Did you guys know that there is a cheese rolling festival held each year during spring break holiday at Cooper’s Hill in England? It us said to be the most dangerous foot race EVER! I’m sure most of you, if not maybe all of you already knew this. However in my defense, it was the first time ever hearing about this annual cheese rolling race festival. We were watching a Netflix series called : We are the Champions, when I discovered this absurdly dangerous and simultaneously beautiful phenomenon called cheese rolling race.
When I thought of a cheese rolling race, my mind went to kids playing in a field full of flowers rolling their big cheese rounds back and forth as they raced around. They were using sticks to guide the cheese as it rolled from one kid to the next. In my scenario I imagined people were smiling and talking to each other, families were having pick nicks in the grass near by where the kids were playing. There were kites being flown, kids were eating cotton candy and candy apples. Everyone was well… you know happy, healthy and enjoying life. ……I have never been so wrong! lol
The Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling and Wake is an event that screams danger, where participants race going full force ( no helmets or body padding at all ) down a 656 foot ( 200 m ) long hill with a 1:2 gradient slope that’s 45 degrees steep, chasing a round of Double Gloucester cheese rolling faster then 80 miles an hour.. I can’t make this stuff up guy’s it is a real thing. The Guardian called it a ” World famous event.” This fine tradition goes as far back as 1826 and is said to be an old pagan ritual to bring luck to the harvest.
People from all over the world have won, some coming from places like Canada, Australia, Nepal and New Zealand. Remember when I noted that they have no helmets or body padding? Well, not surprisingly there are usually quiet a number of injuries each year. There are so many injuries that news reporters have been reporting on it. The BBC, the Gillette World Sport and the Trans World Sport mused at the activities of the cheese rolling and the ensuing injuries across many years.
The people participating in the event are WILLING to basically throw themselves off of a cliff, tumbling down after a cheese round. It sounds unbelievable for someone like me it sounds almost suicidal. Unless I’am being chased by a large monster you’r not going to catch me running down that hill especially not after some cheese. It is not my idea of fun.
In the series ” We are the Champions .” they have a whole episode based around this cheese race. We are introduced to an adorable and tough as steel young woman named Florence Early. She is on the shorter side standing a whole inch shorter than me, at 5 foot 1 but make no mistakes about it she can take a stumble and bounce back up like Tigger from Winnie the Poo.
Her ability to take a hard fall and bounce up only to keep running at full force would make any NFL player take notes. Florence said in the episode that she believes that “as adults we save all the fun for the kids because as adults we have forgotten how to have fun. For Florence the giant hill of death is just another way to have fun.” I agree with her.
Florence is the winner of the women’s cheese roll for 3 years in a row if she wins again this year she will be the first woman in history to win 4 times in a row. With last years injury of a dislocated collar bone ( which she will have for the rest of her life ) fresh on her mind she admits she is scared of the hill, but this year she will face this fear and have another go at it.
Florence calls upon another cheese champion Chris Anderson who the locals claim is the fastest man in the world. He completed the race in 8.2 seconds. He is a legend in those parts. Chris gives Florence some pointers on how to roll into your falls and bounce back up again. Nothing that Florence didn’t know before but she was grateful for his help. With just 24 hours until the race Florence is still determined to make a go of it for her fourth win.
It’s the day of the race as everyone is making their way up the hill they are discussing their fears and anxieties. In the years before the common injuries have been broken ankles, collar bones and concussions. Even with this knowledge the women line up to start the race waiting for the cheese to roll.
As they let the cheese loose Florence and all the other participants take off down the hill. Everyone starts off on their feet but one by one they begin to fall leaving Florence and a few others the only ones still running/ stumbling down the hill. Then it happens, Florence falls and as she continues to fall , she begins to roll into her falls. Somehow each time she fell she was able to bounce back onto her feet. One again Florence is the first to slide across the finish line, This time she is the first woman in history to win 4 years in a row.
Last year she had a dislocated collar bone this year she broke her ankle and she still manages to have her big win with a huge smile on her face. ( I would have been crying like a baby. ) Florence isn’t going to be racing again next year, she feels as though she is on the right tragectory in her life and she can just say YES to whatever comes next. To me her statement was so brave and beautiful. She reminds me that being brave doesn’t mean not being scared. Being brave is the ability to face that fear and go after what we want anyway.
Even though I would absolutely not even think about trying to tumble down that giant hill of death for any reason, there are other areas in my life were I do need to face my fears head on and just say YES and do it. Florence is a reminder to us all that, we are but mere mortals we cannot live in fear. We have to charge ahead, headlong onto all the giant hills of death that face us, knowing that one of them will be our undoing… but not this hill and not today. For now we are alive and we are the Champions.
Thank you for reading my post. Please fell free to like, comment and subscribe and until next time stay Inspired and Blessed.