LEWISTON, Maine — A former Lewiston couple are trying to become the first Americans to win the World Wife Carrying Championship this summer in Finland.
To go, Dave and Lacey Castro of Alfred have launched a fundraising campaign by creating a new ice cream flavor at Shaker Pond Ice Cream. They also have established a “Team Castro” site on Facebook.
The couple also hope to break the world record of 55.5 seconds.
“No American’s ever won it,” Dave Castro said on Tuesday afternoon.
“I think if we run good, our goal is to try and get the world record. If we can accomplish that, that would be a really fun thing to do, so we’re really going to go for it and train hard.”
“I know it’s crazy, but it’s fun stuff,” he said.
They bested 46 couples and won the 2009 North American Wife Carrying Championship at Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry, with a time of 54.45 seconds.
That qualified them to compete in the 2010 Finland event in Sonkajarvi, but they couldn’t raise the money at the time to go, he said.
However, the former track and assistant football coach at Lewiston High School said they’ve raised it now for the flight.
“We’re going to buy the [flight] tickets this Friday and we’re just waiting for her passport, but yeah, we’re all set to go and we’re already registered on the Finland website,” he said.
Now they’re trying to raise $700 to $1,000 for a hotel stay, possible car rental, and such.
That’s why they’ve helped Shaker Pond Ice Cream create a new ice cream flavor called “Wife Carrying Crunch.” Castro said $1 from each sale of it will go toward their trip.
“Even if it’s $200 or $300, it’s going to help us tremendously in that phase,” Dave Castro said.
“We’ve got shirts made up and we put the Shaker Pond logo on them, and we’re trying to spread the word around.”
“We’ve got our uniforms already — we’re going red, white and blue and trying to represent the U.S. and have some fun,” he said.
The wife carrying competition originated in Finland. Americans have competed in the past, but have yet to win the title of World Wife Carrying Champions. Typically, past winners are from Estonia or Finland.
While defending their North American title last year in Newry, the Castro’s placed third, finishing less than a second behind first-place winners Rocco Andreozzi of Bethel and Kim Wasco of Farmington on a revamped and tougher course than the 2009 course.
“Half the course was uphill and it was like, ‘Oh, my God!’” Dave Castro said.
“Those guys were good. Now we want to do the one in Finland and come back this fall and get the title back in North America, so we’ve got our work cut out for us this year.”
Unlike the Newry course, the Finnish course is on a track at a high school or small college.
“So it’s flat,” Castro said. “The water hazard’s a little deeper than up at Sunday River, but distance wise, it’s supposed to be the same.”
“Sunday River’s is probably a little more technical where you’re going uphill and its muddy and stuff like that, where the one in Finland it’s kind of long and flat on the track. It’s made for speed.”
They’ve just started practicing together on weekends with sprints. Last month, Dave Castro, who drives a truck for United Parcel Service, got in some gym time, he said.
“Last year and the year before, we didn’t really train together,” he said.
“This year she’s going to get on my back a lot more and we’re going to go over some obstacles and do some stuff like that. So we’re going to go for it.”
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