Participants take part in the Wife Carrying Championship in Houston, the United States, July 18, 2015. The 4th annual Texas Wife Carrying Championship was held in Houston on Saturday, attracting hundreds of spectators. A total of 60 couples joined the race to finish an obstacle course of 277 yards. (Xinhua/Zhang Yongxing)
HOUSTON, July 18 (Xinhua) -- The fourth annual Texas wife carrying championship on Saturday kicked off in the U.S. city of Houston with the participation of 60 couples including one from the sport's birthplace in Finland.
Wife carrying, first introduced at Sonkajarvi, Finland, is a contest in which male competitors race while each carrying a female teammate. The wife to be carried may be the male's own, or the neighbor's, or a female he may have found further afield, but she must, however, be over 18 years old and has a minimum weight of 49 kilograms.
The objective is for the male to carry the female through a special obstacle track of 253.5 meters in the fastest time.
It is a very hard competition as contestants must run through a track with its surface being partially sand, partially grass and partially water.
But at the same time, it is also a race full of fun, glory, responsibility and love as organizers urge all participants to enjoy themselves and show their love, trust and and responsibility to their wives.
Several types of carry may be practised: piggyback, fireman's carry (over the shoulder), or Estonian-style, in which the wife hangs upside-down with her legs around the husband's shoulders, holding onto his waist.
The event, which is not only entertaining but also good for couples to build a stronger connection. In recent years, more and more couples have joined in the event.
Currently, besides Finland, wife carrying is now practised in many countries such as the United States, Britain, Estonia, Australia and other parts of the world.
For most participants, win or lose is not important. But for Taisto Miettinen, a five-time wife carrying world champion from Finland, he has the duty to defend his championship title. And after a hours-long contest, Miettinen and his partner Kristina Haapanen have finally had their dream come true by becoming the winner with a prize of 2,000 U.S. dollars.
"I've done this for 18 years. I have practised quite a lot. Of course, I have training, running and also practice with Kristina all the year," he said.