Entry for the UK Wife Carrying Race 2018 is now open (via RiderHQ)
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.
HQ: The Priory School , West Bank, Dorking, Surrey, RH4 3DG
International competitors welcome: Special category (and prizes) for international competitors!
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!
How they do it abroad.... (BBC video)
Homepage of World Championships (Finland)
How to be a Master wife carrier
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 local Ale (worth £150).
The first-placed British finishers will win £250 towards their expenses in representing Britain and 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.
The oldest carrier will receive the tin of pilchards and jar of Bovril 'you know, from before the war.'
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 usually have 30-50 entrants, a record, including entrants from overseas (very welcome!).
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. Oldest carrier receives a jar of Bovril - you know, from before the war.
Remember to smile… there may be TV crews and press photographers, so this is your moment in the world spotlight!
The 10th UK Wife Carrying Race 2017 has taken place in Dorking Surrey, with 35 couples from all over the UK and even from South Africa and Australia taking part.
The winner of the ‘pound of sausages, for strength’ for carrying the heaviest ‘wife’ (82kg) was Kieran Hughes, who also received, with his partner Tracey Alder, the traditional 'Bombay Bad Boy’ Pot Noodle and tin of Winnalot dog food for coming last. Race organiser Robert McCaffrey won a tin of pilchards and a jar of Bovril for being the oldest wife-carrier in the race, at a youthful 49.
The winners of the UK Wife Carrying Race 2017 were Jack McKendrick (23) of Pilgrim Fitness, Abergele, carrying his partner Kirsty Jones, both coming from their home in North Wales especially for the event. They have pledged to travel to Finland in the summer to represent the UK in the World Wife Carrying Championships. Chris and Kirsty Lamb were unlucky to finish second for the second year in a row (by just a second!), but have written a great UK Wife Carrying Race write-up on QuirkyRaces.com
Great film by Dave Painter of Reuters of the UK Wife Carrying Race 2017
UK Wife Carrying Race 2017 on the BBC
Steve Rencontre's photos of the UK Wife Carrying Race 2017
Trionium's photos of the UK Wife Carrying Race 2017 on Flikr
UK Wife Carrying Race 2017 in The Sun
Daily Mail Online report on UK Wife Carrying Race 2017 with excellent photos
(The Daily Mail says that this is the 'Most gloriously un-PC sporting event in Britain' - what rubbish! We welcome everyone - from home and abroad, in ALL gender combinations of carrier and 'wife,' married or not, younger and older, lighter and heavier and whether fit or no so fit. This is probably the most 'PC' race in Britain!)
Organiser's helmet-cam video of the race and prize-giving of the UK Wife Carrying Race 2017 (uploading to YouTube)
Another UK Wife Carrying Race 2017 video
BT''s Alternative take on the UK Wife Carrying Race 2017
UK Wife Carrying Race 2017 in the Surrey Mirror
Discussion thread on UK Wife Carrying Race 2017 (Runner's World)
Above: Eventual winners Jack McKendrick (No. 21), carrying his wife Kirsty Jones, neck-and-neck with fellow competitors at the hay-bale hurdles at the UK Wife Carrying Race 2017 in dorking, Surrey.
Congratulations to Jack McKendrick and Kirsty Jones - UK Wife Carrying Race winners 2017, who competed in the World Wife Carrying Championships in Finland on 1 July, and who came 8th out of 45 competitors in 1:15:75. The race was won by the Finnish pair of Taisto Miettinen and Kristiina Haapanen in 1:08:65.
Our World Wife-Carrying Championships experience
Due to the remoteness of Sonkajarvi we decided to arrive in the country a couple of days prior to the event and give ourselves a more leisurely drive up from Helsinki. The 3 hour flight was made more entertaining by the fact that the passenger across the aisle from us had brought his dog in the cabin. On landing, the Moomin-themed arrivals lounge kept Kirsty entertained before we got our hire car. From the airport it was only a short drive to the Gustuvland Hotel which was a nice spa hotel on one of the many lakes. During the drive we realised it was midnight and still bright skies! This becomes more of a problem later on.
The next morning our 6 hour drive up towards Sonkajarvi started. Quickly tiring of the motorway, we took to the back roads and tested out the hire car on the non-stop rally stage of loose gravel and tight corners through the forests, searching for any of the moose, lynx or bears that we were sure were in the woods. After a couple of hours of not seeing any, we took a decent hour and a half diversion to visit ‘Moose Manor’ which was advertised as a zoo. Arriving at the small cafe next to two fields housing a few very ill-looking deer, a reindeer and three moose, we enjoyed a moose kebab, a couple of beers and a photo opportunity with the biggest moose. We quickly left and carried on to just outside Kuopio where we planned to camp lakeside and enjoy the Finnish wilderness. Unfortunately, the Finnish wilderness was mainly made up of huge mosquitos that ate me alive but spared Kirsty. Apparently I taste good. We still had an awesome night of skinny-dipping and sunbathing (at 10pm) before we squeezed into our tent and didn't sleep a wink because, of course, it doesn't go dark.
Well done to all finishers - that was a tough one!
Our UK Wife Carrying Race 2016 photos - can be used with credit to Gaz Davies/UK Wife Carrying Race
Steve Rencontre's photos of the UK Wife Carrying Race 2016
UK Wife Carrying Race write-up by Chris Lamb (runner-up 2016)
UK Wife Carrying Race on Get Surrey
UK Wife Carrying Race 2016 discussion
30 couples took part in this year's UK Wife Carrying Race, including entrants from Italy, the USA and South Africa, as well as couples from many parts of Britain who had travelled specifically to Dorking, Surrey, for the race. Two previous winners of the race were carrying wives once again, although this year's sixth placed finishers Tom and Kirsty Wilmot had a good reason for not winning this year - they have had two children since they last won.
The race was competitive this year, with fast times recorded in good conditions. However, America's Jonathan Schwochert (27) and Charlotte Xiong, second-time winners of the UK Wife Carrying Race, triumphed over the field in style, romping home with a 20 second lead over the next place finishers, and setting a new course record of 1:40. They say that they will be heading back to Finland to have a second attempt to win the World Championships - and with form like this, we think that they will have a good chance! (Post script - they didn't make it to Finland - maybe next time?)
Joel Hicks, who astonished spectators in 2015 by carrying a 27-stone, 7' 4" friend called 'Tiny', once again enthralled onlookers by carrying TWO 'wives' - when one is usually enough for any man. He finished dead last, and as a non-drinker awarded the beer kegs to his female companions, but instead was awarded the 'Bombay Bad Boy' Pot Noodle and tin of 'Winnalot' dog food as last placed finisher.
Tony Harris, a stripling of a mere 54, won a jar of Bovril ('You know, from before the war') for being the oldest carrier to finish the race, while Scott Wallace was awarded the pound of sausages, 'for strength,' for carrying the heaviest wife in the race.
Below: Splash Zone action (photo credit Steve Rencontre/www.wifecarryingrace.com) Click on image for full sized version
Splash Zone Carnage at the Wife Carrying Race 2016:
Click on the image below for a full-resolution download: Credit: Rob Irving, www.RobIrving.com
Trionium UK Wife Carrying Race 2015 discussion
Fantastic video of Joel Hicks carrying 'Tina' in the UK Wife Carrying Race - all 7' 4" (223cm) and 22 stone (140kg) of him!
Fabulous UK Wife Carrying Race 2015 video and winner interview from Bernard Kasparas
2015 UK Wife Carrying Race helmet cam video and prize-giving.
2015 UK Wife Carrying Race Splash Zone and all finishers video
UK Wife Carrying Race 2015 photos (for free use - credit Ian Giles/www.Trionium.com)
Steve Rencontre's fabulous photos - via ftp (mostly for media types...) and Steve's Wife Carrying Race 2015 photos via PhotoBox
Joel Hicks Wife Carrying Photos 2015 - carrying 'Tiny Tina' 140kg (22 stone), 223cm (7'4') and UK Wife Carrying Race write-up in Hinckley Times
Photos and blog by Ellie Hetebrij
Wife Carrying Race photos in the Daily Telegraph
They'll be back - Croydon couple vows to return to the UK Wife Carrying Race and win!
UK Wife Carrying Race on NBC News (US)
UK Wife Carrying Race on 7M News
UK Wife Carrying Race on Get Surrey
UK Wife Carrying Race on Dunya News (Pakistan)
UK Wife Carrying Race video on The Guardian
UK Wife Carrying Race on NowThis News (US)
UK Wife Carrying Race on FoxAtlanta (US)
UK Wife Carrying Race on NBC (US)
UK Wife Carrying Race on NewsNow - Pittsburg (US)
Wife Carrying Indian-style (a very amusing trailer for a Bollywood-style movie with wife-carrying as its climactic finale)
Fantastic weather greeted the 45 couples (a new record) who turned out for the 8th UK wife Carrying Race in Dorking, Surrey, on 8th March 2015. The course is an uphill 190m over hay-bales, followed by a downhill 'sprint' back over the bales but this time being targeted by adults with buckets of water and children with water-pistols. A large crown turned out to watch the fun this year and what fun it was !The 'athletes' sprinted away, hurdling the hay bales, while the rest of the field seemed to take some time to wake up and get into their stride. Once they had warmed up though, some very fast times were recorded, although the fastest of them all was by Jonathon Schwochert (26) originally from the US but now a fully-paid-up Brit, and his partner Charlotte Xiong (51kg), who together beat some very strong challengers and thus become the UK Wife Carrying National Champions. We hope that they will go on to the World Wife Carrying Championships in Finland to challenge for the world title. Jonathan is a kick-boxer who added weights to his usual fitness regime, while the two athletes - who met each other in their native Milwaukee - practiced hard for the race. (Organiser's note - if you want to win this race, that's what you have to do - practice!). On account of their American ancestry, their win was picked up by US media, particularly America's best newspaper, the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel covering the UK Wife Carrying Race 2015. Despite the winners' convincing finish, several other couples exhibited serious athletic skill and show great promise for future years.
John Griffin won the prize for being the oldest carrier to complete the course - his prize was a jar of Bovril, you know, from before the war. Each year a special prize of a pound of sausages ('for strength') is awarded to the carrier of the heaviest wife, while a ceremonial tin of dog food and Pot Noodle ('Bombay Bad Boy' again in 2015) are awarded to the last placed finishers. This year all these prizes went to Joel Hicks and his partner 'Tiny.' Joel is a well-built guy, but he looked tiny himself next to his carrying partner, since 'Tiny' was 7 foot four inches (223cm) and 22 stone (140kg). Joel was nearly crawling when he finally got to the finish line, surrounded by the resounding cheers of the delirious onlookers - worth it though for his charity fund-raising.We look forward to seeing everyone again next year!
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 getsurrey.co.uk
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 www.Trionium.com
HD video of the hay bales and wate hazards and winner presentation at the UK Wife Carrying Race 2014 - for free use, credit to www.Trionium.com
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 couples 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
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!"
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!
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
|1||33||MATT||WITKO||31||ROYAL ENGINEERS RC|
|8||31||CARL||TUCKER||25||CHERWELL RUNNERS AND JOGGERS|
|18||28||RICHARD||SNELL||45||STUBBINGTON GREEN RUNNERS|
|20||1||PAUL||BUNCH||46||ISTEAD AND IFEILD HARRIERS|
|22||29||ANDREW||TOMLINSON||49||STUBBINGTON GREEN RUNNERS|
|23||22||STEPHANIE||MCGOVERN||21||BBC - Carrying Mike Bushell (heaviest wife)|
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
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!
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.
(YouTube Video of the UK Wife Carrying Race 2008 thanks to Chris O'C)
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)
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.
Organised by Conferio Ltd
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