WTF Fun Fact 12734 – Man Wins Horse Race

For only the third time since 1980, a human has won the annual Man vs. Horse race. Ricky Lightfoot beat 50 horses (and 1000 other human runners) finishing the 22.5-mile course in 2 hours, 22 minutes, and 23 seconds. He won about $4200 for his efforts – as well as bragging rights amongst friends and foals alike.

IFL Science humorously recounted the beginning of the Man vs. Horse race:

“The idea for the race came, as you might expect, from a drunken argument in a pub. Landlord of the Neuadd Arms in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales, overheard two customers arguing (as you do) over the benefits of people vs the benefits of horses. 

After a few more pints, as was inevitable, one of the men proclaimed that over a long distance people could equal the performance of any horse. Not satisfied with mere speculation, the landlord – Gordon Green – decided that there should be a public competition where this slurred theory could be tested. Every year since then – bar a few years where the event was canceled due to the pandemic – people have raced against horses in a constant battle for supremacy.”

Even more striking is the BBC report that “The winner of the grueling Man v Horse race has revealed he had been awake for 29 hours before the event after flying from Tenerife to claim victory…Landing at 04:00 he travelled to Wales, arriving at Llanwrtyd Wells, Powys, at 09:00 for the race start at 11:00. Crossing the line, the 6ft 4in athlete had no idea whether he had won as the people and animals take slightly different routes.”

The 37-year-old firefighter and father of 2 beat the first horse by over 2 minutes. So much for horsepower.

Apparently, Lightfoot’s family couldn’t believe he managed to win the race.

“I called my partner and said: ‘I beat the horse’. And she said: ‘You’re joking?’.
“And I said: ‘No, I did.’ She was like, ‘oh my God!'” he told BBC News.

Prior to the race, Lightfoot said he didn’t have much experience around horses.

“I’ve never rode a horse in my life. I once rode a donkey at Blackpool Pleasure Beach though,” he told the BBC.

After winning, Lightfoot headed right back home to Cumbria to report to work at 7:30 am the next day. – WTF fun facts

Source: “Man v horse: Powys race won by runner Ricky Lightfoot” — BBC News

WTF Fun Fact #12391 – A Desert Marathon Disaster

A 39-year-old former Italian police officer Mauro Prosperi decided to run in the 1994 Marathon des Sables. The 6-day race requires a 155-mile run through the Sahara Desert, but the former Olympic pentathlete felt up to the challenge.

However, a sandstorm hit the runners, and Prosperi got lost in the desert for 10 days. He survived by eating small animals such as lizards, drinking bat blood and his own urine, and covering himself in the sand at night to stay warm.

Fearing he would be declared missing and his wife wouldn’t be able to claim his life insurance for 10 years unless his body was found, he tried to cut his wrists. However, he was so dehydrated that his blood clotted immediately and he lived.

Telling his story to BBC News in 2014, he said: “My wife, Cinzia, thought I was insane – the race is so risky that you have to sign a form to say where you want your body to be sent in case you die. We had three children under the age of eight, so she was worried. I tried to reassure her. “The worst that can happen is that I get a bit sunburned.”

The race has changed since the debacle.

“These days the Marathon des Sables is a very different experience, with up to 1,300 participants it’s like a giant snake – you couldn’t get lost if you tried. But back in 1994, there were only 80 of us, and very few who were actually running, so most of the time I was on my own,” Prosperi said.

– WTF Fun Facts

Source: How I drank urine and bat blood to survive — BBC News