ENDURANCE runners from Powys and well beyond have been dealt a blow after organisers of the immensely popular Man v Horse race announced the cancellation of this year’s event.

The quirky race – which pits people against horses over a 22-mile distance – is one of the most popular events on the annual Mid Wales calendar, but was cancelled last year because of coronavirus. Organisers Green Events had provisionally pencilled in a June 12 date for the Llanwrtyd Wells race’s comeback, but instead they have followed suit with many other events this year by postponing for a second successive year.

Organisers released a statement on their social media channels on Saturday, saying: “Firstly, apologies for the messages and comments that have not yet been replied to. As I’m sure you all can imagine we’ve been trying to work out if the event can be held this year.

“Unfortunately, after weeks of deliberation, we’ve come to the decision that our 2021 event will be cancelled. All entries will automatically roll on to next year. Date tbc but most likely the second week in June.

“We are in uncertain times with no real idea what is happening next month let alone June or even September which was our back up date. Hopefully lockdown will end soon but there will possibly be restrictions on groups and mass events.

“As you can all understand putting on the event takes a lot of pieces to slot together. Many of our suppliers can’t guarantee they’ll be able to supply the event this year. So we feel that the only real option is to cancel 2021 altogether. Stay safe out there.”

The Man v Horse race is one of a myriad of weird and wonderful events staged in and around Llanwrtyd by Green Events, and is extremely popular locally, as well as drawing runners and horses to Britain’s smallest town every year from all over the world.

The race celebrated its 40th edition the last time it was held in 2019 – won by Herbie the horse in what was the largest-ever field, consisting of 650 runners and 60 horses.

Yorkshireman Jack Wood was the fastest human to complete the course at Maes y Gwaelod, in two hours, 23 minutes and 39 seconds. His finishing time was faster than the winning horses from the previous two years.

Woottonheath Herbie, ridden by Mark Adams from the New Forest, won the race in two hours 18 minutes and 34 seconds.

Had he won, Mr Wood would have been only the third person ever to beat a horse since the competition started. Huw Lobb became the first human to break the winning streak of the horses when he claimed victory at the 25th edition of the race in 2004 – winning by just over two minutes. Florian Holzinger became the second human champion in 2007, enjoying a staggering 11-minute victory over the first horse finisher.

Registration for the 2019 event opened on January 5 and had sold out within 24 hours.

The race, slightly shorter than a full marathon, takes place over a 22-mile course on rough terrain and has been held since 1980, when then Neuadd Arms landlord Gordon Green decided something needed to be done to settle an argument between two punters in his pub who were debating whether man could beat beast over a significant distance.