The 8th UK Wife Carrying Race

8 March 2015

The Nower, Dorking

Trionium UK Wife Carrying Race 2015 entry now open

Trionium UK Wife Carrying Race 2015 discussion

Run over a course of 380m, with 15m of ascent and 15m of descent. VERY TOUGH!

The UK Wife Carrying Race 2011 was named the UK's Top Adventure Race by Runner's World (February 2012) and was runner up in 2012.

Wife carrying originated in the UK over twelve centuries ago, on 8 June 793AD, when Viking raiders rampaged into Lindisfarne on the northeast coast of what is now England, destroying the monastary and most likely carrying off any unwilling local wenches. Such wife carrying (-off) continued intermittently for around 300 years. Wife Carrying was re-introduced into the UK by the UK Wife Carrying Race in 2008, after an absence from these shores of nearly 900 years.

Sponsors now sought for 2015.

Mega-Congratulations to UK Wife Carrying Champion 2014 Rich Blake-Smith for taking silver place (missing gold by 0.5 seconds) in the World Wife Carrying Championships 2014 in Sonkajärvi, Finland!

HQ: The Priory School , West Bank, Dorking, Surrey, RH4 3DG

Twitter: #ukwifecarryingrace

International competitors welcome: Special category (and prizes) for international competitors!

The 7th UK Wife Carrying Race

10.30am, Sunday 16 March 2014

Gaz Davies' photos of the UK Wife Carrying Race 2014

Steve Rencontre's photos of the UK Wife Carrying Race 2014

More photos of the UK Wife Carrying Race 2014

Kevin Hann's Photos of the UK Wife Carrying Race 2014

Our short video of the UK Wife Carrying Race 2014

Excellent video of the UK Wife Carrying Race 2014

Cojo Films' UK Wife Carrying Race 2014 video

Guardian video of the UK Wife Carrying Race 2014

UK Wife Carrying Race 2014 on CBBC Newsround - so happy to be on John Craven's old programme!

UK Wife Carrying Race on BBC Breakfast + giggles

Write-up and great video of UK Wife Carrying Race 2014 on

Helmet camera (Polaroid XS100) view of the whole of the UK Wife Carrying Race 2014, start to finish, in HD - for free use, credit to

HD video of the hay bales and wate hazards and winner presentation at the UK Wife Carrying Race 2014 - for free use, credit to

The UK Wife Carrying Race 2014 from an Italian point of view (+ photos)

UK Wife Carrying Race 2014 on Italian TV, in Italian

UK Wife Carrying Race 2014 on New Zealand TV

The 7th annual UK Wife Carrying Race 2014 was won by Rich Blake Smith, carrying his 'wife' Anna (55kg), narrowly beating Vytautas Kirkliauskas of Lithuania, carrying his wife (actually his wife) Neringa Kirliauskiene (52kg), and covering the 380m course in only 2 minutes in good-to-firm conditions. Rich Blake Smith showed his early class by strongly hurdling the hay bales, but was pushed hard by the Lithuanian, who had previously placed third at the World Wife Carrying Championships in Finland. However, Chris said, "I felt him on my shoulder at the half way point and just put the pedal down a bit." Enthusiastic dads with buckets of water, aided and abbetted by water-pistol-packing tots saw to it that all competitors got a refreshing soaking. Rich concluded, "He was still nearly with me at the water hazard - they really gave it to us at with the water buckets as the first ones through - but I had him at the hay bale hurdles. I'm really proud and pleased to have won the UK Wife Carrying Race and a national title." All the participants received a mini-keg of Pilgrim real ale, from the Pilgrim Brewery in Reigate, as well as a medal and Wife Carrying t-shirt. The winners won a barrel of ale and £250 toward competing at the World Wife Carrying Championships in Finland in July. Myrienne Amrani carried Herwig Delvaux (they came all the way from Flanders, Belgium), while Chris Haput carried Johanna Gosling - all the way from Germany (you know what I mean). Jack Tappin and Richard Macaulay shared the sausages - for strength - for carrying the heaviest partner, after a dead heat on the weigh-in scales. Race organiser Dr Robert McCaffrey commented, "I took part in the race for the second year running, and it is every bit as tough as billed - you earn your ale. I'm so pleased that we had so many couple turning out to run - a new record of 40 this year - and we all had a fantastic time, mostly laughing our heads off. It is a bizarre race, but you can't help smiling despite the exhaustion. We'll be back again next year, and we're looking forward to it already!"

Discussion thread for UK Wife Carrying Race 2014

"We are looking forward to meet you in England and also to run together with all these beautiful people," Vytautas Kirkliauskas, city of Marijampole, Lithuania.

Competitors from Germany, Lithuania and Belgium already set to attend.

Winner of the UK Wife Carrying Race 2014 Rich Blake Smith and Hannah

Winner of the UK Wife Carrying Race 2014 Rich Blake Smith and Hannah

UK Wife Carrying Race 2014

Splash! Matthew Kay and Rachel Winny get a bucket-full at the UK Wife Carrying Race 2014. Photo by Steve Rencontre.

David Evans and Liz Eustace - Competitors in the UK Wife Carrying Race 2014...

"I have complete Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) from the chest down. I was injured in a road traffic accident in South London while commuting home from work by bicycle. During my rehabilitation at The Duchess of Cornwall Spinal Centre, Salisbury, I first met Liz Eustace, an Occupational Therapy student at Bournemouth University. We stayed in touch and ended up together as a couple."

"Myself and my girlfriend Liz both wanted a challenge for us to train with and saw competing in the UK Wife Carrying Race as the perfect opportunity. We were the first couple to enter the race with one of the two unable to walk. We ran to raise funds for The Back Up Trust. We feel it is important to demonstrate that there is life after SCI, that people are able to be happy and successful in achieving their goals, and that pity should not be the default emotive response to those with SCI."

"The race was the perfect opportunity to do so and also a fantastic experience and brilliant thing to have been involved with. We both loved the humour of the event and will be looking to race again but next time we will roping in some friends!"

Wife carrying can be a dangerous activity, which can lead to any one or more of the following injuries: slipped disk, broken legs and arms, spinal damage, facial injury, skull fracture, hernias, and other sundry injuries and illnesses, and potentially including death.

But please don't let this put you off!

How they do it abroad.... (BBC video)

Homepage of World Championships (Finland)

How to be a Master wife carrier

UK Wife Carrying Race Rules

Only the carrier has to enter the race.

Males or females carry a 'wife' (who must be at least 18 and can be male or female, and does not need to be the carrier's wife). All those carried must wear a helmet.

There is a weigh-in prior to the start: All 'wives' must weigh at least 50kg. Anyone under-weight will be obliged to wear a rucksack filled with tins of baked beans or similar to bring them to the required weight.

All entrants will start off at the same time, and the first over the line is the winner. However, there will be time penalties for dropping the 'wife.'

Obstacles and water hazards will be included. Spectators are encouraged to attend with their own water-pistols and buckets of water to staff the 'Splash Zone' (return leg only - something for the competitors to look forward to!).

The winner of the UK Wife Carrying Race will win a barrel of Pilgrim Ale and ceremonial engraved tankards. The first British finisher will win £250 towards their expenses in competing in the World Wife Carrying Championships in Finland in July.*

Last placed finishers receive the ceremonial Pot Noodle and dog food.

The carrier who completes the course with the heaviest wife will win a pound of sausages (for strength) and a ceremonial pat on the back from the other carriers.

You can use any one of the many recognised holds: bridal carry, piggy-back, shoulder-ride, fireman's carry (across the shoulders), the well-recognised and very fast Estonian Hold (wife hangs upside-down on man's back, legs crossed in front of the man's face) or the not-so-fast but unique Dorking Hold (the reverse Estonian).

*Winners of the UK race who go on to become participants in the World Wife Carrying Championships in Finland are requested to provide a write-up and photos to the UK race.

"Do you like Dorking?" "I don't know, you naughty boy, I've never tried!"

UK Wife Carrying Race race instructions - you will not receive anything in the post.

Remember, Wife Carrying is a potentially dangerous activity, which could result in injury and/or death. You take part in the race at your own risk!

If you can't take part, please email me at to let me know (I'm always interested to know why as well - last year we had two wives who had become pregnant by the day of the race).

The race will take place on the Nower, in Dorking, but the race HQ is at The Priory School, West Bank, Dorking, Surrey RH4 3DG. It is a three minute walk to the race start from the HQ. Park at the school.

Firstly, park up and make your way to the registration area. There you will be able to pick up your race t-shirt (carriers and wives both) and your race number (carriers only).

We ask all competitors to wear their t-shirts during the race.

Carriers, when you fix your race numbers to your shirt, please don't obscure the lovely race logo. Please bring four safety pins.

The race weigh-in will be at the HQ starting at 9.30. All 'wives' must weigh at least 50kg. If you don't weigh 50kg, bring something (rucksack full of bags of sugar for example) to bring you up to the minimum weight. Those under 50kg may be re-weighed on the start line.

All of those being carried must wear a helmet. No helmet, no race!

We have 50 entrants this year, a record, including entrants from France, Lithuania and Germany.

Anyone using the Dorking Hold (the reverse Estonian hold), also known as wife carrying position No. 69, will inevitably gain the limelight, if not any extra speed.

There will be a special prize of a pound of sausages for the carrier of the heaviest wife - who completes the course - for strength. Honour and fame be upon them.

The race will start at 10.30. There will be hay-bay hurdles, and on the way back there will be the water hazard - buckets of cold water and water pistols.

If you drop the 'wife' you must both take three steps backwards before remounting.

Tips - grippy shoes (trail shoes for example) might help. The 380m-total course is 15m uphill to half way (steepening) and back down to the finish. A belt on the carrier may give the 'wife' something to grip on to. The Estonian Hold is generally the fastest, but the shoulder-ride could also be effective. Do practice before the race if you can. The race takes from 2 minutes (winners) to 4 minutes (last-placers) so it will be over in a flash! Keep smiling!

We will have a small awards ceremony at the end of the race. All finishers receive a minikeg of Pilgrim ale, while the winners receive a barrel of ale (and the first British wife carrier receives £250 towards their participation in the World Wife Carrying Championships in Finland in the summer). Last-placed finishers receive the ceremonial tin of dog food and a Pot Noodle.

Remember to smile… there may be TV crews and press photographers, so this is your moment in the world spotlight!

Mega-Congratulations to UK Wife Carrying Champion 2013 Matt Witko and partner Hattie Archer for taking bronze place (on their first attempt) in the World Wife Carrying Championships 2013 in Sonkajärvi, Finland!

6th UK Wife Carrying Race 2013

Well done to everyone who turned out today to run in the snow! I (race director) ran it for the first time and loved it!

Matt Witko and 'wife' Lindsey Finn won in convincing style. National Champions!

Wife Carrying on ITV with Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby (June 2013)

UK Wife Carrying Race Video 2013

UK Wife Carrying Photos 2013

Steve Rencontre's excellent Wife Carrying Race photos 2013

UK Wife Carrying Race on the BBC

UK Wife Carrying Race in The Metro

Discussion 2013

Local coverage

Results 2013

Position No. Firstname Surname Age Team
2 30 SAM TROWBRIDGE 26 Former winners...
4 12 JOHN GRADDON 40  
5 35 DAVID GOULD 30  
6 23 TOBIAS MEWS 35  
7 15 TOM IRVING 27  
10 24 GREGG POWELL 47  
12 34 OWEN WYN-JONES 34  
14 11 NICK GOSLING 48  
15 27 DUNCAN SMITH 29  
23 22 STEPHANIE MCGOVERN 21 BBC - Carrying Mike Bushell (heaviest wife)

The 5th UK Wife Carrying Race

The 5th UK Wife Carrying Race, in Dorking, Surrey, has been won by Tom Wilmott (31) and his (real) wife Kirsty, both of Ipswich, at the second time of trying, in a time of 2:06.

At least two couples didn't make it to the start line on account of becoming pregnant prior to race day.

The race is over a course of 380m, and includes hay bale hurdles and a drenching from spectators armed with buckets of water and water pistols.

Competitors benefit from the inclined course (at least it is 15m downhill in the second half, when your legs are starting to get tired....!)

The winning couple won a barrel of beer, as well as the chance to represent Britain at the World Wife Carrying Championships in Finland in July.

All competitors won mini-kegs of Pilgrim Ale, while the last-place finishers won the ceremonial Pot Noodle (chicken flavour in 2012) and tin of dog food (and ale!).

UK Wife Carrying Race Photos 2012

UK Wife Carrying Race victors on ITV

4th UK Wife Carrying Race 2011

UK Wife Carrying Race Photos 2011

The 4th UK Wife Carrying Race took place on Sunday 6 March 2011, featuring a course of around 250m, and including around 10m of acent and descent.

A total of 17 brave couples (including one all-male and one all-female team) competed in 2011, making this the largest ever field assembled for wife-carrying in the UK.

The race was won by Sam Trowbridge (23) and his bride-to-be Nathalie, in a fine time of 1:50.64, just three second outside of the course record.

Thanks to all valiant participants!

3rd UK Wife Carrying Race 2010

Eight couples managed to complete the course - John Lund and his partner broke the course record (despite coming a cropper at the straw bale hazard on the way out) and finished in 1:47.38.

Thanks to everyone who ran/carried/was carried.

The UK Wife Carrying Race 2010 - YouTube

UK Wife Carrying Photos 2010

2nd UK Wife Carrying Race 2009

Well, that was fun!

The 2nd UK Wife Carrying Race and the Leith Hill Half Marathon brought competitors to Dorking from across the country and from around the world on Sunday 8 March 2009. The races aid a number of local charities including the Rainbow Trust and Rianna's Fund, and are sponsored by the Pilgrim Brewery in Reigate. The races are also supported by Dorking and Mole Valley Athletic Club. The races take place with the kind permission of the Surrey Wildlife Trust and the National Trust.

In the Wife Carrying Race, six couples (who did not need to be married) raced over a course of around 250m, with a slight incline to the half way point and a 'sprint' back down to the finish. The winning couple, Matt Evans and Jatinder Gill adopted the exotic-looking 'Estonian' hold, and romped home in a new course record of 1 minute and 51 seconds. The winners won their combined weight in beer from the Pilgrim Brewery - a liver-testing 120kg-worth. While the other finishers won themselves beer vouchers, the last couple to finish, Simon Bickerstaff and Louise Piears, won themselves a tin of dog food and a pot noodle.

UK Wife Carrying Race 2009 Photos

(YouTube Video of the UK Wife Carrying Race 2008 thanks to Chris O'C)

RW Discussion on the 2009 races

The First UK Wife Carrying Race - 2008

The first UK Wife Carrying Race has been staged in Dorking, on 9th March 2008. The race is modelled on popular races in the Finland, Estonia and the US.

UK Wife Carrying Race 2008 Video (Quicktime, 20Mb)

UK Wife Carrying Race 2008 Photos

Three brave couples took part: Joel Hicks and Wendy Cook, Ian and Kath Phillips, and Kevin Bailey and Kim Lowe. Joel opted for the transverse fireman's carry, while the other two couples went for the classic piggyback. Joel Hicks (a veteran fundraiser who had travelled from Hinkley, Leicestershire, in order to take part) was dressed as a baby, complete with nappy and fetching blue connet.

Joel took an early lead, and hardly slowed down to walk until the climb to the half way high point, whereupon he accelerated away again, leaving the other two couples jostling for second place. Joel - a well-built young gent, to say the least - sprinted home in just 1 minute 59 seconds for the 200m course, although Kevin Bailey was a close-run second in 2:13. Ian jogged in a breathless but happy third, to win the last-placer's Pot Noodle, in 2:30.

At the winner's weigh-in, Joel and Wendy weighed in at an impressive 153kg: the prize money was £1/kg of combined weight. Joel and Wendy kindly suggested that the prize money should be donated to the Rainbow Children's Hospice.

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