Words: Ruth Jones
Runners looking for a challenge of epic proportions had their wish granted when heavy rain in the preceding 24 hours set the stage for one of the hardest editions of the notoriously tough Man vs Horse fell race’s 36-year history, on a wet Saturday in Llanwrtyd Wells.
Hundreds of hardy trail runners pitted their wits against their wily horse-riding competitors when they scaled more than 4000ft of ascent across the 22-mile off-road course in the Welsh mountains. Such was the extent of the course’s brutality, which featured endless gruelling climbs, river crossings and slippery descents down rocky hillsides, half of all the horse entries failed to finish.
The first man to cross the line was military man Ross Macdonald, who fought hard to beat all but five of his equine rivals to finish in 2:37:51. Bristol & West’s 2:24 marathoner Jarlath McKenna clocked 2:39:46 to just hold off Woodbridge’s Tom Fairbrother, whose 2:39:59 represented his tenth ‘marathon’ this year.
Cardiff University’s Emily Lagomarsino impressed when she triumphed over Bourneville Harrier’s road runner Nicola Sykes, the pair posting 3:06:23 and 3:15:23 respectively, while Taf Running & Orienteering’s Nerys Jones came third on the women's podium in 3:13:23.