For only the third time in the competition’s history, a human has triumphed over a horse. Ricky Lightfoot, 37, fought off 1,000 other runners and 50 horses to win the prize, completing the route in 2 hours, 22 minutes, and 23 seconds. Lightfoot was awarded £3,500 for his services, a sum that would have been completely squandered on a horse with no notion of money.
Since its inception in 1980, the tournament has only had three human champions. The race was inspired by a drunken quarrel at a pub, as one might assume. The landlord of the Neuadd Arms in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales, overheard two customers disputing (as you do) about the advantages of people versus horses. After a few more beers, one of the men declared that people could equal the performance of any horse over a long distance. Not content with supposition, the landlord, Gordon Green, determined that this slurred idea should be put to the test in a public competition.
People have raced against horses in a perpetual war for dominance every year since then, with the exception of a few years when the event was suspended due to the epidemic. They’ve thrashed us in every year but three. After 24 years and a little course change to make it more humane, we finally had our first human champion in 2004. Another human won the championship three years later, but it would be another 15 years until Lightfoot won for humans again, this time by two minutes over the quickest horse.
Lightfoot told the BBC after the race that victory was “really awesome, like.” The firefighter stated that his partner was astonished by the win, despite the fact that he was convinced he could give the horse a solid race. “‘I beat the horse,’ I exclaimed over the phone to my partner. ‘Are you kidding?’ she said “According to Lightfoot, who spoke to the BBC, “‘No, I didn’t,’ I said. ‘Oh my God!’ she said.” The losing horse did not provide any quotes.