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World Toe-Wrestling Championships in Derbyshire

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Those looking for an interesting day out that will challenge their perceptions of strength and physicality may want to take a trip to the World Toe-Wrestling Championships in Derbyshire.

Every year the Ben and Jerry's-sponsored day out takes place at the Bentley Brook Inn in Derbyshire, where strong men and women go toe-to-toe to see who can take the strain for longest.

Originally devised in the 1970s by George Burgess, as a way to give English sports people the chance to become world champions in at least one field, the event has since become a staple in the wacky athletics calendar.

For Burgess, this may be good news as the inaugural event failed to achieve his dream - the title was taken by a Canadian.

All of the proceeds from the event go to the charity Wish Upon A Star, which arranges holidays for sick children, meaning that those who visit the unusual competition are also helping to support a good cause.

Furthermore, the event has created some unusual stories since its inception - in 2003, for instance, a husband and wife took the male and female titles.

Tyre recycler Paul Beech, 34, and his wife Heather, 37, proved their mettle by beating all other contenders to the two titles on offer, with the latter beating her sister to the women's trophy.

The Burton-upon-Trent family showed their prowess when it came to a best of three toe-down, which is similar in format to an arm wrestle.

Contestants sit opposite each other in the Toedium and lock big toes, with their feet placed on a small wooden frame, named the Toesrack.

The referee shouts "toedown" and the wrestle begins, with the competition following a strict knock-out formula.

And the winner not only gets the glory but also a substantial helping of ice cream, courtesy of its sponsor.

Although, descriptions of the event often take on a comic tone, in reality competitors take the competition seriously and often enter under threatening monikers such as Alan Nasty Nash - a five times champion, until he broke his foot in 2000.

Visitors making their way to Ashbourne in Derbyshire, where the event is held, can take the A515 from the north, if travelling by car, or the A52 from the west.
Parking is available in the town, but limited during the event so early arrival is always recommended.


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