When: 9th June 2018, from 11am
Where: Llanwrtyd Wells, Powys, Wales (the race will start outside the Neuadd Arms in the town square)
£: Free to watch
What is it?
The Whole Earth Man v Horse event is, as the name suggests, a race between man and horse. This unusual challenge takes place annually in Wales, and has legendary status amongst endurance runners.
The Man v Horse race pits men (and women) against horses, with runners and riders racing over approximately 22 miles (the course changes slightly each year) of challenging terrain in Powys, mid-Wales. The race accepts 70 horses and their riders, and 400 runners each year, and this year’s entries sold out within two days.
The race will begin on Saturday morning with the runners setting off first at 11am, with the horses following closely behind (at 11.15am). The event makes a great spectacle, and it is free to watch.
The winners will receive trophies for first, second and third places, with the overall winner (be it man or horse) receiving a cut crystal glass award. If a runner wins this year’s event, then they will also receive a bonus prize.
The Whole Earth Man v Horse event is now in its 39th year. The original idea for the event was conceived in a pub in Wales, when the landlord overheard two men discussing that a man was equal to any horse over a great distance. Two years later the first race took place, though it was 25 years before a man finally beat a horse to the finish line.
Huw Lobb was the first man to beat the horses in 2004, with a fantastic time of 2:05.19. The feat has only been achieved once since then, by Florian Holzinger in 2007, with a time of 2:20.30.
There are strict safety guidelines for the event, meaning that horses are checked at three points across the course by vets who have the power to retire any horses they believe to be struggling. There are also numerous water points along the course for runners and horses.