21 August 2012
The World Alternative Games are taking place in Britain's smallest town and feature 35 bizarre events from gravy wrestling to stiletto racing.
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The events at the London Olympic Games might have kept millions of viewers glued to their screens, but to the inhabitants of Llanwrtyd Wells in Wales they seemed a little mundane.
The town is hosting its own version of the Games, which challenge competitors just that little bit extra. The sprinters have to race in three-inch high heels, the long distance runners have to go backwards and the hockey teams have to play underwater. Thousands of competitors from around the world will participate in 35 events over a two-week period.
The town has been organising quirky sporting events for over 30 years. It all started with the man versus horse marathon – a gruelling race that pits 600 runners and 50 horses and their riders against each other over 22 miles of rugged, Welsh mountain terrain. The horses are generally quicker, but human runners have won on two occasions in the race's history.
In true Olympic spirit, this year the organisers are welcoming other quirky sports from around the world, including wife carrying and Russian egg roulette – where competitors take it in turns to smash a batch of six boiled eggs against their foreheads; the loser is the unlucky one who gets the raw egg in the batch.
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- glued to their screens
unable to take their eyes away from the television
- high heels
very tall shoes
against, in competition with
sets as rivals