Gawthorpe World Coal Carrying Championship is back - here's how to take part in the world's biggest and oldest coal race

Each year, men and women come from all over the world to race the streets of Gawthorpe carrying huge sacks of coal for approximately three quarters of a mile uphill to secure the best time.

By Leanne Clarke
Monday, 4th April 2022, 12:52 pm
Updated Monday, 4th April 2022, 12:54 pm

This unique coal race started in 1963 as a result of a challenge between a coal man and a farmer, and they’ve been going ever since (except for a short break, due to the Coronavirus pandemic).

This year’s race is the 59th annual World Coal Carrying Championship and will take place on Monday, April 18 at 8.30am-3pm at the Gawthorpe Maypole.

The event consists of men’s, women’s and children’s races. Men carry 50kg of coal and women 20kg in weight. Children do not carry any weight, and race 150 metres.

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This year’s race is the 59th annual World Coal Carrying Championship and will take place on Monday, April 18 at 8.30am-3pm at the Gawthorpe Maypole.

There are two men’s veterans coal races, two women’s races and three men’s races, with the best times for wins and places taken across the relevant race categories.

Race information:

Men’s Veterans Race (40 years and over): entry, £15. Prizes: 1st Trophy and £150, 2nd £100, 3rd £75.

Women’s Race: entry, £15. Prizes: 1st £500, 2nd £250, 3rd £125.

Men’s Race: entry, £20. Prizes: 1st £750, 2nd £500, 3rd £250, 4th £125.

Children’s fun run (open to children aged five-14 years, split by age and gender): entry, £3.

Every child who enters will receive a goody bag and a t-shirt. In addition, every child who runs will receive a commemorative medal.

To enter and for more information, click here.*Registrations may be taken on the day, but because the race includes registrants from cancelled 2020 and 2021 events, you are advised to register beforehand. Registrations on the day start at 8.30am and must take place at the Boot & Shoe Pub.

The World Coal Carrying Championship is organised by The Gawthorpe Maypole Committee.