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Lithuanian couple crowned ‘wife carrying’ world champions

People take part in the wife carrying race, a 278-yard obstacle course, during the 24th world championships in Sonkajarvi, Finland, Saturday, July 6, 2019. Despite the event's name couples don't have to be married, and organizers say male contestants could "steal a neighbor's wife" if they didn't have a female companion. (AP Photo/David Keyton)

SONKAJARVI, Finland (AP) — A Lithuanian man and his wife have won the world ‘wife carrying’ title, leaping over timber and wading through waist-high water to beat dozens of other couples for a second year running.

Vytautas Kirkliauskas and his wife Neringa Kirkliauskiene cleared a grueling 253.5 meter (278-yard) obstacle course in 1 minute 6.72 seconds Saturday. That was just a tenth of a second ahead of former six-time world champion, Finland’s Taisto Miettinen and his new partner Katja Kovanen.

Couples from over a dozen countries took part in the annual race in Sonkajarvi, 300 miles (480 kilometers) north of Helsinki, the capital.

Despite the event’s name, couples don’t have to be married, and organizers say male contestants could “steal a neighbor’s wife” if they don’t have a companion.