The Man vs Horse Marathon began in June 1980 following a chat over a pint (or three) in the Neuadd Arms Hotel, Llanwrtyd Wells. The then Landlord, Gordon Green, overheard two men discussing the relative merits of men and horses running over mountainous terrain. Gordon 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, now in its 37th year.
The course was changed in 1982 to provide a more even match between man and horse. It took 25 years before a man finally beat a horse. Huw Lobb won in 2hrs 5mins beating the fastest horse by 2 minutes. His feat was repeated 3 years later by Florien Holtinger, but the horse has remained unbeaten for the last 9 years now.
The course was 22 miles long with approximately 3000 ft of ascent and was extremely challenging. It was mainly cross country through fields and forests, along footpaths, bridleways and across streams with a thigh high crossing of the River Irfon close to the finish. There were approximately 60 riders/horses, 160 teams of 3 and 700 solo runners. Horses and riders began the race 15 minutes after the runners. The race rules were strict, especially regarding the horses who had to have a pre-race check, a half way vet check and pass a final vet check within 30 minutes of crossing the finish line.
2014 saw the introduction of electronic timing, with each competitor wearing a tag which automatically records their times.
The escalating jackpot for a runner who beats the first horse and rider, which started at £500 and increases by £500 per year until it is won, stands at £1500 in 2016. The first runner this year finished in a time of 2:37:44 and the first horse/rider finished in 2:17:35, beating the runner by nearly 10 mins. The previous jackpot received by Huw Lobb in 2004 had reached £25,000.
Liz Yelling, GB Olympic athlete, started the race outside the Neuadd Arms Hotel, ran the event and presented the trophies at the prize presentation afterwards.
I finished in a time of 4:14:30 and received a trophy for being 3rd Female Vet 50.