For most women, being dropped on your head is probably reasonable grounds for divorce.
But luckily for Christopher Burke, his wife Kate is not one to bear grudges. Even though she was left fearing she may never walk again, she says she has forgiven him.
Mr Burke sent her crashing to the ground when he slipped in mud during the annual UK wife-carrying race last weekend. Mrs Burke, 36, who was being carried upside down on her husband’s back, bore the brunt of the fall.
Mr Burke sent her crashing to the ground when he slipped in mud during the annual UK wife-carrying race last weekend. Mrs Burke, 36, who was being carried upside down on her husband’s back, bore the brunt of the fall
Spectators at the event in Dorking, Surrey, looked on aghast as she was left in agony. She was taken to hospital with damaged ribs and torn ligaments in her neck and back. But she said she could not give her husband too much of a hard time – because her mother and sister had got there first.
On the morning of the race, the couple from Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, who have two young daughters, were both excited
‘They were pretty angry with him,’ she said. ‘He has been getting a lot of grief from our families, so I felt I couldn’t have a go at him too. They were saying, “I can’t believe you dropped her” and he kept saying, “I didn’t drop her, I slipped”. I didn’t even want to do the race.
‘Chris had seen it on the news the year before and entered before he had even asked me.
‘I didn’t think he would be able to carry me, but he started doing weight training and I started to lose a bit of weight. We practised the hold a few times – perhaps we should have practised it a bit more.’
On the morning of the race, the couple from Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, who have two young daughters, were both excited.
But Mrs Burke, a train manager for Virgin, was also apprehensive.
‘I was right to be nervous now we know what happened,’ she said. ‘But when we started, I was quite excited. I was upside down so all I could see was the ground, but I was shouting, “Come on Chris, go”. Then it happened. As we came down the hill, I remember looking down and thinking, “It’s really slippery”.’
As Mr Burke, 35, lost his footing, his wife – who was wearing a helmet – fell on her head.
‘I had mud in my face and my mouth, and then I felt this terrible pain in my back, it was scary,’ she said. ‘I was rolling around on the floor. I was so worried.
Mrs Burke was put in a neck brace and loaded on to a stretcher. In hospital, she was told she may have broken her back or neck
‘Chris wanted to carry on. I couldn’t believe it. Then he started taking photos of me on the floor – my mum wasn’t very happy about that either.’
Mr Burke, a route controller for Virgin Trains, admitted: ‘To be honest, my first thought was to get back up and carry on. I was so concerned about finishing last.
‘It very quickly became apparent that we weren’t carrying on, and she was in a lot of pain. Everyone gathered round. I just wanted the ground to swallow me up.’
The couple, who have been together for eight years, celebrate their second wedding anniversary next week
Mrs Burke was put in a neck brace and loaded on to a stretcher. In hospital, she was told she may have broken her back or neck.
‘We tried to keep positive but I kept thinking, “What if I am paralysed, what if I am in a wheelchair? What about the girls? What if I couldn’t work again?”,’ she said. Scans showed nothing was broken but she is on painkillers and will be off work for several weeks.
The couple, who have been together for eight years, celebrate their second wedding anniversary next week.
‘I think I do need to up my game this year now. I don’t think a £20 Topshop voucher is going to cut it,’ Mr Burke said. His wife said: ‘The race organisers have said we can have a free place next year, but no way am I doing it again – he will have to find a replacement wife.
‘Knowing Chris, he has probably already started looking.’