Man versus Horse Marathon
The Man versus Horse Marathon is an annual race over 22 miles (35 km), where runners compete against riders on horseback. 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
The event started in 1980, when local landlord Gordon Green overheard a discussion between two men in his pub, the Neuadd Arms. 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. The feat was repeated in 2007, when human competitors outpaced the first equine competitor by up to 11 minutes.
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. 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 was most certainly the year of the Horse with a number of very good riders and horses competing.The underfoot conditions favoured the hoof over the shoe. However some very good times were recorded by the front runners considering wetness of the track. First Rider was Beti Gordon riding Next in Line Grangeway whilst first runner home 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
|Year||Winner||Fastest Horse||Fastest Runner||Weather Conditions||Going|
|2013||Horse||Beti Gordon on Next in line Grangeway (2:18:03)||Hugh Aggleton (2:46:25)||Hot||Good|
|2012||Horse||Iola Evans on Rheidol Star (2:00:51)||Huw Lobb (2:25:57)||Cloudy||Very Heavy|
|2011||Horse||Beti Gordon on Next in line Grangeway (2:08:37)||Charlie Pearson (2:25:45)||Rain/Sun/Windy||Heavy|
|2010||Horse||Llinos Mair Jones on Sly Dai (2:07:04)||Haggai Chepkwony (2:17:27)||Hot||Good to Soft|
|2009||Horse||Geoffrey Allen on Dukes Touch of Fun (2:11:43)||Martin Cox (2:20:02)||Hot||Heavy|
|2008||Horse||Geoffrey Allen on Dukes Touch of Fun (2:18:13)||John Macfarlane (2:18:43)||Hot||Good to Soft|
|2007||Human||Geoffrey Allen on Lucy (2:31:26)||Florian Holzinger (2:20:30)||Hot||Good to Firm|
|2006||Horse||Denise Meldrum on Tarran Bay (2:10:29)||Haggai Chepkwony (2:19:06)||Warm||Soft|
|2005||Horse||Lise Cooke on Gifted Lady (02:19:11)||Stephen Goulding (02:33:22)||Unknown||Unknown|
|2004||Human||Zoe White on Kay Bee Jay (2:07:36)||Huw Lobb (2:05:19)||Hot||Unknown|
|2003||Horse||Robyn Petrie-Ritchie on Druimguiga Shemal (2:02:01)||Mark Croasdale (2:19:02)||Unknown||Unknown|
|2002||Horse||Robyn Petrie-Ritchie on Druimguiga Shemal (2:02:23)||James McQueen (2:18:52)||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)||Mark Palmer (2:16)||Unknown||Unknown|
|1998||Horse||Jackie Gilmour on Ruama (1:46)||Stuart Major (2:16)||Unknown||Unknown|
|1997||Horse||Megan Lewis on unknown (1:52)||Paul Cadwallader (2:09)||Unknown||Unknown|
|1996||Horse||Ken Mapp on Ahmaar (1:57)||Mark Palmer (2:12)||Unknown||Unknown|
|1995||Horse||Ken Mapp on Ahmaar (1:57)||Paul Cadwallader (2:06)||Unknown||Unknown|
|1994||Horse||Celia Tymons on Eskalabar (1:52)||Mark Croasdale (2:09)||Unknown||Unknown|
|1993||Horse||John Hudson on unknown (1:47)||Robin Bergstrand (2:03)||Unknown||Unknown|
|1992||Horse||Zoe Jennings on Hussar (1:38)||Derek Green (2:09)||Unknown||Unknown|
|1991||Horse||Zoe Jennings on Hussar (1:30)||Mark Croasdale (2:05)||Unknown||Unknown|
|1990||Horse||Ray Jenkins on The Doid and Chris Powell on Elkie (1:36)||Glyn Williams (2:07)||Unknown||Unknown|
|1989||Horse||Ray Jenkins on The Doid (1:54)||Mark Croasdale (2:10)||Unknown||Unknown|
|1988||Horse||John Davies on Mavies (1:47)||Mark Croasdale (2:08)||Unknown||Unknown|
|1987||Horse||Ray Jenkins on The Doid and Bill George on Mando (1:32)||Paul Wheeler (1:57)||Unknown||Unknown|
|1986||Horse||Nia Tudno-Jones on Jenny (1:44)||Fuselier Hughes (2:08)||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|
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- "Man versus horse marathon". Green Events. Retrieved 2008-08-02.
- "Horse outruns man in marathon, but only just". London: Telegraph.co.uk. 2008-06-16. Retrieved 2008-08-02.
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- "Man v Horse = Llanwrtyd Wells 2013". Online Race Results.
- "Man v Horse = Llanwrtyd Wells 2012". Online Race Results.
- "Man v Horse = Llanwrtyd Wells 2011". Online Race Results.
- "Man v Horse = Llanwrtyd Wells 2010". Online Race Results.
- "Man v Horse = Llanwrtyd Wells 2009". Online Race Results.
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- "Man v Horse - Llanwrtyd Wells 2007". Online Race Results. Retrieved 2008-08-02.
- "Man v Horse - Llanwrtyd Wells 2006". Online Race Results. Retrieved 2008-08-02.
- "Man v Horse - Llanwrtyd Wells 2005". Online Race Results. Retrieved 2008-08-02.
- "Man v Horse - Llanwrtyd Wells 2004". Online Race Results. Retrieved 2008-08-02.
- "Man v Horse - Llanwrtyd Wells 2003". William Hill. Retrieved 2009-06-15.
- "Man v Horse - Llanwrtyd Wells 2002". William Hill. Retrieved 2009-06-15.
- "Man v Horse - Llanwrtyd Wells 1987-1999". Angelfire. Retrieved 2009-06-15.
I raced in 1990 and the weather was warm, muggy and a wee bit damp. I was just over 4 hours for the 22 miles.