Saturday, November 18, 2023

Pitting Humans Against Horses in Prescott - Full Story

What began as a bar bet 40 years ago has become a favourite annual competition for runners and riders in the mountains of central Arizona.

By: Kim Izzo | November 15, 2023

It is the kind of sporting event that could only have evolved out of a bar bet, and that is exactly the origin story behind the Prescott, Arizona Man Against Horse Race that saw its origins four decades ago.

It all began in a bar in 1983, when Gheral Brownlow bet his friend and cowboy Steve Rafters that he could beat his horse, on foot, in a race. The current event includes a 50-mile, 25-mile, and half-marathon race. The horses run alongside the runners and the first horse and rider (or runner) to cross the finish line wins. There are several vet checks for the horses along the route and the time they are stopped for this is subtracted from their overall time. The organizers warn that “the 25- and 50-mile courses are extremely strenuous … should not be undertaken without significant preparation...”

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