Cheese rolling: Extreme sport or Britain's oddest festival?
Brits are proud of the oddest things.
Stiff upper lips. David Bowie. Hurtling themselves down steep hills in the pursuit of cheese wheels.
It’s not even real cheese they’re chasing.
On Monday, a local bank holiday, approximately 3,000 people flocked to Gloucestershire for England’s annual unofficial cheese rolling competition, “Cheese Rolling and Wake."
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Regarded as one of the oldest customs in Great Britain, with roots in a springtime heathen festival, the cheese rolling race originally involved an eight-pound wheel of Double Gloucester cheese sent careening down Cooper’s Hill in Brockworth, Gloucester, with daredevil contestants in hot pursuit.
This year’s race saw the cheese being replaced with a lighter, safer foam copy.
As lame as that sounds, bad spills, twisted ankles and broken bones on the steep 200-meter slope are still so common, police have warned organizers about legal repercussions.
But the tradition continues.
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In a spate of upsets, an American in a stars-and-stripes bodysuit won the first men's race of this year's competition, while an Australian won the second and a Japanese traveler dressed as a ninja won the fourth.
The women’s race and the third men’s race were claimed by contestants from the region.
And yes, the winners take home their respective cheeses.