Marathon Runner Fails to Outrun Tesla Model 3 Electric Car in Unique Race

Robbie Balenger, a vegan ultra-runner known for competing in unique races, recently went up against a Tesla Model 3 electric car in what was described as a modern take on the man-vs-horse concept.

Every year, hundreds of people show up in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales to compete against real horses in the traditional Man vs. Horse Marathon, a 22-mile-long endurance race where speed matters little. Everyone knows horses are faster, but over long distances, humans actually have a shot, and we’ve actually won the race at least a couple of times in the last four and a half decades. It was the concept of Man vs. Horse that recently inspired famous ultra-marathon runner Robbie Balenger to compete against a Tesla Model 3 electric car in a man-vs-machine-type race.

Photo: Bram Van Oost/Unsplash

For many, myself included, Tesla is the most disruptive and exciting thing to happen to transportation since the first horse was broken – so what better opponent for a modern take on the man vs. horse race?” Balenger explained his idea to challenge the Model 3.

The rules of this epic race were fairly simple. Both competitors would start in the same place – the newest Tesla Gigafactory near Austin, Texas – and run along the same course at their respective preferred speeds. The Tesla would go until it ran out of battery, while the vegan ultra-marathon runner would try to catch up to it in 72 hours, on foot.


The race began on the morning of April 11, with the EV getting a big head start. At a speed of 65mph, it was able to travel 242 miles before its battery ran out, on the very first day. Robbie Balenger, on the other hand, was able to run 100 miles in the first 24 hours, which left him another 48 to catch up to his metal rival.

The problem with competing against a machine is that you can’t run until your battery runs completely dry, you actually need some rest. In fairness, Balenger only spent about  8.5 hours taking breaks (sleeping and changing clothes), preferring to eat and drink on the go, but it still wasn’t enough to meet his target.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Robbie Balenger (@robbiebalenger)

Although the experienced ultra-marathon runner aimed to catch up to the Tesla Model 3 in 72 hours, it actually took him 76 hours and 54 minutes. Still very impressive, just not enough to proclaim himself the winner of his “Outlast a Tesla” challenge.

“It was absolutely brutal, but we got it done,” Balenger said, glad to have matched the Model 3’s distance, but adding that the extreme heat and the elevation changes of the course affected his performance, making him spend a few more hours on the road than he had originally planned.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by TEN THOUSAND (