Results for Man vs. Horse, 08-Jun-2013
Official results are here:
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.
And so it was that 5 intrepid Sphinx runners made the 3 hour drive to to the smallest town in the United Kingdom, Llanwrtyd Wells, to take on the horses and the rolling Welsh hills. Old hand Kevin Naughton, myself, plus newbies Max Kmicic, Quentin Henry and my good lady wife. Conditions could not have been more different to last year’s event; the ground was firm, the weather set fair and the course altered considerably in the middle stage due to forestry work. It was still 23.68 off-road miles though, still as many hills to negotiate, still the same river crossing at the end and still the usual disconcerting sound of some 65 horses thundering up behind you as you made your way up and down the narrow hillside tracks of shale, grass, tree roots and mud. Sun-screen and plenty of water en route were definitely the order of the day as the temperature steadily rose to the early twenties. By late afternoon we were all done. Times were positively irrelevant, however Max came home in an excellent 4:08, and loved every minute of it. Quentin, just under 4:55 and hated every minute of it, followed closely by Kev in 5:05, and finally Jax and I in a touch over 5:33.
For the record, the horse won (again!) with the first rider coming home in 2:18; the first individual runner arriving around 30 minutes later in 2:46 – a reflection of the warm conditions and the new tougher course. In all 424 runners and riders completed the course. Some firsts for the Sphinxees – Jackie became the first Sphinx Woman versus Horse competitor to complete this event. Max had never run more than a half-marathon before and Quentin had never been to Wales before – and we got the usual “I’m never coming back” from him post-race. We’ll see……