The North American Wife Carrying Championship may be among the most unusual sporting events in the country. It may also be among the most amusing to watch, and the winner qualifies to compete in the international event — held in Finland next summer.

Sara Willey of Bangor heads for a muddy face plant as she falls off her husband Ezra’s shoulders during the North American Wife Carrying Championship at Sunday River in Newry in 2018. The couple used the popular “Estonian carry,” where the “wife” — upside down — holds her partner around the waist and tightens her legs around his neck. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Is is basically this: Pick a partner, pick up that partner and run like mad through a 278-yard obstacle course heavy with mud while thousands of people stand and watch you.

The fastest duo wins the “wife’s” weight in Goose Island Oktoberfest beer, and five times her weight in cash. According to organizers, the event is “the ultimate test of your relationship, and athleticism.”

This year, marking the 20th annual event at Sunday River in Newry, kicks off at 11 a.m. on Oct. 12.

The event coincides with resort’s Fall Festival, so there’s more to do than simply run and carry.

For more information, and to register, go to:


Need to get in shape first? Try the Tough Mountain X at the resort on July 27.

Fear not, it is as tough as it sounds: a 5K, mostly uphill, with more than 20 natural and man-made obstacles along the way, including hurling snow and a pit of fire. You’ll finish the course exhausted, filthy and exhilarated.

For the little tough guys in the family, there’s the Mini Mountain Challenge for children ages 4-12.

For more information, go to:

Eager for more? Sign up for the third annual Pumpkin Harvest Half-Marathon, held On the Common in Bethel. Go to to check on the date and to register.

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