Chris Anderson has gained the Gloucester cheese-rolling race 23 instances — and all it price him was one damaged wrist, a bruised kidney and a concussion.
Anderson, 34, was victorious once more at this yr’s infamously harmful annual occasion close to Brockworth, England, wherein contributors launch themselves down a steep hill in pursuit of a quickly rolling wheel of Double Gloucester cheese.
It was Anderson’s twenty third win, and he got here away comparatively unscathed in comparison with earlier years. It was additionally his cheese racing swan music. He plans to assist arrange subsequent yr’s occasion, however he will not be collaborating.
“I am simply getting too outdated for it,” the cheese-chasing veteran advised As It Occurs visitor host Tom Harrington. “I have been fortunate to get away through the years with out actually hurting myself, and I am unable to actually afford the day off work.”
Cancelled for security, however locals carry on rolling
The Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake is a British custom relationship again to no less than 1826, if not earlier, in accordance with the BBC.
Annually, contributors collect on the prime of the notoriously steep Cooper’s Hill, which, in accordance with Nationwide Geographic, bears a gradient of fifty per cent. Somebody lobs a cheese wheel down, and the racers take off after it — normally tumbling and crashing into one another as they go.
- Watch: The 2022 Gloucester cheese-rolling race in gradual movement:
The primary particular person to get to the cheese wins. In sensible phrases, which means the primary particular person to make it to the underside of the hill.
“It is probably not realistically doable to catch the cheese,” Anderson stated, noting the wheel can attain speeds as excessive as 130 kilometres per hour.
The final formally sanctioned race occurred in 2008. The next yr, the city cancelled it over security issues. However in 2010, a bunch of volunteers determined to arrange their very own cheese-rolling race.
Native have placed on the occasion yearly since, barring pandemic cancellations in 2020 and 2021. One participant advised BBC in 2011: “Nobody’s going to cease us doing it.”
“It is a kind of loopy British traditions,” Anderson stated.
This yr marked Anderson’s first race since 2018. He missed the 2019 race, and the next two had been cancelled due to COVID-19.
He is been racing since he was an adolescent, and says he is gained each race he is participated in besides his first, when he got here in second.
“My brothers and my associates, we used to go up there after we had been youthful and chuck one another down there. So I had just a little little bit of expertise of going downhill,” he stated.
Nonetheless, it is a harmful recreation, even for a seasoned professional. In 2005, he broke his ankle celebrating a win. In 2011, he bruised his kidneys. And in 2007, he struck his head and blacked out.
“However I nonetheless gained,” he stated. “Actually, I got here throughout the road unconscious.”
When he acquired to the highest of the hill this yr, he says he felt extra nervous than he ever did earlier than. His abdomen was doing flip-flops, he stated, and he is sure the hill had gotten even steeper because the final time he threw himself down it.
Nonetheless, he got here out victorious, and largely unscathed. For his efforts, he will get to take house the wheel of cheese — which he admits he does not really like, so he divvies it up amongst his household.
“I simply actually wished to win one this yr as a result of we had a daughter simply earlier than the pandemic, and I type of wished to have a photograph of myself together with her after successful the cheese roll,” Anderson stated. “I acquired a photograph with my little daughter and my two older boys. So it was a pleasant contact. Good to complete on.”
Written by Sheena Goodyear. Interview produced by Sarah Jackson.