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Gloucester cheese chasing champion wins 21st wheel to break record

Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake competition in Gloucester sees hundreds of competitors take part every year

Oliver Wheaton
Monday 28 May 2018 17:45 BST
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Chris Anderson won't be eating the cheese, as he ‘only likes cheddar’
Chris Anderson won't be eating the cheese, as he ‘only likes cheddar’ (PA)

A man has become the most successful cheese-chaser ever after once again winning the world-famous cheese rolling race in Gloucestershire.

Chris Anderson, 30, has now taken home a total of 21 Double Gloucester cheeses over the past 14 years at the Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake competition.

He broke the previous record of 20, held by Stephen Gyde, after winning the first of this year’s three men’s downhill races.

Mr Anderson left other daredevils trailing in his wake as he sprinted, tripped and tumbled down Cooper’s Hill in Brockworth, Gloucestershire.

However, he will not be tucking into his prizes, an 8lb Double Gloucester, as he only likes cheddar.

Speaking afterwards, he said: “The kid next to me was pulling my shirt all the way down.

“I’m happy but I’m meant to be running in the last race as well.

“I’ve got nothing to prove now, I’m happy.

“There was a bit more pressure this year as there was a few more locals running and as we saw one of them was a bit dirty.”

Asked about the secret to his success, he replied: “Just run and try and stay on your feet.”

Over the years the worst injuries Mr Anderson has suffered were a broken ankle in 2005 and bruised kidneys in 2010.

Mr Anderson, who is a soldier with the 1 Rifles infantry regiment, dedicated his victories to his wife’s nephew Arthur Bace, who has a rare life-limiting condition.

He will auction his Double Gloucester cheeses for Joseph’s Goal, a charity set up to fund research into Non Ketotic Hyperglycinemia (NKH).

Heavy rain over the last few days made the steep hill very wet and muddy both for competitors and the thousands of spectators who had turned out to watch.

A heavy mist that covered part of the course cleared in time for the first race.

Some competitors travelled from across the world to take part in the series of madcap races, which attracted TV crews from around Europe, while thousands of people lined the course to watch.

Rebel cheese rollers have been staging their own unofficial event after health and safety fears caused the official competition to be cancelled in 2010.

The cheese is chased 200 yards down the 1:2 gradient Cooper’s Hill at Brockworth.

After a year’s hiatus, when police warned against the use of a real cheese, the imitation lightweight foam cheese was replaced with the genuine article.

Long-time cheese-maker Diana Smart and her son Rod, who have produced cheese for the chase for more than 25 years, once again provided the wheels for this year’s event.

Four cheeses weighing about 3kg each and three smaller ones, weighing about 1.5kg, are used.

The unusual event has been celebrated for centuries and is thought to have its roots in a heathen festival to celebrate the return of spring.

The official event was cancelled after more than 15,000 people turned up as spectators to watch the 2009 competition.

Since then it has been held unofficially with the police keeping a watchful eye.

Local roads have been closed up to two-and-a-half miles around the slope.

Among the competitors this year was Australian Nathan Anstey, 30, from Melbourne, who took part wearing just a pair of “budgie smuggler” swimming trunks.

Mr Anstey, who is known as Mangoes, said: “It’s just unbelievable.

“Last year was the first time I did it and I knew I had to come back. It’s a no-brainer.

“It’s the most exhilarating thing you can do.”

Explaining his risque costume, Mr Anstey said: “It’s an Australian thing, the budgie smugglers, and the crowd absolutely love it.”

In 2004 the race was won by former All Blacks player Marc Ellis.

The rugby star said of his win: “I was pretty bloody nervous at the top there. It was a long way down.”

PA

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