Daniel Connolly takes victory at Whole Earth-sponsored event in Llanwrtyd Wells on Saturday
It is almost 20 years since Huw Lobb became the first man to beat the animals in the Man vs Horse Marathon in north Wales. On Saturday (June 10) the feat was achieved for the fourth time in history as Daniel Connolly took victory in 2:24:38 – around 10 minutes ahead of the first horse.
When Lobb created history in 2004 he won a prize of £25,000 from the former sponsors William Hill with the betting firm describing it at the time as “the biggest unclaimed prize in athletics”.
Royal Marine Mark Croasdale had come close several times, whereas a team of Kenyans once had a crack too but, as AW reported at the time, “one blew up, one went the wrong way and they wore racing shoes that gave no grip on the ground”.
Over the 42-year-old history of the race it has become clear that the humans have more chance if the conditions are either really wet and slippery or very hot. The latter happened this year during the UK-wide heatwave with the horses being forced to take breaks to cool down. This allowed Connolly to strike ahead of about 1200 runners and 60 horses over a hilly multi-terrain 22-mile course.
His victory comes hot off the heels of last year’s winner, Ricky Lightfoot, making Man vs Horse history for a runner to beat the horse in two consecutive years.
Bob Greenough, organiser at Man v Horse, says: “Having a runner complete the event before the horse is so unusual but to have it happen twice in a row is just unbelievable. We were stunned! Huge congratulations to Daniel and all the participants that took on the challenge this year. It was a warm and sunny day and everyone was in great spirits.”
Nicola Turner, brand controller from the sponsor Whole Earth, added: “We were delighted to sponsor Man v Horse again this year for the ninth time. It’s become an integral part of our calendar. This truly nutty race is incredible to be part of.
“This year I joined the race myself as part of the Whole Earth relay team and discovered the unique feeling of taking in beautiful surroundings, whilst fighting for your breath on steep incline after steep incline as well as tentatively listening out for the sound of hooves coming up on your outside – it’s magical yet slightly unnerving at times!”
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