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Woah Nelly!: What Happens When a Man Races a Horse?

What came first, the chicken or the egg? Who would win in a fight, a lion or a bear? Who would win a race, man or horse? We don’t have the answer to the first two questions but we might have the answer to the third! The people of Wales hold an annual Man vs. Horse race to see who would win. Who do you think would reign victorious?



1,000 People Race Horses in Wales to See Who Would Win

Who would win in a race between a man and a horse? This question tends to lead to heated discussions during happy hour at your favorite bar. While most people believe that the horse would take the win every time, some people argue that on the right terrain in ideal conditions, the man could end up successful.

These kinds of hypothetical arguments are always entertaining but the people who take part in the debate know that they’ll never actually see it happen in reality. Hold that thought because the people of Wales discussed this hypothetical race and turned it into a real-life challenge.

How It All Began

The first man vs. horse race was in 1980 when Gordon Green, a local landlord, overheard a discussion in his pub. One man said that over a significant distance, a man was equal to a horse. Entertained by this idea, Green organized the first race.

For the first 9 years, a man consistently lost to horse until 1989 when a cyclist beat the horse by 3 minutes. Yes, you read that right, a cyclist. In 1985, cyclists became eligible to compete in the race. It wasn’t until 2004 that Huw Lobb won the race for the first time on foot. The prize? $31,000 which had been growing ever since the first race.

3, 2, 1… Go!

At the 2018 race, the runners begin to gather outside The Neuadd Arms Hotel around 10 am. This is the starting line for the race in the center of town. Most racers hope to finish the 21-mile race in under 3 hours. The terrain is rough. It’s full of ups and downs, rivers, and uneven ground.

The start times are different for man and horse. Man gets a 15-minute head start while the horses have vet checks and water breaks. Around 10:30 the horses gallop into the center of the square to make their first appearance.

The fastest runners typically finish the race in two and a half hours. Once the first runner hits the finish line, a 15-minute countdown begins to see if a horse will arrive and beat a man. At the end, there is a tent full of free food for the runners and other food that the runners can purchase.

First of all, it’s important to mention that since the race started in 1980 to 2018, man has only won the race twice. Is it fair to say that a horse is probably faster than a man? Only time and some more races for the stats will tell. So far horses are in the lead!