Student Flights


World's weirdest sporting events

Published August 4th, 2014

The 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil and the recent Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games may have dominated the sporting pages, our TVs and pretty much all our waking hours in a year where we’ve just gotten over bleary eyes and spoiler alerts for Wimbledon and Le Tour de France, but at Student Flights HQ, we’re drawn to the quirky, the oddball and, let’s be honest, the downright strange. In the sporting spirit of all that’s WTF, here’s our pick of the world’s weirdest sporting events.


So that's how they do it in Finland!


Wife Carrying World Championships

Where? Sonkajärvi, Finland

What the? Otherwise known as Eukonkanto, this couple-bonding race has been going on since 1992. Duos from all around the world gather to smash an obstacle course that includes a 100-metre sprint, water trench and a track of sand, grass and asphalt. The super-dignified position sees the ‘wife’ hoisted over her hubby’s shoulders face down and basically holding on for dear life.


Mud, mud, glorious mud


World Bog Snorkelling Championships

Where? Llanwetyd Wells, Powys, Wales

What the? Bog snorkelling competitors, complete with masks and breathing apparatus and some in fancy dress, reach deep to traverse Waen Rhydd Bog outside Llanwrtyd Wells every August Bank Holiday. Last year’s winner and the new world champ was a Northern Ireland’s Dineka Maguire who swam two lengths of the 55-metre muddy water trench in 1 minute and 23.13 seconds.


Follow that cheese!


Cooper’s Hill Cheese Roll

Where? Gloucestershire, England

What the? An unofficial sporting event that really takes the cheese, thousands of spectators crowd Cooper’s Hill in Gloucestershire to watch fromage fanciers chase/fall/roll  down the grassy hill after a round wheel of double Gloucester cheese. While the cheese now has its own foam stunt double to make the race safer, this odd event has been taking place since the early 19th century.


A little push. Please?


The Great Grove Bed Race

Where? Miami, Florida, USA

What the? While not the only bed race in the world, The Great Grove Bed Race, held annually in Miami’s Coconut Grove neighbourhood, is surely the most fun with a pyjama pub crawl leading up to the event and an official after party. Teams of four runners and one rider push a decorated twin-size bed through the street course, officiated in recent years by celebs like Vanilla Ice and Flo Rida.


Now you're rolling with the big boys.


World Elephant Polo Tournament

Where? Chitwan National Park, Nepal

What the? Think polo – on elephants. Famously dreamed up over drinks (as these things so often are!), ele polo is a strictly governed sport that consists of two teams of four elephants, each with two humans onboard (one mahout and one player). The tournament has been held on a grass airstrip at Tiger Tops conservation reserve near the Chitwan National Park since 1982.


Which way to Hogwarts?


Bonus round:

Quidditch Global Games

Where? Burnaby, Canada

What the? Straight outta Harry Potter, the literary inspired sport of quidditch flew off the pages and into the Burnaby Lake Sports Complex, east of Vancouver, for the 2014 Quidditch Global Games. Run by the International Quidditch Association, and not to be confused with the fictional Quidditch World Cup on J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore website, which was also live blogged (stay with us), participants mimic the high-flying game by running after a human in yellow while holding a broom between their legs. As you do. Australia nabbed the silver, USA the gold and Canada the bronze, FYI.


Cassandra Laffey

Consumed with unrequited wanderlust, I get my fix in 24/7 cities and hippie retreats. I'm still looking for the ultimate combo of secluded beach and major metropolis, and my happy place is a 5-star hotel room all to myself - sigh.