IT started as a bet between friends.
Now Chris Birkin from Chickenley is the proud winner of the men’s World Coal Carrying Championships at Gawthorpe.
The 25-year-old humped 50kg of coal 1,108 yards and over the finishing line before colleague Clive Fray and 29 other men.
Friend Clive, from Huddersfield, has taken part in the race many times before and so challenged Chris to race him this year.
Clive came a respectable fifth place but was beaten by his Wakefield prison colleague who stormed into the lead.
Chris said: “It was hard work but I enjoyed finishing first. I feel really good, I never thought that for one minute I would win it.”
Chris trained for just three weeks but goes to the gym regularly.
Afterwards he went to the Shoulder of Mutton Inn where he had a couple of drinks to celebrate.
Wife Zoe, who is expecting their first baby, was very proud.
Chris said: “I don’t think they expected me to come first because Clive is pretty fit.”
The tradition dates back to a bar-room bet from 1963.
The bizarre event began when local coal merchant Reggie Sedgwick challenged local Lewis Hartley to a race after he interrupted his pint.
The race is still from the Royal Oak pub to the village Maypole on Easter Monday.
The men’s record currently stands at an impressive four minutes and six seconds, with the women’s record being five minutes and five seconds.