Jun 15 2008 Media Wales
FOUR legs triumphed over two legs, but only just, in an endurance event with a difference today.
More than 300 individual runners, 65 relay teams of three runners each and 46 horses competed in the annual 22-mile Man Versus Horse race in Llanwrtyd Wells, Powys, mid Wales.
Runner John Macfarlane was the first placed individual runner when he finished the gruelling course in a time of two hours, 18 minutes and 13 seconds.
The time was just a mere 30 seconds slower than Geoffrey Allen from Budeleigh, Worcestershire, who crossed the line riding horse Duke’s Touch of Fun.
The first race took place in 1980 and it has been a regular fixture in the eccentric village also known for its Bog Snorkelling Championships.
Three years ago, Huw Lobb from Bedford became the first human to win the competition and scooped £25,000 of unclaimed prize money accumulated over the years.
Equine superiority was restored the following year when horse Gifted Lady, ridden by mother-of-one Lisa Cooke, 39, from Carmarthen, South Wales, won in two hours and 19 minutes.
Gordon Green of Green Events, the company responsible for putting on many of the quirky events in Llanwrtyd Wells, said: “Mr Macfarlane was very disappointed to lose by just 30 seconds.
“Had he beat the horse he would have won £30,000 but in the end he just collected a cup, which was a shame.”
“I’m very pleased with how the day went. The weather conditions were fine and it was a glorious day.
“We had 46 horses taking part which is more than any other horse race in Britain.”
He added: “People are surprised that a runner can be as fast as a horse. You have to remember that the course is over a long distance and they have to keep horses in good condition and they have to slow down and stop ahead of the vet check halfway round the course.
“All these things are slowing but are required for the welfare of the horse because it is easy to run a horse into the ground.
“There is a lot of welfare attached to racing horse whereas there isn’t for runners.”
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