Walesonline.co.uk - Full Article
Jun 13 2009 WalesOnline
Hooves proved better than feet for completing today's annual Man versus Horse Marathon on soggy ground.
More than 600 competitors raced across the 22-mile course in Llanwrtyd Wells, mid Wales, but it was one of the 49 horses that was first past the finishing line.
Duke's Touch of Fun, ridden by Geoff Allen, from Budeleigh, Worcestershire, completed the marathon in two hours and nine minutes.
The fastest human competitor, who was eight minutes behind, was Mark Cox, a running club member from Salford.
Lindsay Ketteringham, chairman of Green Events which organises the endurance event, said: "It's been a brilliant day, but the rain over the last couple of weeks meant the ground was soft underfoot and the horses were able to get quite a speed up. It was ideal going for the horses.
"There was a fantastic turn-out with over 600 competitors, including over 100 relay teams of three people.
"We had to limit the number of horses because it would get too unsafe."
Mr Ketteringham added: "It seems the event is still growing, we keep thinking the town can't take any more but more turn up!
"There were very long queues at the registration desks with people wanting to enter on the day."
The first race took place in June 1980 after the idea was born during a chat over a pint at the Neuadd Arms Hotel.
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 two hours and five minutes, beating the fastest horse by two minutes.
Today's winner was awarded 1,000 guineas.