Brits take bronze in Finland’s Wife Carrying World Championships

Last weekend’s wacky steeplechase-style event in Helsinki saw nations battle it out for legs akimbo glory

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The winners of one of the world’s most bonkers races – the Wife Carrying World Championships – were crowned last weekend, as part of the three-day Sonkajarvi Festival in Helsinki, Finland.

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Britons Matt Witko and Hattie Archer took bronze in the event, but were pipped at the post by Finnish couple Taisto Miettinen and Kristiina, who won gold, and Alar Voogla and Kristi Viltrop from Estonia who won silver.

Each pair in the race has a “wife”, who is carried upside-down with her legs clasped around the runner’s neck, and has to make it round a 253 metre obstacle course of grass, grave, sand and water.

The event has grown since the inaugural Wife Carrying World Championships in 1992. Now, thousands of people turn out to watch this bizarre race, inspired by a 19th century Finnish legend about wives being stolen from neighbouring villages.

A ‘wife’ and runners can also participate in a team relay, which involves three men swapping a woman instead of a baton. If they win they get the ‘wife’s’ weight in beer.


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