If you’ve ever wondered whether man or horse is better at racing over mountainous terrain, then head to the Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells this weekend to find out.
The Man v Horse event is, as the name suggests, a race between man and horse. This unusual challenge takes place annually across scenic and hilly countryside in Wales. And it quite rightly, has legendary status amongst seasoned endurance runners.
Llanwrtyd Wells is home to many a quirky event, including bog snorkelling and mountain bike chariot racing. So, you may well have heard of this otherwise inconspicuous town. But this Saturday, it’s the turn of the Man v Horse race, which pits both men and women against horses and their competitive riders.
The challenge of Man v Horse
They race over approximately 22 miles (the course changes slightly each year) of tough terrain, including mountains and rivers. As you might expect, the event makes a great spectacle. And it’s free to watch. The local community are providing hot meals during the day, so all the more reason to head along.
There’s a prize jackpot of £3,500, should a runner manage to beat the horses. Although that’s a big ask. The first person to manage it was Huw Lobb 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.
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, but it was 25 years before a man finally beat a horse to the finish line.
Although challenging, there are strict safety guidelines for the event. This means that horses are checked at 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 to refresh themselves.
When: 10th June 2022
Where: Llanwrtyd Wells, Powys, Wales (the race starts outside the Neuadd Arms in the town square)
£: Free to watch