Who will win – man or horse? Liz and Martin Yelling look ahead to this year’s Whole Earth Man v Horse challenge
Man v Horse is an event that has legendary status among endurance runners. As the name suggests, the annual race pits humans against horses, with runners and riders racing over approximately 22 miles of the challenging terrain of Powys, mid-Wales.
Now in its 37th year, the event has an amazing heritage. The original idea was conceived in a pub in Wales when a pub landlord overheard two men discussing that a man was equal to any horse over a great distance. Two years later the first Man v Horse race took place, though it was 25 years before man finally beat a horse to the finish line.
Huw Lobb was the first man to beat the horses with a time of 2:05:19 in 2004 – the same year that AW‘s editor Jason Henderson also took on the challenge. The feat has only been achieved once since then by Florian Holzinger with a time of 2:20:30 in 2007.
Whole Earth’s Man v Horse was featured on BBC2’s Natural Born Winners on Sunday (March 27), with the show following the likes of former sprinters Donovan Bailey and Iwan Thomas as they tackled last year’s competition.
“It’s sooooooo tough,” wrote Thomas in response to an AW tweet highlighting his appearance on the programme.
Two-time Olympian Liz Yelling, endurance coach Martin Yelling and nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed were among those to launch this year’s event at London’s Hyde Park where they spoke about the challenge and some of the participants involved in 2016.