Gawthorpe World Coal Carrying Championships 2023: All the best photos from the Coal Race on its 60th anniversary in Yorkshire

The Coal Race has been held for the 60th time in a Yorkshire village.

Gawthorpe has hosted the World Coal Carrying Championships since 1963, when the unusual event began as a bet between a farmer and a miner in a local pub.

It has expanded to include men’s, women’s and veterans’ races, with a female over-40s category contested for the first time this year.

Entry numbers are so high that there are now three men’s races.

Gawthorpe Maypole Committee organise the event every Easter Monday, and in recent years have had to contend with extremes of April weather, from heatwaves to heavy snow.

In a nod to Wakefield’s mining heritage, two men who survived the Lofthouse Colliery disaster in 1973 were invited to hand out prizes.

Men carry a 50kg sack of coal on their backs and women must lug 20kg across a 1,000-metre distance. An original pigeon racing clock and volunteers’ stopwatches are used to record times.

Anyone who breaks the standing course record for their gender can take home £1,000.

Related topics: