey Allen on Lucy (2:31:26)[14] Florian Holzinger (2:20:30)[14] Hot Good to Firm
2006 Horse Denise Meldrum on Tarran Bay (2:10:29)[15] Haggai Chepkwony (2:19:06)[15] Warm Soft
2005 Horse Lise Cooke on Gifted Lady (02:19:11)[16] Stephen Goulding (02:33:22)[16] Unknown Unknown
2004 Human Zoe White on Kay Bee Jay (2:07:36)[17] Huw Lobb (2:05:19)[17] Hot Unknown
2003 Horse Robyn Petrie-Ritchie on Druimguiga Shemal (2:02:01)[18] Mark Croasdale (2:19:02)[18] Unknown Unknown
2002 Horse Robyn Petrie-Ritchie on Druimguiga Shemal (2:02:23)[19] James McQueen (2:18:52)[19] Unknown Unknown
2001 Horse Heather Evans on Royal Mikado (2:08:06) Martin Cox (2:17:17) Unknown Unknown
2000 Horse Heather Evans on Royal Mikado (2:08) Mark Croasdale (2:10) Unknown Unknown
1999 Horse Jackie Gilmour on Ruama (1:58)[20] Mark Palmer (2:16)[20] Unknown Unknown
1998 Horse Jackie Gilmour on Ruama (1:46)[20] Stuart Major (2:16)[20] Unknown Unknown
1997 Horse Megan Lewis on unknown (1:52)[20] Paul Cadwallader (2:09)[20] Unknown Unknown
1996 Horse Ken Mapp on Ahmaar (1:57)[20] Mark Palmer (2:12)[20] Unknown Unknown
1995 Horse Ken Mapp on Ahmaar (1:57)[20] Paul Cadwallader (2:06)[20] Unknown Unknown
1994 Horse Celia Tymons on Eskalabar (1:52)[20] Mark Croasdale (2:09)[20] Unknown Unknown
1993 Horse John Hudson on unknown (1:47)[20] Robin Bergstrand (2:03)[20] Unknown Unknown
1992 Horse Zoe Jennings on Hussar (1:38)[20] Derek Green (2:09)[20] Unknown Unknown
1991 Horse Zoe Jennings on Hussar (1:30)[20] Mark Croasdale (2:05)[20] Unknown Unknown
1990 Horse Ray Jenkins on The Doid and Chris Powell on Elkie (1:36)[20] Glyn Williams (2:07)[20] Unknown Unknown
1989 Horse Ray Jenkins on The Doid (1:54)[20] Mark Croasdale (2:10)[20] Unknown Unknown
1988 Horse John Davies on Mavies (1:47)[20] Mark Croasdale (2:08)[20] Unknown Unknown
1987 Horse Ray Jenkins on The Doid and Bill George on Mando (1:32)[20] Paul Wheeler (1:57)[20] Unknown Unknown
1986 Horse Nia Tudno-Jones on Jenny (1:44)[20] Fuselier Hughes (2:08)[20] Unknown Unknown
1985 Horse Nia Tudno-Jones on Jenny (1:40) David Woodhead (2:08) Unknown Unknown
1984 Horse William Jones on Solitaire (1:20) David Woodhead (2:05) Unknown Unknown
1983 Horse Ann Thomas on Nutmeg (1:26) Dic Evans (2:02) Unknown Unknown
1982 Horse Sue Thomas on Simon (2:06) Paul Brownson (2:10) Unknown Unknown
1981 Horse Clive Powell on Sultan (2:02) Dic Evans (2:24) Unknown Unknown
1980 Horse Glyn Jones on Solomon (1:27) Dic Evans (2:10) Unknown Unknown

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "History made as man beats horse". BBC News. 2004-06-13. Retrieved 2008-08-02. 
  2. ^ "Man versus horse marathon". Green Events. Retrieved 2008-08-02. 
  3. ^ a b c "Horse outruns man in marathon, but only just". London: Telegraph.co.uk. 2008-06-16. Retrieved 2008-08-02. 
  4. ^ "Man versus horse marathon". William Hill. Retrieved 2008-08-02. 
  5. ^ "Two men beat horse in race". BBC News. 2007-06-09. Retrieved 2008-08-02. 
  6. ^ "Trans World Sports". Trans World Sports. 
  7. ^ a b "Man v Horse = Llanwrtyd Wells 2014". Results Base. 
  8. ^ a b "Man v Horse = Llanwrtyd Wells 2013". Online Race Results. 
  9. ^ a b "Man v Horse = Llanwrtyd Wells 2012". Online Race Results. 
  10. ^ a b "Man v Horse = Llanwrtyd Wells 2011". Online Race Results. 
  11. ^ a b "Man v Horse = Llanwrtyd Wells 2010". Online Race Results. 
  12. ^ a b "Man v Horse = Llanwrtyd Wells 2009". Online Race Results. 
  13. ^ a b "Man v Horse = Llanwrtyd Wells 2008". Online Race Results. 
  14. ^ a b "Man v Horse - Llanwrtyd Wells 2007". Online Race Results. Retrieved 2008-08-02. 
  15. ^ a b "Man v Horse - Llanwrtyd Wells 2006". Online Race Results. Retrieved 2008-08-02. 
  16. ^ a b "Man v Horse - Llanwrtyd Wells 2005". Online Race Results. Retrieved 2008-08-02. 
  17. ^ a b "Man v Horse - Llanwrtyd Wells 2004". Online Race Results. Retrieved 2008-08-02. 
  18. ^ a b "Man v Horse - Llanwrtyd Wells 2003". William Hill. Retrieved 2009-06-15. 
  19. ^ a b "Man v Horse - Llanwrtyd Wells 2002". William Hill. Retrieved 2009-06-15. 
  20. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab "Man v Horse - Llanwrtyd Wells 1987-1999". Angelfire. Retrieved 2009-06-15. 

External links[edit]