Wednesday, June 06, 2012
Great Britain: Man vs. Horse Marathon
The Man v Horse Marathon began in June 1980 following a chat over a pint (or three) in the back bar of Neuadd Arms Hotel. The then Landlord, Gordon Green overheard two men discussing the relative merits of men and horses running over mountainous terrain. The enterprising Gordon, never one to miss an opportunity to promote Llanwrtyd Wells and improve business at his hotel, decided to put it to the test. And so began Green Events and its first, longest standing and now internationally acclaimed event, The Man versus Horse Marathon.
The course was changed in 1982 to provide a more even match between the man and the horse resulting year on year in very close finishes - sometimes with the horse winning by only a few seconds. It took 25 years before a man finally beat a horse, Huw Lobb won in 2hrs and 5mins beating the fastest horse by 2 minutes.
When: 9th June 2012
Where: Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales
Man vs. Woman. Normal.
Man vs. Man. Routine.
Man vs. Horse. Bizarre.
Horse beats Man. Natural.
Woman beats Man. Way to go.
Man beats horse.
Man beats horse? Wow!
It takes real horsepower to beat a horse at his own game. Many a runner has put his best foot forward but only one man has taken a horse head on and come out ahead. And not just by a nose.
Like all good stories, this one too began in a pub. With a few pints inside him, one man claimed men were equal to horses any given day. Several pints later, it was decided to publicly test his claim and the first race took place in June 1980.
From that year forth, the action takes place in Llanwrtyd Wells, host town for the unique horse vs. man marathon. This year will be the 32nd time when over 300 runners test their legs and lungs against that of 20 horses in a gruelling 22-mile cross country race in the Welsh mountains.
The odds favour the horses despite a 15-minute head start for humans - up for grabs is a substantial booty to the runner who beats a horse to the finishing line. Any takers?
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