Finns win wife-carrying world championship

Sat Jul 3, 2010 11:52am EDT
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SONKAJARVI, Finland (Reuters Life!) - Finland continued to reign in the world wife-carrying championships on Saturday as Taisto Miettinen sprinted fastest along 253-metres (832-feet) track, carrying Kristiina Haapanen upside-down on his back.

The couple, who also won the world championship title last year, finished the race in one minute and five seconds.

Estonia's Alar Voogle and Kristi Viltrop tripped in the water obstacle and were second some five seconds behind the winners.

Finns Ilpo Haalisto and Satu Juurinen got bronze.

The winning couple trained together throughout the year.

"Before I have been a lot of in a gym, but nowadays I have run a lot and that is the secret," Miettinen said after the race in hot and sunny conditions.

The race, held for the 15th time attracted 55 couples from 15 countries, including Australia, Ireland and Poland, to compete in the remote eastern Finnish village of Sonkajarvi, some 485 kilometers (302 miles) northeast of the capital Helsinki.

The wife-carrying competition has its roots in a legend of Ronkainen the Robber and his gang who lived in the forests and stole food and girls from villages.

(Reporting by Attila Cser; Writing by Terhi Kinnunen; Editing by Jon Hemming)