A Finnish lawyer has proved that he is about much more than contracts and billable hours by winning a unique national competition for the third year running.
The ABC reports that Taisto Miettinen defended his title in Finland's annual wife-carrying championship in front of thousands of spectators who turned out to watch the celebrated event in the town of Sonkajarvi.
The 46-year-old lawyer had his partner Kristiina Haapanen's legs wrapped around his head while sprinting the 253 metres to the finish line, leaping over hurdles and negotiating a pool of water along the way.
The pair won the race in an impressive time of one minute, without Haapanen sustaining any serious injuries (though she was wearing a helmet).
Haapanen's and Miettinen's extra-office training was enough to place them ahead of Estonian rivals Alar Voogla and Kristi Viltrop, who came in only one second behind them, while a Lithuanian couple came in at third.
The unusual competition has its roots in the legend of local bandit Herkko Rosvo-Ronkainen who, as a forest dweller towards the end of the 19th century, stole food - and sometimes foxy ladies - from nearby villages.
"The course was trickier this year due to the water obstacle, which was deeper. The weather conditions were also particularly tough - 30 degrees is too much for me," said Miettinen, spoken like a true Finn.
Miettinen said the secret of his success, which he has honed during the last 13 times he has competed in the race, is to practice the course wearing ski boots in order to build up his leg muscles.
He and his "wife" - Haapanen is just a friend - are the first pair in the championship's 16-year history to take out the title three times in a row, beating 47 couples from 10 different countries for the glory.
Folklaw does wonder, however, how strict Finland's family laws are, given that Miettinen and Haapanen have admitted they are not really "husband and wife", and their relationship would never stand up in court ...
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