Beating a dozen of couples by wading through waist-high water and cutting through trees, a Lithuanian couple became the title holders of the world "wife carrying" competition.
Winning the title the second time in a row, Vytautas Kirkliauskas and his wife Neringa Kirkliauskiene cleared a grueling 253.5-meter course in a time limit of one minute 6.72 seconds on July 6. In 2018, they had competed against 38 couples from 13 countries and won the competition.
The race which involved husbands to run while carrying their wives over their shoulders was contested by couples from more than a dozen countries who took part in the annual race in Sonkajarvi, 300 miles north of Helsinki, the capital.
Despite the event's title hinting at the presence of a spouse or wife as a prerequisite for taking part in the competition, organizers were flexible enough to allow even pairs who weren't couples to take part in the race.
The Lithuanian couple claimed the first place prize after beating six-time champion Taisto Miettinen of Finland and his partner Katja Kovanen by the thin margins of merely 0.1 seconds.
The World Wife-Carrying Championship, now in its 23rd year, drew thousands of spectators to the small Finnish town who cheered on as the couple engaged in a competition with each other.
The idea of carrying the wife as a sport was inspired by the 19th-century legend of Ronkainen the Robber, who tested aspiring members of his gang by forcing them to carry sacks of grain or live pigs over a similar course. The championship is also said to evolve from an even earlier practice of wife-stealing - leading many present-day contestants to compete with someone else’s wife.
Though it’s a yearly event, some tweeple heard about this unique competition for the first time and they couldn’t help but get amused. “I want to be in the Husband carrying championships, wrote a Twitter user. “Uh, what...?,” wrote another surprised Twitter user. “Wow! What a championship,” tweeted another.