ABOVE: Contestants haul a 50kg beer barrel up the Wrekin, Shopshire's most famous hill.
We normally don't post unedited press releases, but the following item by Pat Edgar for Ironbridge & Telford Tourism was too good to resist:
ROLL OUT THE BARREL!
200 year old Wrekin Wakes marked with gruelling 50kg beer barrel
Challenge up The Wrekin hill: Sunday 12th June
Around this time two hundred years ago, barrels of beer would have been hauled up The Wrekin, Shropshire's landmark hill, to oil the rowdy Wakes celebrations at the top. On Sunday, 12th June, we pay tribute to those Georgian revellers with this year’s Great Wrekin Barrel Race – an annual sporting challenge that sees the Midlands’ strongest battle to get full, nine gallon beer barrels up the hill in the quickest possible time. It’s a much less drunken affair than the Wakes of old, and ale connoisseurs will be pleased to know the barrels are filled with water so as not to waste good beer!
The grueling path is about 1.5 miles long and rises some 1,000ft (300m). There are four classes; the most popular is the Classic team event where four people carry a full barrel competing against the current record of 21 minutes and 40 seconds. For those who fancy going it alone there is the ominously titled Lunatic Challenge, for a single person to carry a full barrel up The Wrekin - the record is 30 minutes and 38 seconds, set by Tom Portman from The Cock Hotel, Wellington, last year.
There is also a Women’s Challenge for a team of four women to carry an empty barrel to the top of the hill (record 18 minutes 26 seconds) and finally the Fancy Dress Challenge where any mix of sexes take part for fun with an empty barrel and wearing fancy dress. There are prizes and trophies for the various classes as well as certificates of participation for all with a record of their time from bottom to top.
The event starts at 11am from the old Rifle Range off Wrekin Course (just minutes from Junction 7 of the M54) with the finish line at Heaven Gate near the hill’s summit. Entry is £20 per team or individual and entrants are encouraged to collect sponsorship for the nominated local charity, which this year will be Arthurs Next Steps (www.arthursnextsteps.com). Spectators are welcome but need to bring their own refreshments.
There are still a few spaces left for competitors, and further details are available at www.wellingtonunderthewrekin.co.uk; other things to see and do and accommodation suggestions in the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site can be found on www.visitironbridge.co.uk.
Source: Pat Edgar, PR Matters