Wife-carrying is an actual competition that originated in Finland and involves male competitors racing while each carrying their wife teammate. The race is far from simple, as it is an obstacle course that is extremely difficult to complete. The World Wife-Carrying Championship, now in its 23rd year, draws thousands of visitors to the town of 4,200 residents and has gained followers across the world.
The Wife Carrying World Championships have been held each year in Sonkajärvi, Finland, since 1992. Since then, the competition has spread to other countries, including Australia, the United States, India, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
Finland is no stranger to strange sports: it has also given the world boot throwing, air guitar and mobile phone throwing competitions.
The wife-carrying website states that the history of the race is based around the 19th century legend of Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainen, or "Ronkainen the Robber," and there are three stories as to how it was created.
"First, Ronkainen and his thieves were accused of stealing food and women from villages in the area he lived in; then carried these women on their backs as they ran away," the website states. "Second, it has been said the men would go to villages near their own to steal other men's wives, and then have the woman become their own wife. Third is the story that Ronkainen trained his thieves by carrying big, heavy sacks on their backs, which could have eventually evolved to a sport."
The town of Newry, Maine just held the latest North American Wife Carrying Championship.
A total of forty four couples took part in the competition, with the winner being awarded 11 cases of beer and the chance to compete at the world championship in Finland next year.
Other prizes are also handed out after the race for things like the most entertaining couple, the best costume, and the strongest carrier.
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