Time Honoured British Traditions – Number 2. Tetbury Woolsack Races

Origin:  During the 16th Century the market town of Tetbury in Gloucestershire was best known for its wool and yarn markets.  The woolsack races started around the 17th Century when red blooded drovers ran up a hill carrying fully loaded woolsacks to impress the ladies.  Carrying on that tradition, the official annual Tetbury Woolsack Races were founded in 1972 and the women now have the opportunity to impress the men.

Woolsack 2

Objective:   1. To run 240 yards (219.456 meters) faster than the opposition carrying a woolsack up and down Tetbury’s precipitous 1 in 4 Gumstool Hill.  The weight of the woolsack?   60-pounds (27 kg) for men, 30-pounds (13.60kg) for women and boys aged 16–18 races and there is a children’s race … with a sack the weight of a pillow. My kind of sack. 2. To raise as much money as possible for charity.

Level of training required:   High. Not for the casual jogger or the faint hearted.

Technique:   Sheer brawn … obviously, plus mental strength to blot out the fact you are running up a hill humping a ridiculously heavy woolsack.

The good news is there is still plenty of time for you all to sign up for this year’s event which is on


So log on to tetburywoolsack.co.uk.

The Tetbury Woolsack Races attracts up to 5,000 spectators every year.  If you don’t fancy a gut busting run up and down a 1 in 4 hill, there is a pub at the top and one at the bottom from where you can get in the mood and cheer the competitors on.  There are also stalls and live music.

Here is a cheeky little flash from 2014 to whet your appetite.



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