July 2, 2018

MAKE IT A CAR RACE (profanity alert):

The Race That Pairs Humans Against Horses (Harry Harris, Jun 27 2018,  VICE UK)

"Who would win in a race between a man and a horse?" is an age-old question that might liven up an otherwise dead chat in the pub after a few pints. Bolshy contrarians insisting that, on a good day, on dry ground, they could make a decent attempt. Part-time equine enthusiasts weighing in on the unpredictability of the animal and the myriad factors--weather, temperament, atmosphere, form--that could determine their success.

The thing is, you're not meant to follow through on these conversations. The hypothetical is often so much more interesting than the reality, especially when the reality involves physically pitting yourself against a beast that could end your life with a single kick. However, one of these conversations happened in a pub in Llanwrtyd Wells, mid-Wales, and the participants thought they would test it out for real.

That's why I'm at the 39 annual staging of Man vs. Horse, a 21-mile cross country race between 1,000+ runners and a maximum of 65 horses. In terms of numbers, this is the biggest horse race in the UK. Bigger than the Grand National, with the added bonus of no horses being shot in front of a baying crowd.

Man, so far, has won twice. Let's just get that out of the way. The first was Huw Lobb in 2004, beating the horse by a clean couple of minutes, and then Florian Holzinger in 2007, who reportedly announced after finishing the race: "I am the German who is faster than a horse!"

Posted by at July 2, 2018 6:13 PM