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Husband takes strain to win wife-carrying title

YOU don't have to be married to compete, but the winners of the Paddy Power National Wife-Carrying championship have enjoyed wedded bliss for nine years.

Anthony and Frances Greaney, from Ballycasheen in Killarney, Co Kerry, literally ran away with the title at the Sneem Family Festival in Killarney at the weekend.

Anthony, a former weightlifter and athlete, had been in training for months.

They were beaten into second place by two seconds last year and this time they were determined to win.

"Out of the 18 couples, we were one of the few married couples in the race," Anthony told the Irish Independent.

"We did it in one minute and 14 seconds, which was only two seconds ahead of the next couple."

This was Anthony and Frances's third time to complete the 253.5-metre course and they were cheered on by their son Jack (8). Although they now qualify to compete in the World Wife-Carrying championship in Finland, Anthony says they're just happy with their Irish win and €1,000 prize.

"It sounds like a jovial thing but it's actually quite difficult," he added. "There are two obstacles on the course and a pool that you have to jump over. We fell into that the first year we competed."

David and Kelsey Fitzpatrick, who came all the way from North Carolina in the United States, had to be happy with the 'wooden spoon' -- the trophy for the slowest couple -- with their time of three minutes and 37 seconds.

Couples from Prague, London and Yorkshire as well as all over Ireland travelled to Sneem for race.

Irish Independent