We know people will do a lot for cheese—spend exorbitant amounts of money, travel across the world, even get a tattoo of their favorite cheesy sandwiches. The people of Gloucestershire, England, showed their dedication to cheese this weekend by risking their physical safety at their annual Cheese-Rolling Race on Monday, May 30. In a tradition dating back to the 1800s, dozens of people raced down Cooper’s Hill in Brockworth to catch an eight-pound wheel of Double Gloucester in front of thousands of spectators. According to the BBC, Chris Anderson claimed his 16th and 17th Cheese Rolling victories when he won the first two races of the day. His prize? The wheels of cheese he caught. The irony? According to The Telegraph, he doesn’t even like cheese!
Jokes aside, this race was personal for Anderson.
“It’s brilliant, I’m really happy,” he told BBC. “My friend Izzy John sadly passed away recently so this is for him and his family. He won it multiple times.”
This year’s event consisted of five races, one of which was open only to women. The “Ladies Race” is a tradition that dates back to 1936. The Gloucester Citizen reports that there was also a less dangerous uphill race for children.
You might be wondering, what’s so dangerous about running down a hill? We all did it as kids. But Cooper’s Hill isn’t just any hill. The race’s official website describes the “infamous” Cooper’s Hill as “majestic yet menacing” because it’s so steep. In fact, the event was permanently cancelled by the organizing committee in 2010 because there were too many injuries in the previous year’s race for them to insure them anymore.
Even at the unofficial events that have been organized since, signs surround the hill warning spectators and participants of the danger of the event. Flo Early, another winner from this year’s races, was briefly knocked unconscious, but she laughed it off.
“I’m so short, it’s really not too far a fall, is it?” she told BBC’s Michelle Ruminski.
Villager Sara Stevens told Ruminski that people understand the risks of the Cheese-Rolling. She said despite the risks, the event makes her proud to be from Brockworth.
“If they want to do it, let them do it,” she said. “I think what the villagers now have done to keep this going for the last six years, mega proud of them. I’m so proud to be a Brockite, it’s unreal.”
You can check out a hilarious video of the race itself by YouTube user Wojciech Rzadkosz below:
Photos: Joe Giddens/PA via AP & Mashable