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‘My face took a lot of hits down the hill’: American Abby Lampe explains how to win renowned cheese-rolling competition

By Amy Woodyatt and Don Riddell, CNN

(CNN) — After a year sabbatical, American Abby Lampe tumbled 200 yards through the mud, grass and sea of limbs down a steep hill to claim victory at an English village’s annual cheese-rolling competition, which attracts entrants from around the world.

Every year in western England, a group of enthusiasts chase a wheel of Double Gloucester cheese down Cooper’s Hill for the chance to be crowned champion. The competition rules are simple – the cheese is released at the top of the hill, and a crowd of people chase it, with the first to the bottom winning the wheel as their prize.

“It’s a very steep hill,” Lampe, the winner of this year’s first women’s race told CNN Sport’s Don Riddell, adding she estimates it is about “45 degrees.”

“When you’re looking down, you can see the bottom, but it’s definitely a long way down. At the starting line, you’re basically grabbing on the grass so you don’t fall down.

“After my win two years ago, I didn’t want to just cling on to that victory because it’s getting aged just like the cheese. But I wanted to renew that win and bring the title back to the US,” added Lampe, who is from North Carolina.

Once a local event, the competition at Cooper’s Hill, in Brockworth, Gloucestershire, attracts entrants and spectators from all over the world. But if you’re thinking of entering the 2025 edition bear in mind that the competition is often blighted by injury.

“Two years ago, someone broke their leg, so it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. People break their collarbones. People break their ankles, their arms – it’s definitely a risky endeavor,” reflected Lampe, who added that this year’s competition had added jeopardy, due to the UK’s recent wet weather.

“My face took a lot of hits down the hill – so did my body – but that’s the cost that it takes to win the cheese rolling,” she added.

“My strategy is to basically run from the gate and then start rolling, and two years ago that strategy worked really well for me – I just tumbled my way down to the bottom. This year, I did a similar strategy,” said Lampee, explaining the secret of her success.

Competitors Tom Kopke of Germany, Australian Dylan Twist and local Josh Shepherd won the first, second and third men’s races, respectively.

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