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World Alternative Games: Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales

Chariot Racing Alternative Olympics
Written by Kirstie Pelling

World Alternative Games: Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales

It’s our wedding anniversary. Before we even exchange cards we are arguing over whether I should go to fat class or not. My argument is that it’s probably more important to be thin this day than any other but Stuart argues, as usual, that fat class is a waste of money. “Why not just eat less and exercise,” he sighs.

The last time Stuart entered me in a race it didn’t work out too well
The Big Coast Ride, Wellington, New Zealand 2005

He knows he can get away with that comment because he’s been out running. After signing us up for the Nemean Games he got himself an exercise regime while I got in a panic about running in a tunic and being birch whipped for breaking the rules. So I never quite got around to training and am grateful to the universe for conspiring to prevent us participating. I know the other runners would have sprinted off, leaving me trailing in their wake. It happened to me in New Zealand the last time Stuart entered me in a race. By the time I finished they had packed up the loudspeakers and turned the finishing line back into the car park.

In my dreams (or perhaps in Stuart’s) life turns out like this…
Image: Nemean Games

An alternative to the Nemean and Olympic games

So I go to fat class, to spite him. And although I do lose weight my happiness is chipped when I find out the packets of cheesy pasta I thought were sin free turn out to be a lethal cocktail of carb and dehydrated fat. Worse still, avocados belong to the devil. Back at home I sulk and surf the net. If things had been different we would have been at The Games this week. And I have to admit it while embarrassing it would have made for a memorable wedding anniversary, Stuart style.

Stumbling around the net I find myself reading about The World Alternative Games, being held in Wales this summer. Like the Nemean Games, you don’t have to be an athlete to apply. You just have to be good at bog snorkelling.

Competitor at SPMK World Bog Snorkelling Championships
An annual race through peat bog in Powys, Llanwrytd Wells

Lots of alternative events

Or if that’s not your thing, what about egg throwing. Or gravy wrestling. To make it a true alternative to the Olympics, the French have got involved and are hosting a cockerel throwing competition. Living next door to chickens, that activity has been on my wish list for a while. There’s also a mountain bike chariot racing event. For Goodness sake, we’re about to pull a chariot around Iceland!

What’s this if it’s not training for a bike chariot racing event?

I make Stuart an anniversary card with a bog snorkeller on the front and tell him I’ve signed him up for the World Alternative Games in Llanwrtyd Wells, Powys, as an anniversary present. My lie is so convincing I start to imagine him stealing glory in the Man Versus Horse marathon. I show the kids the website and tell them Dad is going to be famous. They are very excited.

The kids are easily enthused


They love the idea of bathtub racing and after catapulting eggs at Granny this Easter they’re well up for the egg throwing. This competition may sound like a novelty but according to organisers the competitors “are just as dedicated to their unique sports as their Olympian counterparts.” But then who wouldn’t make a go of worm charming if they discovered a hidden talent for the sport?

Chariot Racing. Photo: The World Alternative Games

And there’s a perfect event for me…

And me? The consummate athlete? Well, there’s one event I think might really work for me. It’ll certainly pay Stuart back for his lack of support at the scales. We don’t have to exchange anniversary presents this year; surely the best gift of all is the chance to haul your overweight wife through a river and beyond in competition with a load of rugby playing Welshmen?

“It’s fine.” I say. “I’ve been to fat class. The wife carrying event will be a doddle.” I don’t mention the slip up with the avocado. Why spoil our anniversary?

Ever participated in anything like this? We’d love to hear about it. Click comments below and tell us about it.

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About the author

Kirstie Pelling

Kirstie is the Editor of The Family Adventure Project. A professional writer and poet, she's the creative and journalistic force behind many of the stories and features published here. She's a co-founder and co-director of The Family Adventure Project and also works as the #poetinmotion producing and performing poetry for print, video and live performance.

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