The UK Wife Carrying Race

The Nower, Dorking

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


All media are very welcome to cover the race, but are requested to contact the organisers beforehand at for prior accreditation.

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The organiser is available for radio and TV interviews before and after the race (see contact details below).

Media are requested to keep off the course and not to interfere with the runners (no need to - there are plenty of good angles and points for shots).

For video, the best position is on the uphill side of the straw bales (which then also allows footage of the water hazard area).

Photographers have had good shots looking from the far end of the water zone, looking back towards the start, as the carriers pass over the straw bales.

Watch out for water (and all other hazards) - we are not responsible for the safety of your equipment!

Background information:

The UK's longest-established wife-carrying event, the UK Wife Carrying Race has taken place each March in Dorking, Surrey, since 2008, even though on its first running, it attracted only three competitors. Since then, the field has included up to 23 couples. Unlike the Finnish World Championships where pairs of carriers run against each other, in the UK Wife Carrying Race all couples run against each other in one wild mix of flailing arms, legs and buttocks. The UK race also differs from the Finnish competition in that the course is not flat: carriers have to tote their 'wives' uphill to the half way point, with an altitude gain of around 10m, before running back downhill to the finish line. Hay bales are used to provide hurdles on both the outward and return legs and while the course does not feature a pool, like in Finland, there is a ready supply of volunteers with water pistols and buckets of water to soak the competitors as they near the finish.

The UK Wife Carrying Competition has now seen all combinations of competitors: men carrying women, a man carrying a man and a woman carrying a woman, and in 2013 welcomed a woman carrying a man fir the first time: The BBC's Stephanie McGovern carried 78-kg Mike Bushell around the course (they came last by a long way, but they did finish!)

The race in Dorking has also seen the full spectrum of carrying styles: the piggyback (popular, but tiring and not very fast); the bridle carrying (almost impossible to keep up for long); the Fireman (across the shoulders); the shoulder ride (precarious but surprisingly swift) and the Estonian hold, where the 'wife' hangs upside down on the man's back with her legs over his shoulders: This is the hold that is now almost invariably used in competition, being swift and relatively comfortable for both carrier and 'wife.'

In 2013 the race also saw another first, with the Steven Forster becoming the first Wife Carrier to complete the race using the 'Dorking hold,' which is effectively a reversed Estonian hold, also known as Wfie Carrying position No. 69, winning himself and his wife a special bounty of £100 in the process.

The UK Wife Carrying Race is staged as part of the warm-up for a popular local half marathon, the Leith Hill Half Marathon, ensuring that there is a very good turnout of spectators. Some of the wife carriers - and their 'wives' - do the wife carrying race and then run the half marathon. Last-placed competitors in the UK Wife Carrying Race win a consolatory tin of dog food and a Pot Noodle, although all carriers win beer from the local Pilgrim Brewery. All competitors are presented with special UK Wife Carrying Race t-shirts.

Two couples didn't make it to the start line in 2012, since they (or at least the 'wife') became pregnant after having entered the race. So just the thought of being jiggled upside down for two minutes seems to have a powerful effect on fertility.

Additionally, the UK Wife Carrying Race was named as the UK's top adventure race in 2012, by Runner's World.

The UK Wife Carrying Race is at

Wife Carrying on ITV's This Morning with Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby June 2013

Wife Carrying on Jack FM

Below: The Sun, Monday 25 March 2013

Organised by Conferio Ltd

wife at trionium dot com

Tel +44 1372 840951