May 31, 2016 / 10:42 PM / 3 years ago

Heavy lifting at English woolsack Races

TETBURY, England - TETBURY, England, June 1 (Reuters) - Running uphill and weaving their way through the Gloucestershire town of Tetbury to loud cheers from spectators, men carry a 60 pound (27 kg) sack of wool on their backs. Women have lighter loads of 35 pounds.

Welcome to the world of wool sack racing.

Every year, determined competitors take to the streets to do some heavy lifting at the 240-yard (220 meter)-long Tetbury Woolsack Races for a contest steeped in tradition.

The event’s origins are said to date back to the Middle Ages when young men would show off their strength to women by racing up a hill with a woolsack. The wool trade was one of England’s primary businesses.

“The first 50 meters is okay and then it gets quite steep after that,” said Nathan Barraclough, who won Monday’s men’s race with a time of 50.63 seconds. “Your legs start to burn, your heart burns and then you’ve just got to hang on.”

First-time competitor Lucy Collins took the women’s title.

Writing By Angela Moore; Editing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian

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