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Cheese rolling champion shares top three tips for winning

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Emma Grimshaw,BBC News, West of England

BBC Man holding cheese above his headBBC

Chris Anderson has won the extreme race 23 times

A cheese rolling champion who has won the extreme competition more times than anyone else has shared his top tips.

Chris Anderson, from Brockworth, Gloucestershire, has claimed the title 23 times since he was 16 years old.

Dubbed one of the UK’s toughest downhill races, the annual event, which takes place on Monday, sees competitors chase a 7lb (3kg) Double Gloucester cheese wheel down the almost-vertical Coopers Hill in Brockworth.

The father-of-three plans to compete for another few years – until his eldest son can take over the baton.

Men rolling down hill

People travel from all over the world to compete

“It’s all over so quickly,” he said. “The first time I won I broke my ankle and had to get stretchered away.

“I’m from the local village, so it’s good to keep the record in the village. For the locals, it’s a massive event for us.”

Preparations for the competition have been taking place all week; trimming away nettles, picking up litter and cutting the grass.

Mr Anderson’s top three tips for people planning to take part are:

  • Make sure you know what you are getting into – it is dangerous
  • If you fall over, get to your feet as quickly as possible
  • Lean backwards when you are running down
Two men smiling at camera holding cheese

Cooper Cummings (right) from Washington competed and met former champion Chris Anderson

The race, which dates back centuries, could be linked to a former belief that if you threw cheese down a hill before harvest it would bring good luck, Mr Anderson said.

“No one knows for sure,” he said.

“There were lots of stories – and no one knows how throwing cheese turned into running after it.”

Throughout his decades of competing, Mr Anderson has also bruised his kidney.

“The older I get the more scared I am,” he said.

“I have more to risk – I have a family to look after.”

Competitors will be heading to Gloucestershire from all over the world for the event on Monday 27 May.

The winner of each race gets to keep the Double Gloucester cheese wheel.

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