How do you describe a ‘Bridport Runners on tour’ weekend in a few lines? How to summarize all the impressions and special moments of 11 runners and 6 (!) support team members? And how do you live up to taking part in one of the most remarkable races in Britain, at all – The Man v Horse 2018? Brian, Tony, Jess, Vicky, Ben (Renshaw), Hagen, Chris, Adam, Claire, Jim and Kazy started as two relay teams and eight solo runners in this year’s Man v Horse. The Welsh classic cross-country race has been going on since 1980 and started as a bet in a Welsh pub: Who would be faster over a mountainous terrain – a horse or a runner? With the Bridport Runners travelled a fantastic support team to consisting of Jane, Astrid, Nicky, Ben (Loudon), Ben (Maskrey) and Chris (Vincent-Janes). And as it was a long journey, the majority of them stayed over the weekend in a very remote farmhouse near a place called Painscastle …
This year, more than 600 runners competed with 47 horses (and their riders), among them celebrities such as BBC presenter Sophie Raworth and a former Welsh 400 meter runner, Iwan Thomas. Without spoiling the beans: It was, once more, a horse (Ronnie, ridden by Peter Davies) that won this year’s race before a solo human runner after a gruesome 22 miles – but only by a small margin of 23 seconds! Thanks to hard training, pure stubbornness and despite injuries and hardship, all Bridport Runners finished this tough race without injuries. First Bridport Runner to cross the divided finish line for horses and runners was Adam in 3 hrs. 22 min 34 sec. before Ben and Chris.
So, read here the participants most memorable impressions of that weekend, see the pictures and find out the results …Ben and Vicky: “Brian completing his first 10k back after illness; poor Adam adding insult to injury by being urinated on by a dog; Ben screaming at a horse rider at mile 20 because she complained about having pins and needles in her toes; how amazingly supportive the other runners were!”
Tony: “My memorable moment was coming down the last hill and seeing the finish!”
Adam: “My non swearing race report is ‘a stunning race that I’d never wish upon anyone’. Anything else would involve swearing!”
Claire: “Well, it was all going Ok(ish) until about mile 17 when the cramps kicked in. I should have known at about mile 3 when the heat hit me and I realised that maybe Chris’s ill advised Margarita flavour cliff blocs with added salt just weren’t going to make the grade in terms of electrolyte loss. At this point I already looked like a beetroot and my clothes were soaked through. But never mind it might get better?!?! However it didn’t and yes I ended up on the floor not once but twice with excruciating cramps. I’m glad there was no photographer in sight the second time I collapsed as both legs cramped up at the same time. I had both legs in the air, a runner on each leg attempting to stretch my calf muscles out as I was screaming in agony. Once I was back up I just about got back to the finish still standing. It was all worth it in the end. To spend that time with everyone, including the support crew was what really made it for me. Can’t wait for next Bridport Runners on tour!”
Nicky: “What an amazing group of people! Each and every Bridport Runner (and supporter) helped and encouraged each other. Be it training together before the race, pre race nerve settling, encouragement during and the most tremendous yelling and clapping at the finish. We had a brilliant Mexican meal post race and lots of giggles back at the house afterwards. Very many thanks to Chris M. for taking on the challenge of getting us there and back in one piece. My most single memorable moment was the look of determination on their faces as each and every Bridport Runner caught sight of the finish!”
Jess: “Biggest highlight for me was managing to complete it solo after 12 weeks off running with injury and only six weeks training! I still can’t quite believe I managed it! Other highlights were: My family sending me messages of encouragement throughout the race, including many hilarious horse jokes from my brother in law Ed! The amazingly friendly and supportive marshalls, riders and other runners. Brian doing his first race back. And, post race prosecco giggling with Claire Wynn!”
Brian: “Man v Horse for me was the best race I have experienced for years, the friendliness, the horses, the countryside, the smells! But most importantly finishing ahead of the Bridport Running pack – not an experience I have had for many years. I take no credit for this, it was all down to Bridport’s very own power couple Vicky and Ben who gave me such a head start. As I was running, I thought wouldn’t it be great to hear the cheers and feel the surprise at the finishing straight if I could just maintain it. I did! Motivated by fear of the group all sprinting past me but they didn’t. That is except for Chris who I discovered later wasn’t chasing me but was in pursuit of Sophie Rayworth.”
Astrid: “Different from the last MvH in 2015 but equally epic! Highlights being some incredibly Welch locals who helped me to get from photo stop A to B and C, watching how Ben heard my shouts over the valley and waved at me, Brian enjoying the best ‘post-operative third legä, Vicky passing me at the second relay checkpoint just 16 minutes behind Adam (!) and last, but not least, seeing Hagen 2 minutes ahead of Claire.”
Kazy: “I loved this event especially as it was hot and sunny compared to the endless rain of the 2015 race. For me, after a really tough year of set backs, to come back at the same time (bar a few minutes) of my 2015 time and go up an age bracket, I was super pleased. Most of all to be running for our club with Jim was super special.”
Hagen: “My most memorable moments of that weekend? A horse literally breathing down my neck on the course until I let it pass. Astrid calling out my name when I got to the finish – couldn’t see her, yet, but heard her a long way before. Brian sitting with his medal around the neck, with a big smile on his face. A bunch of exhausted but obviously happy runners and their support team having delicious post-race breakfast at a long table in the farm house.”
Here are all race results.