Welcome to the Man V Horse

The 2004 Man Versus Horse Marathon was our 25th anniversary and what an event it turned out to be. Huw Lobb (click here for pictures) beat the first horse home, Kay Bee Jay ridden by Zoe White, by 2 minutes and won the 25,000 prize put up by William Hill. Thanks to all who took part in the event, either as an individual runner, relay team member or as a horse rider, and I am sure that the 2005 event on the 11th June will be a great success. Many thanks, Gordon Green.


Chatting over a pint one night, Neuadd Arms landlord Gordon Green overheard two men discussing the relative merits of man and horse. After several pints, one was brave (or half witted and inbred) enough, to suggest that over a significant distance across country, man was equal to any horse. After several more pints and two bottles of Absinthe, the inevitable challenge was made, at which point Gordon decided that, rather than this be a private argument, it should be put to test in full public view. This is exactly what has happened every year since then. It transpires that there is an historic precedent for this event. Early in the 18th century, one Guto Nyth-Bran is reported to have raced a horse in Cardiganshire, and won. The actual pitting of man against horse in a marathon, though, appears to be unique to the annual event in Llanwrtyd Wells. The first race took place in June 1980. In 1982 the course was changed to provide a more even match between man and horse, and in 1999 the fastest horse beat the runner by only 80 seconds. In 1985 mountain bikes were introduced to the race and Jacqui Phelan, US Ladies' Champion, was just minutes behind the first horse. In 1989 Tim Gould, Cycles Peugeot UK, beat the horse by nearly 3 minutes. This was the first time the winning horse had been beaten by a mountain cyclist and Tim won 5,000 from William Hill for his fine achievement. The bookies also had to pay out a bonus in 1995 and 1996 when a relay team came home ahead of the first horse. Unfortunately, mountain bikes have not been allowed to participate in the races held since 1994 because of an anomaly in the law, which forbids bicycles to race on bridalways. The Department of Transport has recognized this and proposals to change the law are being sought. In 2004, the horse was beaten into first place by a runner when Huw Lobb beat the first horse, Kay Bee Jay ridden by Zoe White, by 2 minutes. William Hill paid Huw 25,000 for this historic achievement.


Llanwrtyd Wells. What is it that makes Llanwrtyd Wells the venue for so many extraordinary happenings every year? Could it be something to do with the water? After all, this became a celebrated spa town when the railway opened in 1868, after a distinguished cleric more than 100 years before, had claimed that 'the smelly and sulphurous waters' had cleared his scurvy... It's probably more to do with the sense of enjoyment and participation shared by locals and visitors alike, creating a year long calendar of events ranging from ultra competitive to patently absurd. With a population of around 600, it is officially recorded as the smallest town in Britain. And there can be few better places in Europe for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Llanwrtyd Wells combines awe-inspiring scenery and completely unspoiled countryside with open roads and close proximity to the Heart of Wales Railway. Find Llanwrtyd Wells at Multimap