Neigh way for runners

By Mark Elson in Other Sports

RUNNERS were odds on to lose when they took on horses and riders in an arduous 23-mile race.

And so it proved with another equine victory in the 38th “Man v Horse” marathon in Llanwrtyd Wells, where runners have only won twice since the event started in 1980.

Twelve intrepid Forest of Dean AC runners battled constant rainfall and winds on a muddy course, plus 4,000ft of climbing, and all of them beat at least two horses home.

The race normally covers 21.5 miles with 3,000ft of ascent.

But this year the recent weather had been so wet that organisers made a change on safety grounds, removing a stream crossing, but replacing it with an extra two miles and another 1000ft of climbing. 

The fastest horse last lost in 2007, winning this time by a clear 30 minutes. Dan Sandford was first FODAC runner to finish in 3hours 25minutes 22seconds, 35.01 back on winner Owen Beilby of Wharfdale Harriers.

Next was Julian Boon in 4.15.40, much slower than usual, but he was saving himself for an Ironman in the Lake District. 

Third FODAC runner home, and first lady, was Helen Lipscomb in 4.26.00, followed by Chris Moore, three seconds behind.  

Second lady was Gemma Hewitt in 4.34.18, and third Kate Burke 5.25.47, with fastest woman overall Maddie Horton of Team Donut in 3.15.52 

Other FODAC times were Andy Morgan 4.33.22; Mark Channer 4.35.25; Stef Francis 5.29.22; Jo Edwards 5.29.22; Catherine Roberts 5.29.26; and Michael Marks 5.29.22.

First lady was Maddie Horton of Team Donut in 3.15.52. 

The race was founded in 1980 when the landlord of a local pub overheard a discussion between two men.

One man suggested that over a significant distance across country, man was equal to any horse, and the landlord decided that the challenge should be tested in full public view, and organised the first event.

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