World Coal Carrying Championships test strength, stamina

Tue Mar 29, 2016 2:49pm EDT
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GAWTHORPE, England - Briton Craig Heppinstall won the World Coal Carrying Championship in northern England on Monday with a time of 4 minutes and 42 seconds on the 1,100-metre (yard) up-hill course.

It was the first victory for Heppinstall in the championships that began in 1963 when a man entered a pub, accused another of looking a bit unfit and was challenged to a race while carrying a sack of coal.

With a 50-kg (110-lb) bag of coal on his shoulders Heppinstall defeated runners who gathered from around the country.

"Absolutely can't believe it, I just can't, still hasn't sunk in really," he said  "I've been wanting to win it for ages, so relieved."

Penny Ditchfield captured the women's title for the third consecutive year with a time of 4 minutes 35 seconds. Women run the same course as the men but carry a 20-kg (40-lb) bag of coal.