Wife carrying world championships in Sonkajärvi,
since 1992


Santa Claus’ greetings from Lapland, Finland!

We have started the practices here at Korvatunturi, Lapland for the future Wife Carrying World Championships race. Happy and with a smile is Nikolai the elf carrying a wife on a frozen lake although the temperature here at Korvatunturi is 22 Celsius below zero. Nikolai the elf is taking part to the senior series and he’s only 181 years old, so I’m thinking to participate also!

Christmas greetings


Santa Claus and Mrs Santa P.s. Registration for the Wife Carrying World Championships 3. – 4.7. 2015 starts at the beging of January, 

AT SONKAJÄRVI 3rd - 4th July 2015

(Accepting applications at January 2015 and forward)



The idea of the Wife Carrying Competition is Sonkajärvi’s
very own. In spite of its humorous aspects it has deep roots
in the local history. In the late 1800’s there was a brigand
called Rosvo-Ronkainen living in the area. In his troops he is
said to have accepted only the men who proved their worth on a
challenging track. In those days, a common practice was to steal
women from the neighbouring villages. Today, not even a gentle
compulsion is being used, the ladies volunteer for the mission
of the championships.
The Wife Carrying Championship event has been organized at
Sonkajärvi since 1992. The running number of the 2013
Championships is the 18th on the World Championships
level. The number of couples interested in the world wide known
event is growing steadily; qualifying games, in which physical
condition and sense ofhumour are tested, are being organised in
a big number of countries around the world (study the websites,
and Besides Finnish couples, contestants
will come from Australia, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland,
Estonia, USA. Estonia belongs to the category of her own, as the
Estonian contestants have mastered the championships for years.

The Wife Carrying World record of  55.5 seconds is held Margo
Uusorg and Birgit Ulricht  from Tallinn, Estonia. The Finnish
record of 56.7 seconds is held by Jouni  and  Tiina  Jussila
from Raisio.  In 2009-2012  the Championships was run by
the Finnish couple Taisto Miettinen and Kristiina Haapanen.
New  series ! Wife Carrying  Senior series applicant must
be 40 years or older Otherwise, the series have same rules

as the Wife Carrying Championships.
Along with the wife carrying world championships there is also
a team and a sprint competition.
In the team competition the track is the same, but the three men
of a team carry the wife in turns. At the exchange point the
carrier has to drink the official "wife carrying drink" before
continuing the race. A special prize will be awarded to the team
wearing the best costumes. Also the most entertaining couple, the
best costume and the strongest carrier will be awarded a prize.
In the sprint competition the length of the track is 100 metres,
and the surface is partially sand and gravel. The track has one
water obstacle, about a meter deep. The contestants run the
qualification round 5 to 10 couples at a time and the first three
of each heat will continue in the next round until there are just
three couples left to compete in the final.  
The track has been altered to match the modern conditions and the
valid rules;
  • The length of the official track is 253.5 metres. Its surface is partially sand,
    grass and asphalt.
  • The track has two dry obstacles and one water obstacle,
    about a meter deep.
  • The wife to be carried may be your own, the neighbour’s or you may have
    found her farther ahead; she must, however, be over 17 years of age.
  • The minimum weight of the wife to be carried is 49 kilos.
    If she weighs less, she will be burdened with a heavy rucksack to reach
    the desired minimum weight.
  • The winner is the couple who completes the course in the shortest time.
  • If a contestant drops the wife, he has to lift her on to his back or in his arms
    and continue carrying.
  • The only equipment allowed is a belt worn by the carrier.
  • The contestants run the race two at a time, so each heat is a contest in itself.
  • Each contestant takes care of his/her safety and, if deemed necessary,
  • The contestants have to pay attention to the instructions given by the
    organisers of the competition.
  • The participation fee 50 € per a couple.
Along with the wife carrying world championships there is also
a team competition. The track is the same but three men in the
team carry the wife in turns. At the exchange point the carrier
has to drink the official “wife carrying drink” before
continuing the race.
Eukonkanto konttuuri (The Wife Carrying Headquarters )
Eero Pitkänen
tel. +358 (0)40 148 4323 Leena- Kaisa Karilahti
International interviews

Kaisa Hynynen

tel. +358 (0)440 250987


Press centre :

Press centre (during the event)

Hannu Keränen :

tel. +358 (0)44 0762 161