Proposal joy for winning couple in wife carrying race

The annual UK Wife Carrying Race has ended in joy after a proposal between the winning couple on the finish line.

After coming ahead of the pack in treacherous and slippy conditions, Chris Hepworth and Tanisha Prince, both 28, will now enter the world championships in Finland officially as man and wife.

Chris sprung the surprise on his carrying partner after being presented with the trophy beer keg on the finish line, and the pair leapt into each other's arms to rapturous applause from the crowd.

Before getting down on one knee, Chris said that Tanisha had been an "amazing wife to carry", but that he wanted to go to Finland as a proper married couple.

Tanisha said: "He woke up with bad ribs and I was trying to persuade him not to run."

Race organiser Rob McCaffrey said: "That is a first time for the wife carrying race.

"Really glad you put a ring on it."

Dozens of couples carrying each other in various gender combinations braved the wind and the rain in Dorking, Surrey on Sunday morning.

Competitor James Parker, who was carrying Megan Clarkson, said: "The footing was a bit slippery, there was a few holes in the ground.

"It is a bit of a death trap."

Most couples opted to race in what organisers call the "Estonian hold" position, which involves the person being carried hanging upside down on the carrier's back with their thighs dangling onto their chest.

They had to clamber over hay bales, go up and down a hill and have buckets of water chucked into their faces while they raced over the 380-metre course.

Organisers claim to be keeping alive a tradition that originated with the Vikings in 793AD and persisted for around 300 years.

"Wife carrying was re-introduced into the UK by the UK Wife Carrying Race in 2008, after an absence from these shores of nearly 900 years," according to the event website.