How did wife carrying come to Norfolk?

Wife Carrying Race 2016. Photos from

Wife Carrying Race 2016. Photos from - Credit:

Wife carrying began in Finland. Its origins are rooted in the legend of Ronkainen the Robber, whose gang would pillage villages, running off with women on their backs.

Another version says Ronkainen's men trained to run off with their booty by carrying heavy sacks, which became a sport in its own right.

Modern day wife carrying began in 1992 and by 1995 a world championships were being held at Sonkajärvi. By the end of the decade, the sport had taken off in America, where there are now 13 state events culminating in a US final.

Wife carrying came to the UK in 2007, when a race was run for the first time at Dorking, in Surrey. The sport has been called 'gloriously un-PC'. But UK organisers hit back, saying they welcome any gender combination of carrier and 'wife'.

Downham Market Games organisers hope it will become a regular fixture of their event each June.

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