We choose to run after the cheese on this day and break the other limb
May 27, 2013 1:37 PM   Subscribe

The annual cheese-rolling event, now unofficial and unsanctioned, has taken place at Cooper's Hill. 3,000 people attended this year, watching several races down the steep Gloucestershire hill. After a police warning to the 86 year old maker of previous cheeses concerning legal liabilities, a foam disc was used as a stand-in cheese. Despite failing to raise funding for a inspirational documentary, Kenny Rackers, an American cheese racer, attended and won the first race.

Events, of varying kinds, have been held at this time of year on the hill for over two centuries. Cheese-rolling has gradually emerged as the predominant event, with competitors running down the 1 in 2 gradient after a circular 8 pound cheese (Double Gloucester variety).

Can You Give It has an interview with a past competitor and various racing and event footage.

In recent years, controversy has marred the cheese rolling. After 15,000 people attended in 2009, the official cheese-rolling committee attempted to limit numbers and comply with various legal requirements by charging a hefty admittance fee. This led to antagonism and the event being cancelled. Annually since, the event has been held unofficially, organised by local cheese-rolling guerrillas. Large crowds still attend. Pictures from 2010, 2011 and 2012.

The 2013 winners: Kenny Rackers won the opening men's race, while Australian traveller Caleb Stalder claimed the second. Local Ryan Fairley, 23, from Brockworth, won the third men's race, while the fourth was won by Tomoaki Tanaka, 39, from Japan, who dressed as a ninja to race down the hill. Student Lucy Townsend, 16, from Brockworth, won the women's race for the second consecutive year. Proudly showing off a graze to her stomach, she added: "I didn't hurt myself last year. "It is sore. I'm going to have to come back every year."

Videos of this year's cheese rolling:
- cartwheels and cheese capture
- a suspected broken ankle
- ninja chasing and yeah that ankle was busted
- look at the American Cheese Racer run
- capture the cheese, drop the cheese, capture the cheese again
- spectators gather and the police helicopter monitors

Also in The Telegraph, Belfast Telegraph, The Mirror, Windsor Star (good gallery) and Sky News.
posted by Wordshore (26 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
No actual cheese to chase after? That whey sucks.
posted by Kitteh at 1:58 PM on May 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

We Havarti made all possible cheese puns in the previous threads.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 2:02 PM on May 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

I live 5 miles from Cooper's hill.

We went near there today since we passed it on the way to Cheltenham. The scene on the nearby roads was complete madness. You have to understand that Brockworth is a tiny village. So cars were parked on the impossibly narrow roads leading to the town, leading to more traffic chaos. People were parking in nearby Cheltenham and climbing the hills in droves.

We literally saw what looked like a pilgrimage line of people climbing the hills you see in this google maps view. A conga line of people stretching from that fence up into the far hill.

No actual cheese to chase after?

This was the best part, actually. As Wordshore linked, before the event, the police appeared to be going around threatening elderly cheesemakers and that news went viral around here. If anything, it helped to remind people of the event and help promote it. So it was a big backfire.
posted by vacapinta at 2:10 PM on May 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

It's notable that the Daily Telegraph leads with an "elf n safety" moan despite the fact that:

1) Health and Safety is about occupational hazard and so has absolutely no part to play in this; and
2) the police making it very clear that the problem is legal liability.

The "bloody elven safety this! bloody elfin safety that!" crowd is really damn grating because they're not only wrong, they're framing the whole modern world with their ignorant mistake. It's a reliable judge of somebody's character that if they ever blame a thing on "Health and Safety" they're not worth talking to for a single second more.
posted by Jehan at 2:12 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'm trying to figure out what legal liability a wheel of cheese might have. Unless maybe it ran a whey.
posted by bendy at 2:13 PM on May 27, 2013 [5 favorites]

the police appeared to be going around threatening elderly cheesemakers

mmmmm.....elderly cheese
posted by Hoopo at 2:15 PM on May 27, 2013 [4 favorites]

"The Octuple Gloucester," - "...a giant cheese, the largest known in the Region, perhaps in the Kingdom. Some considered it an example of Reason run amok, -- an unreflective Vicar, worshiping at the wrong Altar, having convinced local Cheesemen to pool their efforts in accomplishing the feat. Scaled up from the dimensions of the classic Single Gloucester, not only in Thickness, but actually octupled in all dimensions, making it more like a 512-fold or Quincentenariduodecimal Gloucester, -- running to nearly four tons in weight when green, and even after shrinkage towering ten feet high by the time it emerged from the giant Shed built at the outskirts of town especially for this unprecedented Caseifaction..." Pynchon, Thomas, Mason & Dixon, p. 167.
posted by chavenet at 2:20 PM on May 27, 2013 [4 favorites]

If twas a real cheese, a true West Country lad wodda won it. But t'aint worth it for a lumpa foam - let 'ee Yankie 'av it if 'ee wannit.
posted by Dr Ew at 2:20 PM on May 27, 2013 [6 favorites]

Legal liability: if that cheese rolls over someone the organisers will be forced to make a large donation to the Archaeolgists' and Adventurers' Benevolent Fund.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:30 PM on May 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

After a police warning to the 86 year old maker of previous cheeses concerning legal liabilities...

I'm sorely tempted to quote from the ouvre of N.W.A. here.
posted by The Confessor at 2:42 PM on May 27, 2013

Metafilter: organised by local cheese-rolling guerillas.
posted by windykites at 3:27 PM on May 27, 2013

Blessed are the cheese-makers....
posted by gingerbeer at 3:34 PM on May 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

fantastic, and glad to see it continue.

spectators gather and the police helicopter monitors

what an absolutely idiotic use of resources.
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 3:41 PM on May 27, 2013

mmmmm.....elderly cheese

i humbly submit
posted by phaedon at 3:48 PM on May 27, 2013

Wordshore: "previous cheeses"

If you're looking for a great band name...
posted by chavenet at 3:50 PM on May 27, 2013

Your own
posted by GallonOfAlan at 4:07 PM on May 27, 2013 [7 favorites]

what an absolutely idiotic use of resources.

Really? Given the high probability of a serious injury and the stated parking congestion and large crowds it would likely be the only way they could get on-site in time to be any help if anything happened.
posted by srboisvert at 4:20 PM on May 27, 2013

It's no fun till somebody puts an eye out.
posted by Bruce H. at 4:51 PM on May 27, 2013

“A cheese may disappoint. It may be dull, it may be naive, it may be over sophisticated. Yet it remains, cheese, milk’s leap toward immortality.”
Clifton Fadiman
posted by BlueHorse at 5:17 PM on May 27, 2013 [2 favorites]

This makes me miss my home town a little bit.

Went with friends to watch one year, my memories are of watching people being upright, upright, upright and then turning into ragdolls bouncing down the hill, that and it hurting my ankle to stand on such a steep hill for protracted amount of time.
posted by Ramo at 7:04 PM on May 27, 2013

Needs some kind of cheese related skiing oven.
posted by arcticseal at 9:00 PM on May 27, 2013

Rather depressing that the Yank was all tricked out in a stars and stripes outfit. He really should have tried harder to get the spirit of the thing. Clue: crass nationalistic display is not it.
posted by Decani at 12:35 AM on May 28, 2013

They chased a foam disc? Totally lamellae.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:23 AM on May 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

First, they came for the elderly cheese-makers...
posted by Blue_Villain at 5:09 AM on May 28, 2013

Hoooooly crap, some of those falls in that first video do not look survivable. The people just keep getting back up.
posted by BeeDo at 8:20 AM on May 28, 2013

"REAL cheese could be rolling down Cooper’s Hill again next year after one man made an offer to pay for it.

After about 5,000 people gathered on the slopes on Monday for the ‘unofficial’ event which featured a foam cheese, Chris Ormerod said he was not afraid to supply the real thing to uphold tradition


“We cannot allow ourselves to be cowed like this,” he said."

-from one of my local rags
posted by vacapinta at 12:52 AM on May 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

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