Man vs Horse June 4th 2010

Marathon Mann gegen Pferd

Who do you think would win in a race between a man and a horse?

Seems obvious doesn't it, but don't be so sure. The annual Man versus Horse Marathon in the small Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells has seen both animal and human winners since it started over 30 years ago. This year's race is on 12 June; place your bets!

The event started when local landlord Gordon Green overheard a discussion between locals in his pub, the Neuadd Arms. One man said that since a horse was neither very good at going up a steep hill, or down one, that over a long distance on the local terrain, man was equal to any horse. Green decided the challenge should be tested and organised the very first Man versus Horse Marathon.

Around 500 runners and 50 horses compete every year. The course is slightly shorter than a normal marathon at 22 miles, but it’s over rougher terrain – including marsh, mountain and bog. The race attracts hundreds of spectators to this usually quiet Welsh spa town and has become one of the UK’s favourite bizarre events.

It’s always been a very close call at the finish line between man and horse - sometimes with just seconds in it. It took 25 years before the first man finally beat a horse when Huw Lobb won in 2hrs and 5mins beating the fastest horse by 2 minutes, but since then there have been a number of winners of the ‘human’ side.

Llanwrtyd Wells is also home to another favourite bizarre event, the annual Bog Snorkelling Championships, which involves competitors racing through the famous (and very muddy) Waen Rhydd Bog.

So when you’re in Britain, come and see what might just be our strangest races – or why not take part yourself?

To run: £18 per individual £54 per relay team | To ride horse: £25 per horse and rider

See Green Events website for more information.

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