UK Wife Carrying Race sees 'wives' carried 380 metres over water and hay bails

Today, ‘Wives’ in Dorking spent their morning getting ready to be carried in one of the nation’s most unique races.

The UK Wife Carrying Race sees pairs of people, one carried and one doing the carrying, race 380 metres around the Surrey town over obstacles including hay bails and water hazards.

The carried team members don’t strictly have to be women or wives however, they just have to weigh over 50kg.

Any who do not meet that benchmark need to wear a rucksack filled with tins of baked beans, flour, water or similar to help them hit the mark.

As event organisers Trionium advise: ‘You do not have to be married (to each other, anyway) but it certainly helps if you are at least friends.’

Winners take home a barrel of local ale and £250 towards their travel expenses so that they can represent the country at the World Wife Carrying Championships in Finland this July.

Those who come in last place will get a pot noodle and some dog food for their trouble.

Recognised ‘wife’ holds included the bridal carry, the piggyback, the shoulder ride, the fireman’s carry and what was dubbed the Estonian Reverse hold, which sees the carried party hang upside down on the carrier’s back with their legs crossed in front of the carrier’s face.

The event has been held since 2008, but the pandemic meant the tradition needed to be skipped in 2021.

The 2022 race began today at 10.30am, at The Nower nature reserve, directly before the Leith Hill half-marathon, which is organised by the same group.

For health and safety, anyone being carried in a Wife Race must wear a helmet.

Indeed, the race is not without risk. In the 2018 race, a woman being carried by her partner was injured when he slipped on muddy ground and wasn’t able to hold on to her.

She landed head-first and paramedics took her away on a spinal board with her neck in a brace.

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