Who Would Win? The Ultrarunner Or The Tesla….?

The first official “Man versus Horse Marathon” took place some 42 years ago in the Welsh hamlet of Llanwrtyd Wells. Naturally, the event was founded in order to settle a heated, nonsensical dispute between two patrons at the Neuadd Arms, a 19th-century inn that sits on the side of the road in Britain’s smallest town. One man contended that a runner could defeat a rider on horseback, were both to cover a significant distance — say, 22 miles or so. The other disagreed. The owner of the bar, a man named Gordon Green, decided to put the debate to an actual test. For those who must know: the horse has defeated humans in 38 of 40 races, and our species hasn’t brought home a win since 2007, when Florian Holzinger, a German triathlete, beat a horse named Lucy by 11 minutes. Decades later, it’s fair to say that each drinker had a point. But walk into a pub in 2022, and you’re more likely to hear any locals arguing about whether an ultrarunner could outlast a fully-charged Tesla Model 3. Who in their right mind would attempt something so insane? Well, it isn’t just possible; it was accomplished last week, by endurance-athlete-extraordinaire Robbie Balenger. The 37-year-old California native has pulled off some stunning efforts over the years — he’s run across the country in 75 days, he owns the world record for the most consecutive loops around Central Park, he once completed the infamous Colorado Crush — but the Tesla Challenge was Balenger at his most daring and creative. Backed by New York-based Ten Thousand, as part of the brand’s ongoing “Feats of Strength” series, Balenger’s modern riff on the man vs. horse model involved three straight days of running, a battle with oppressive Texas heat, lonely miles in the middle of the night, gastrointestinal issues, zero hours of sleep and somehow, some way, a 100-foot victory over everyone’s favourite electric car, which officially conked out after 242 miles on a single battery. How did he do it you ask? Well, below we’ve put Robbies biometric stats from the challenge, but let’s start with burning 31,000 calories over 3 days is a start and with a side order of just 4 hours and 50 minutes of downtime throughout the 77-hour effort. The rest? Pure hard graft and determination.

  • Mileage – 242.01
  • Elevation Gain – 12,959ft
  • Elapsed Time – 76:54:46
  • Avg. Pace – 19:04
  • Avg. Heart Rate – 110 bpm
  • Best Mile – 9:09
  • Calories Burned – 30,555

Find out more about Robbie and follow him @robbiebalenger


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