Thousands of people turned out today to watch the competitors chase some cheese down a hill.
It may look and sound crazy, but this historic event in Gloucestershire is actually world famous, dating back to the 19th century – although some suggest it may be even older.
Competitors start at the top of the very steep Cooper’s Hill in the village of Brockworth before being brought out a nine pound loaf of Double Gloucester cheese.
Brave competitors then risk life and limb as they tumble down the nearly vertical 200-meter drop, which can reach speeds of up to 70 miles per hour, in pursuit of the cheese.
The rules? Whoever is down first wins. The risks? It is painful.
Today’s race was no different as the pursuers staggered, rolled and fought on to reach the finish line.
As the tradition of late Bank Holiday Monday took center stage, limbs flailed everywhere.
The grimacing faces of the participants may tell you everything you need to know about this weird and wacky competition.
Not everyone made it to the end, with at least one person reportedly suffering an injury and being carried away on a stretcher.
When you see what’s happening, it’s hardly surprising.
But the number of injuries that year was nowhere near as high as in 1997, when 33 people required treatment.
People travel from far and wide to take part in the day, which has no “official” organizers and takes place without the support of emergency services or local authorities.
Instead, volunteers from the local rugby club help catch falling participants and tend to injured athletes (yes, it’s officially an extreme sport).
Participants are advised in advance that participation is entirely at their own risk.
That makes sense given the obvious dangers of falling down a huge, uneven hill.
‘What’s the point?’ you might ask.
Well, all in the name of tradition and upholding an event that first entered the history books 197 years ago, in 1826.
Some theories about its history suggest that it could be as old as 600 years.
The results of the race have been recorded since 1985. Since then, the competition has been held every year with a few exceptions.
The race winners came from a variety of different countries including Australia, Belgium, Canada, Egypt, Nepal, New Zealand and the United States.
The 2001 event was canceled due to foot and mouth disease and the 2003 race was canceled after the volunteer safety team was diverted to Algeria following an earthquake.
To keep up the tradition, a single cheese was still rolled down the hill both years.
In 2020 and 2021 the competition could not be held due to the Covid pandemic.
But last year it came back with a vengeance when some of the faces were a sight to behold.
In other crazy events this month, nearly 1,500 Kyles traveled to Kyle for the world’s largest Kyles gathering.
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