Man Versus Horse Marathon: The Welsh Obstacle Race Where People Race Against Horses


Ever thought about who’d win between a human and a horse? – Well, this question doesn’t have quite a straightforward answer. At least not according to the Welsh obstacle race where people race against horses.

Most people would say that a horse would beat a human in a race every day of the week. And they are right when it comes to straight-line speed.

However, if you make the circuit a bit more challenging for a horse (handicap horses), then the possibility for a human win starts to emerge.

Well, if you want to find out the answer to this question you should visit the Man versus Horse Marathon in Wales. This is quite an interesting event that takes place annually and attracts many spectators and contenders who want to test their abilities against their equine competitors.

It’s a weird event that is somehow fun to watch. But let’s learn more about this event, how they’ve come up with the idea to race against horses, and learn more about its history.

History and Origins

The Man vs Horse Marathon began in 1980, when Gordon Green, a bar landlord in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales, proposed the concept after a spirited chat with guests. Inspired by horses’ renowned endurance and the human urge to push boundaries, Green planned the inaugural race as a unique and exciting event for the local community.

How It Works

The event takes place on a difficult course that weaves through Wales’ gorgeous landscape, including steep hills, muddy roads, and water hazards. Participants can select between running and riding horses, each with their own set of problems and tactics for navigating the route effectively.

The marathon normally runs around 22 miles (35 kilometers), with runners navigating rough terrain that tests their endurance and agility. River crossings, steep ascents, and uneven terrain all contribute to unpredictability, forcing racers to adapt fast and exceed their capabilities.

This is where humans could get the edge. Horses can run up to 80km/h but not for a long time. In fact, their top speed doesn’t last more than a few miles.

Since this is a marathon or an endurance race and not a quick race like the Kentucky Derby, and horses have to navigate through river crossings and uneven terrain, humans do get the chance to win the race.

The Atmosphere at the Event

One of the best things about the Man vs Horse Marathon is the lively atmosphere that all the spectators and supporters bring. It makes the event extra charming, plus is a good tourist attraction, especially for those who are looking for a unique event.

In terms of spectators, it isn’t as packed as the Kentucky Derby, that’s for sure. After all, this event is only for fun, and people cannot place a bet on the participants.

With that said, there are a fair bit of people who assemble throughout the route to cheer for the runners and horses. It is a feel-good atmosphere full of applause, laughter, and encouragement. After all, humans need it in order to win against their equine competitors.

Competitors and Strategies

Every year, many people decide to participate in the Man vs Horse Marathon. We’ve seen some seasoned athletes, equestrians, adventurers, and those who are looking for a one-of-a-kind event. They each create a different strategy that will help them win the race.

Participants are trying to manage their speed during the 35 km run, find the best route to evade the tactical obstacles, and conserve their energy so they can push at the right time.

Some competitors establish teams of human runners and mounted riders, aiming to capitalize on the skills of both species. Athletes with trail running experience frequently excel at negotiating tough terrain and adapting to unexpected weather.

Cultural Significance

Over the years, the Man vs Horse Marathon has earned international notoriety, bringing participants and spectators from all over the world.

Its combination of athleticism, friendship, and wacky attitude has solidified its place as a must-see event for adventurers and sports fans alike.

The race exemplifies the ongoing link between humans and horses, demonstrating mutual respect and appreciation for one another’s skills. It sparked similar events throughout the world, illustrating the global attraction of unorthodox and hard races that test one’s physical and mental limits.

Final Words

So, did a human ever win the race? – Yes, a British endurance runner won the race against a horse in 2022, which is a title that not many people have.

Does this mean that humans can beat horses in a race? – Well, yes but only in certain conditions.

If you want something new or an event that has a unique charm, then head to Wales to witness the action in the Man vs Horse Marathon.

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