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51st World Coal Carrying Championships - runners ready to face the sack

The World Coal Carrying Championship, Gawthorpe..Matthew Wainwright wins the mens race..1st April 2013.Picture by Simon Hulme

The World Coal Carrying Championship, Gawthorpe..Matthew Wainwright wins the mens race..1st April 2013.Picture by Simon Hulme

The 51st World Coal Carrying Championships will take place on Easter Monday.

Race organisers say it’s shaping up to be another strong year for the event, which has races for men, women and children.

Hundreds of people are expected to line the village streets as TV cameras arrive to film the world-famous race, which was first held in 1963.

Adult races start from the Royal Oak Pub on Owl Lane in Ossett, with men challenged to carry a 50kg sack of coal, and women a 20kg sack, along the 1,000-metre course to the village green in Gawthorpe.

Susan Walshaw, treasurer of Gawthorpe Maypole Committee, which organises the event, said the race had grown in popularity in recent years.

She said: “We get more new participants every year, as well as regular runners, with large crowds to cheer people on.

“The atmosphere is brilliant.”

The event starts with children’s races from the Darby and Joan Club to the village green from 10.30am.

Adult races start with a veteran’s race for entrants aged 40 and over at noon, followed by women’s and men’s main races.

The current men’s world record in the event is four minutes and six seconds, held by David Jones of Meltham.

Catherine Foley is the female record holder after completing the race in four minutes and 25 seconds.

Times are recorded once the runner’s sack of coal hits the village green, where Gawthorpe’s traditional Maypole stands.

For more information on entering the event, log on to www.gawthorpemaypole.org.uk

 

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