American couple Jonathan Schwochert and his wife Charlotte Xiong took the championship title in the eighth annual UK Wife-Carrying Championships in Dorking, Surrey.

The pair, originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, trained regularly and now move on to represent the UK in the world wife-carrying championships in Finland later this year.

Wife carrying is believed to date back more than 12 centuries to medieval times when scores of Viking marauders pillaged the north-east coast of England.

It was reintroduced in 2008 when the inaugural UK Wife Carrying Race was held some 900 years later.

Around 50 battle-hardened husbands and wives fought for glory during the eighth annual UK Wife Carrying Race in Dorking on March 8.

The 380m course is split into two sections – the first, a punishing 15m ascent over a 190m straight, followed by a 15m sprint  descent over another 190m – all while negotiating a series of tricky hay bales.

This is done while having your wife clinging onto your back, slung over your shoulders or otherwise cradled in your arms – whatever your preferred technique.

This year’s race saw 50 couples taking part, a sprightly handful of whom sprinted off the start line with gusto while the rest were left to stagger slowly into their stride.

First place went to Jonathon Schwochert and his wife Charlotte Xiong, who fought off some tough challengers, some from as far as Sweden, to become UK Wife Carrying national champions.

“We hope they’ll go on to the World Wife Carrying Championships in Finland,” said the organisers.

Each year, a diverse array of ‘prizes’ are up for grabs – with John Griffin delighted to win a  jar of Bovril for being the oldest carrier to complete the course.

Meanwhile, a special prize  of a pound of sausages is awarded to the carrier of the heaviest wife, while a ceremonial tin of dog food and a Pot Noodle are awarded to the last placed finishers.

This year, all three prizes went to Joel Hicks and his partner ‘Tiny’.

“Joel was nearly crawling when he finally got to the finish line, surrounded by the resounding cheers of the delirious onlookers,” added the organising team.

“It was worth it though for his charity fundraising. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year.”

Last year’s race was won by Rich Blake Smith and wife Anna from Herefordshire, who went on to take silver in the World Wife Carrying Championships 2014 in Finland.