The North American Wife Carrying Championship and how it came to be: Sunday River, Columbus Day Weekend
This annually epic weekend is quickly approaching and, for good reason, everyone is getting excited.
This is a popular weekend in the Sunday River Area and our real estate market shows it: rentals are booked, residential closings are scheduled and people are calling daily to set up showings for properties while they will be in Bethel or Newry.
Columbus Day weekend is especially meaningful for me. In July of 2013, Mark and I got engaged during our hike from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail. We returned home that September and in October, anxious to maintain an ultimately unsustainable level of fitness, I signed up for the Sunday River OX2 Trail Race. Whether it was the lactic acid which I was sure to be burning through my thighs, or the literally breathtaking beauty of our fall foliage: I stopped dead in my tracks on Downdraft and admired this mesmerizing place in the world. This is where I wanted to get married.
The next year, in 2014, Mark and I spent our wedding day at The Peak Lodge at Sunday River. Close friends and family were there to share with us in celebration at a beautiful place that held so many of my favorite memories: hot cocoa as a River Runner, warming up with Telstar team mates under the hand dryer in the Barker Lodge bathrooms during race season, and Gould Academy's "the end" for its senior class celebration. None of these memories will hold a candle to our wedding but the combination of all these times spent at North Peak, or Sunday River in general, is what makes the place so special.
"So what's with the wife carrying"? Melissa, a close friend from Montana was curious about the event she had witnessed earlier in the day while waiting for the wedding to begin. That's a funny story.
I must have been a sophomore in high school when my father read an article (likely in Readers Digest or Runners World- I'm not sure which to credit) about the crazy Finns and their wife carrying tradition. "Well Bethel should do that". And so it began. Dad called Sunday River to host the event and then went to work with the logistics of the race, the feasibility of the grand prize (two round trip tickets to Finland to compete in the Wife Carrying World Championships were booked at his expense and at his assurance that this event would take off and be great for the community) most importantly, the race course and runner's strategy were planned.
"You will be suspended upside down with your legs in the air and your arms around my waist. I will carry you like this for approximately an hour- through mud, up mountains and over obstacles". My mother's face fell as she stared at my father. Not only did she agree but she practiced with him a few times in the front yard. "Cass, you'll need to find a few friends, we'll need some guinea pigs for the course before we send out the paying contestants". Bless their hearts- I rounded up 5 Gould Academy classmates and come race day, the three pairs hobbled through the course. Prior to the event my father was interviewed by TV, radio and other writers about the race. "Where did this idea come from? How'd the event come to be" he was asked over and over. His response was always the same "Sunday River has the perfect terrain for the race and our local community, along with the fun-loving tourists that it attracts, make up the perfect adventure-seeking crowd to turn this event into a long time tradition".
And it has.
If you'd like to sign up for the North American Wife Carrying Contest click here: http://sundayriver.com/events-and-activities/event…
If you love your experience at Sunday River's Wife Carrying Contest so much that you'd like to live here forever, please call us today: 207-824-1033