Wife Carrying is a contest in which (usually) male competitors race whilst each carrying a female teammate.
Traditionally, each team is composed of a husband and wife couple, however not everyone has a wife these days and so this policy is not strictly adhered to!
Originally introduced in Finland, the objective for the male runners is to carry their ‘wife’ through a special obstacle course in the fastest time. Several types of carrying may be practised, such as a classic piggyback, a fireman’s carry, or Estonian-style – where the wife is upside-down on his back with her legs over the neck and shoulders (known in the sport as a ‘reverse 69’).
Having won the inaugural UK competition way back in 2008, Joel (and Always With A Smile) has been a keen supporter of the sport ever since, also claiming records for carrying 2 wife’s at once, and also the heaviest wife in wife carrying history! This notoriety has spread across the wife carrying globe and having taken part in the UK competition, Monica Rodas (a Colombian national, who used to live in the UK) invited Joel out to Colombia to take part in their first ever wife carrying event!
Having travelled for around 30 hours, via Bogota and Pereira, Joel’s legs were (to say the least) a little bit leaden, but nevertheless the ‘Smiling One’ introduced himself to the Colombian people with typical cheer and merriment. The event itself was a kaleidoscope of colour and entertainment, with dancing, singing… and even a wedding itself!
The course, arguably one of the most difficult wife carrying tracks in the world with a number of hazards and water features, was around 800 yards long and Joel (with Monica as his ‘wife’) were the first of more than 20 couples to take on the challenge. For the participants, many runners took off quickly, only to slow to a crawl by the end, with some men even dropping their load at various points on the course, much to the laughter and amusement of the large local crowd! A couple of extremely fit and strong ladies even opted to carry men in their quest for glory but, in the end, it was a mother and son combination which took the crown!
Overwhelmed by the warmth and hospitality of the locals, Joel presented prizes at the events conclusion, handing out both wife carrying and Always With A Smile medals to those who took part. It truly was a remarkable and unforgettable day, and Always With A Smile was proud to play a small role upon this very special occasion…