Man versus Horse Marathon – 8th June 2013, by Frank



          I have to admit that a race where a man (or woman) on foot, was pitted head to head with a horse and rider seemed like a bit of a madcap idea which starts to make sense when you realise that the idea was thought up between the Landlord and locals in a Pub namely the Neuadd Arms Hotel in Llanwyrtyd Wells; Gordon Green, the then Landlord, went on to form ‘Green Events’ which have been organising the race throughout its 34 year history along with more recently unhinged exploits such as Bog Snorkling and even more recently, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkling! Well, as they say ‘variety is the spice of life’.

          One of Croft Ambrey’s founder members, Tom, is a veteran of the Man v Horse and has taken part in the event some 20 times, which must be a record in itself. He has asked me on previous occasions to join his relay team but I have always found a reason (or was that an excuse?) not to take part, anyhow this year I gladly relented and joined Tom along with late addition Andrew (the unbeatable teenager) to form a 3 man relay team, a slightly less audacious way of covering the gruelling 22 plus mile course which for this year had been extended due to forestry work ( I hope those forestry workers are pleased with themselves!)

          The results for the Croft Ambrey runners that took part are exceptional when you take into account that runners ( and of course riders) come from all over the country to take part in this event.

          Andrew lead off for our relay team and blitzed the first 6.25 miles in an, unfortunately, unknown time but he finished his leg 2nd amongst the relay runners and an incredible 5th overall, then I took over for 7.5 miles and Tom ran the final leg of well over 9 miles which resulted in us being 16th relay team with an overall time of 3:33:55, out of 107 teams!

          The individual runners, however, have my utmost respect after I struggled though 7.5 miles on a very warm day; how the hell do they cover 22.6 miles? Neil Powell finished in 3:54:32 in a perfectly respectable 69th, Dave George finished 95th in 4:11:46, Gary Gunner 116th in 4:20:47 and should have been awarded 1st MV60, due to an error the trophy was given elsewhere! and finally, Dave Rouse Jnr ( or David John Gareth as he was listed in the results) was 131st in 4:28:10; as with all Croft runners a perfectly respectable performance. There were 289 individual finishers.

          For the 32nd time the overall race was one by a horse and rider, in 2:18:03 which was 24 minutes 39 seconds ahead of the first human competitor, Anthony Glover, who was also a member of the winning relay team, whilst the winning individual runner, Hugh Aggleton, finished in a remarkable 2:46:25. Full results are in the ‘Online Race and Results Services’ website.

          All exceptional performances in a very exceptional race.

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