Watch This Woman Make History as the First American to Win British Cheese Chasing Race
How far would you go for cheese?
Cheese is not an inherently dangerous food unless you're lactose intolerant. But for decades, Brits in west England have risked life and limb rolling down a very steep hill to win a seven-plus pound wheel of cheese. This year, for the first time in British cheese rolling history, an American young woman tumbled into victory.
For the first time since 2019, due to a pandemic-related break, the Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake was held in Gloucester, England. As the name suggests, the contest involves rolling a giant seven-pound wheel of cheese down a hill. Participants dive down the hill intending to be the first to the bottom to retrieve the wheel. The hill is not only muddy but also over 200-yards. The race is separated into categories for men and women, with 25 contestants in each heat.
Abby Lampe, a recent North Carolina State University grad, was able to catapult her way down the hill and into victory not by chance but by pure hard and dedicated, cheese-motivated work. The 21-year-old told Sports Illustrated that she trained for the race in North Carolina and even gave a hill a go once she landed in England. "I went to Dorothea Dix Park, which is a local park by Raleigh, and I rolled down some hills trying to figure out the best way to roll down a hill."
But unfortunately, Lampe didn't think the hills she had rolled down came close to Cooper's Hill, so she compensated with more studying. "I actually watched hours of film in the week leading up to the cheese race. Because I wanted to understand their strategies and where they started from and how they rolled," she told the outlet.
Lampe's studying and extra rolling paid off. In one video of the women's race posted by Twitter user @benfalconer, Lampe starts in a full sprint before catapulting her body into a rough roll down the hill. As I'm sure you can imagine, one doesn't roll down a steep hill without a few bangs, at the very least. Lampe told NC State's alumni magazine that the race made its mark on her. "I have a few bruises on my left leg and some scratches, and possibly some burst blood vessels on my hand," she said. "They're very minor injuries, so I can still walk and talk. It was very muddy, so I had mud in my teeth, actually. I also think I chipped a little bit of a tooth."
News of her victory made it back to the United States, where North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper tweeted, "This is quite the accomplishment. Congrats Abby Lampe on becoming the cheese-rolling champion of the world."
Lampe was joined in the winner's circle by 23rd-time reigning champion Chris Anderson who told Gloucester Live that this would be his last time competing in the race. Even if Cooper's Hill never sees Lampe or Anderson again, according to the Visit Gloucester website, the games have been going strong since at least 1826, proving that there will always be people willing to chase that cheese.