Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales bills itself as the smallest town in Britain with about 900 residents. Each June the population nearly doubles as competitors journey from near and far to compete in the town’s famous race. A race that strives to answer the question, “can a man outrun a horse over a long distance?”

A pub bet became the inspiration for The Man Versus Horse Marathon. Patrons of the Neaudd Arms Hotel & Brewery were arguing whether a man could out run a horse. To settle the question, pub owner, Gordon Green organized the first race in 1980.

The Man Versus Horse Marathon isn’t technically a marathon, its only 22 miles instead of 26.2.  What it lacks in distance is more than made up by difficulty. The race is mapped over rough terrain following the town’s paths and trails.

To make things even more interesting there is a pool of prize money awarded to any human that beats the horses. Each year L1000 ($1275) is added to the pool and payouts are infrequent at best. In fact, only twice in 37 years have humans won, in 2004 and 2007.

Iola Evans and her horse Rheidol Petra

650 humans and 60 rider/horse teams competed in this year’s race held June 11th. The winner was Rheidol Petra ridden by Iola Evans who crossed the finished line in 2:30:00. The first runner, Owen Beilby, finished 20 minutes later.

Hang in their bi-peds, there’s always next year!

Photography Courtesy Whole Earth Man v Horse