NOT MANY rural towns can boast having world-famous quirky events, but a town nestled in the heart of Mid Wales does just that.

Wales’ smallest town, Llanwrtyd Wells, has a grand total of 850 residents and it prides itself on hosting the weird and wonderful Whole Earth Man v Horse race.

The little town will be packed with people this Saturday, June 9, for the big marathon.

The annual 22.5-mile race is a challenge that, as the name suggests, pits athletes against horses.

Hundreds of runners will set out at 11am from The Square, followed about 10 minutes later by 60 horses and riders.

BBC News presenter Sophie Raworth will start the 2018 Whole Earth Man v Horse Race.

The BBC newsreader is an experienced marathon runner and has recently completed what is known as the “toughest foot race on earth” – the Marathon des Sables, a 150-mile ultra-marathon in the Sahara desert.

In 38 years only two runners have beaten the fastest horse on the gruelling course.

The prize money is increased by £500 every year until it is won.

It took 25 years for a runner to beat all the horses.

In 2004, Huw Lobb from South London was the first person in the race’s history to finish the course before a horse. He did it in an incredible two hours and five minutes, and only beat the fastest horse by two minutes. He took home £25,000 in prize money.

Three years later, German athlete Florian Holtinger emerged victorious. Since then, the horse has remained unbeaten.

The idea began in 1980 when two men had a chat over a pint in the Neuadd Arms Hotel. They had a debate over whether a runner could beat a horse in a race.

The pub’s landlord at the time, Gordon Green, decided to put it to the test and it is now one of the town’s longest-running events. The pub has remained as the starting point of the race.

Over the years the course has changed, and has introduced electronic chip timing tags, to make it more of an even match between the runner and the horse.

It has resulted in very close finishes, sometimes by only a few seconds.

This year's event promises to be bigger and better but who will be victorious - man or horse?

When does it start?

Horses and riders will be on parade in The Square from 10.30am. The roads will close at 10.45am. Everyone is invited to join the big count-down at 11am when Sophie Raworth starts off the race.

How much is it?

Entry for spectators is free.

Where does it finish?

After the competitors have left, there are plenty of things to do and see in town before making your way to Maes y Gwaelod where the marathon finishes from 1pm onwards. The field is on the main road next to the old Cambrian Woollen Mill on the A483.