Gloucestershire

Cheese rolling race crowns new champion

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe cheese is chased 200 yards down the 1:2 gradient Cooper's Hill at Brockworth

A new champion has been crowned at the death-defying annual cheese rolling race.

Max McDougall, 22, won the first men's downhill race after tripping and tumbling down Cooper's Hill.

Veteran cheese chaser Chris Anderson, 31, who holds a record 22 wins over the past 15 years, did not compete as he was on holiday.

Recent dry weather made the ground hard and fast for competitors who were cheered on by thousands of people.

Mr McDougall, from Brockworth, said: "It was better than last year when I knocked myself out.

"I normally come second to Chris (Anderson). I just went for it, pick a line and stick to it."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Max McDougall said the race was "better than last year when I knocked myself out"

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 hill.

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

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.

A second men's race was won by Ryan Fairley, 29, from Brockworth, who took home a Double Gloucester for the ninth time.

Image copyright PA
Image caption One competitor was stretchered off the course with a suspected fractured ankle after falling during the second race

The women's race was won by 28-year-old Flo Early, who picked up a Double Gloucester for the fourth time, after victories in 2008, 2016 and 2018, but also managed to sprain her ankle in the process.

"If you go fast from the beginning the hill will do the rest," she said.

The final men's downhill race was won by Canadian Mark Kit, 21, from Toronto, who had been inspired to take part after seeing videos of cheese rolling as a child.

One competitor was stretchered off the course with a suspected fractured ankle after falling during the second race.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Three Cheese! Flo Early won the women's race

More on this story