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Annual Wife Carrying Race Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Since 1999, brave women have been hanging on for dear life as their partner navigates the muddy course of the annual wife carrying race.

On Saturday, the North American Wife Carrying Championship celebrated its 20th anniversary in Sunday River, Maine.

Image: Sunday River Resort

The course at Sunday River Resort is 245 metres of muddy pits and obstacles that is completed with a brave woman hanging upside down on her partner's back.

Partners can choose how the woman is carried, but most choose the 'Estonian carry', the resort said in its guide.

This carry involves the woman wrapping her legs around his neck, hanging down his back and holding on to his waist with her arms.

Image: Sunday River Resort

This year's winners were Jerome Roehm and Olivia Rowling, who completed the course in 55.95 seconds.

"We have not done the North American Wife Carrying competition ever before so this is our first time and really we were just interested in having a fun day so this is awesome!" Rowling said.

The winners took home Rowling's weight in beer and five times her weight in cash, which totalled six cases of beer and US$555 (AU$815).

Image: Sunday River Resort

They also won a place at the World Championships to be held in Finland next year, the spiritual home of the tradition.