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SEE ME ROLLIN’ Cheese Rolling on Coopers Hill Words by Toby Youell Photos by Tomas Jivanda

W

hy would anyone want to race a lump of foam cheese 200m down a 45 degree hill? For Kenny Rackers, a 27-year-old daredevil from Colorado Springs, the answer is simple. “I heard it was the craziest race in the world”. Kenny, wearing a heavily grassstained Captain America costume, is the first person to win both the downhill and uphill race. He says the secret is to not be afraid of the hill. The annual cheese race at Brockwell, Gloucestershire, is thought to have been held every year since the 15th century as part of a ritual to ensure fertilise the land stays fertile. Contestants traditionally chase an 8lb wheel of Double Gloucester cheese down the hill. They are then invited to race each other back up. The event was drawn to national attention by comedian Dave Allen in the 1970s and now attracts runners and watchers from around the world. A local man called Josh says that the adrenalin is a big part of it. He assures

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“I heard it was the craziest race in the world”

us that the experience is “fun, very fun”. He says the most important thing is to get ahead of the others so that you do not trip over any falling participants in front of you – but he will only be doing it once this year as his legs hurt quite a bit from the first run. Some contestants do the run again and again. One such person, a kiwi dressed as Jesus, wants to make the most of his day. He says, “I’ve been training for two years and thought, ‘fuck it’. I got off to a good start, lost my footing about half way and

sort of blacked out for the last bit… It [blacking out] probably relaxes you a bit, maybe you’ll break less bones if you’re relaxed.” The event has been officially banned since 2010 due to health and safety concerns, but unofficial events have continued and five thousand people turned up on 27 May this year to watch the spectacle – no doubt encouraged by national press coverage of its attempted prohibition, which is also the reason for this year’s foam, rather than real cheese.

The Eccentrist  

A new quarterly magazine that offers a ‘meander away from the mainstream’ by documenting the more unusual and offbeat people, places and ide...

The Eccentrist  

A new quarterly magazine that offers a ‘meander away from the mainstream’ by documenting the more unusual and offbeat people, places and ide...

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