Tuesday, 28 May 2024

Man vs. Horse Marathon

The Man vs. Horse Marathon is a unique sporting event that pits runners against horse riders in an epic competition. This challenging race covers a course of approximately 22 miles (35 km) and has been held annually in June since 1980.

A Test of Strength and Endurance

The origins of this extraordinary event can be traced back to a conversation overheard by Gordon Green, the local landlord, at a pub in Wales. During this discussion, a man boldly claimed that over a significant distance across country, a human could match the speed and stamina of a horse. Intrigued by this claim, Green took it upon himself to organize the very first Man vs. Horse Marathon.

A Tradition That Endures

Since its inception, the Man vs. Horse Marathon has become a beloved fixture in Llanwrtyd Wells, held at the Neuadd Arms. Participants face a grueling challenge as they navigate a course that begins with a long, slow climb, followed by knee-deep bogs and river crossings within the first two miles. To ensure safety, the runners start fifteen minutes before the horses begin their gallop. Final times are adjusted to determine the fastest competitor. Additionally, halfway through the race, horses undergo a “vet check” to ensure their well-being.

Tales of Triumph

Throughout its history, the Man vs. Horse Marathon has witnessed remarkable feats. In 1981, Ann King became the first woman to participate in the race. Four years later, cyclists were welcomed to join the competition. In a stunning turn of events in 1989, Tim Gould became the first human to beat a horse, crossing the finish line on his bicycle before the equine competitors.

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The year 2004 marked another milestone when Huw Lobb became the first runner to defeat the horses. He completed the course in an impressive time of 2 hours, 5 minutes, and 19 seconds, claiming the coveted £25,000 prize. Just three years later, Florian Holzinger followed in Lobb’s footsteps and achieved the same remarkable feat.

A Controversial Moment

In 2009, controversy arose during the race when the organizers decided to deduct the time spent during the “vet checks” from the horses’ overall times. This decision faced backlash from the competitors, including Martin Cox, the fastest runner, who refused to accept his award in protest. Fortunately, after further consideration and additional objections, the organizers reverted to the previous rules, ensuring fairness for all participants.


Q: How long is the Man vs. Horse Marathon?
A: The course is approximately 22 miles (35 km) long.

Q: When was the first Man vs. Horse Marathon held?
A: The inaugural race took place in 1980.

Q: Who was the first runner to beat the horses in the Man vs. Horse Marathon?
A: Huw Lobb accomplished this feat in 2004.

Q: Is the Man vs. Horse Marathon an annual event?
A: Yes, the race is held annually in June.


The Man vs. Horse Marathon is a thrilling and challenging competition that showcases the strength and endurance of both humans and horses. Over the years, it has become a cherished tradition, attracting participants from all walks of life. With its rich history and stories of triumph, this remarkable event continues to captivate and inspire athletes and spectators alike.

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To learn more about the Man vs. Horse Marathon and stay updated on future races, visit Auralpressure.