The Strangest Sport You Have Ever Heard

What is the sport ?

Wife carrying is a sport in which male competitors race while carrying their wives or a female teammates a specific distance in the least amount of time possible The catch is the male has to carry the female through an obstacle course that includes two dry obstacles and one water obstacle usually log hurdles, sand traps, and the water hazard. There are several  strategies of how the male carries the female teammate: piggyback, fireman’s carry (over the shoulder), or Estonian-style (the wife hangs upside-down with her legs around the husband’s shoulders, holding onto his waist) which is the most common. According to the guys the best part is the reward if you win the competition especially if your “wife” is heavier. The reward is the female’s weight in beer and a cash prize.

Its History

Wife carrying has many interpretations as to how it was created. There are three to be exact but are all based around the same 19th century legend. According to, Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainen, or “Ronkainen the Robber” and his thieves were accused  of stealing food and women from villages in the area he lived in; they carried these women on their backs as they ran away. Second, it has been said the men would go to villages near their own to steal other men’s’ wives, and then had 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.

Weird Perks

Our modern society is always craving new things, new aspects of what has already been done. We stray from tradition and thirst for uniqueness. Although wife carrying is a fierce competition it is also a very entertaining sport. During the event there is the option of wearing a costume of your choice. The couple that has the best costume and the strongest carrier will receive a special prize. To think wife carrying could not get any more comical would be a mistake.

How It Works

Sunday River Resort is where the North American Championship takes place and the champion excels to the Word Championship. There are minor differences from the North American which includes both the United States and Canada, and the World Championship.

According to the rules and regulations for the North American championship are….

1) Teammates are not required to be legally married.
2) Helmets are not required for the carried competitor. (The Worlds requires a helmet.)
3) The only special equipment allowed to be worn by the carrier is a belt, which is optional.
4) There is no minimum weight limit for the female competitor. (The Worlds set a weight limit of 49 kilograms / 108 pounds, and weight belts are used to make up any difference in weight.)

1) Competitors run the course two at a time in initial heats, with each team being timed. The two fastest teams qualify for a final heat, which may be timed or untimed, with the winner of the final heat being the winner of the event. Because the final heat is determined by time, qualifying teams do not necessarily have to win their initial heat. Additional heats may be run for third place, and on.
2) If a competitor drops his teammate, the team will be penalized with five seconds added to their time.
3) Teams may not advance on the course without the wife being carried, and will be disqualified if they do so.
 4)  There is no restriction on how the female carried

1) Length of course is 254 meters / 278 yards. North American courses are typically run on uneven ground with some level of elevation change (The Worlds are run on a flat track).
2) Course design includes of two dry obstacles and one water obstacle. Specific obstacle designs may vary by course and by year.

Video Link-

Wife Carrying



“North American Wife Carrying Championship | Sunday River.” North American Wife Carrying Championship | Sunday River. Sunday River, n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.

 “Wife Carrying & The North American Wife Carrying Championship.” Wife Carrying & The North American Wife Carrying Championship. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2017.


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