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Champion cheese chaser suffers calf injury in downhill dash

Chris Anderson, 30, has now taken home a total of 22 Double Gloucester cheeses over the past 14 years.

A champion chaser has broken the all-time record for the most cheeses won in the death-defying Cheese Rolling Race – but injured himself in the process.

Chris Anderson, 30, has now taken home a total of 22 Double Gloucester cheeses over the past 14 years.

He broke the record held by Stephen Gyde after winning the first of this year’s three men’s downhill races.

Mr Anderson left other daredevils trailing in his wake as he sprinted, tripped and tumbled down Cooper’s Hill in Brockworth, Gloucestershire.

However, he will not be tucking into his prizes, an 8lb Double Gloucester, as he only likes cheddar.

Mr Anderson skipped the second men’s race but won again in the third race tearing his left calf as he charged downhill.

Just run and try and stay on your feet The secret to Chris Anderson's success

Speaking afterwards, he said: “The kid next to me was pulling my shirt all the way down.

“I’ve got nothing to prove now, I’m happy.

“There was a bit more pressure this year as there was a few more locals running and as we saw one of them was a bit dirty.”

Asked about the secret to his success, he replied: “Just run and try and stay on your feet.”

He does not plan on competing next year as he will be on holiday.

Over the years the worst injuries Mr Anderson has suffered were a broken ankle in 2005 and bruised kidneys in 2010.

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The cheese is chased 200 yards down the 1:2 gradient Cooper’s Hill at Brockworth (Aaron Chown/PA)

Mr Anderson, who is a soldier with 1 Rifles, dedicated his victories to his wife’s nephew Arthur Bace, who has the rare life-limiting condition Nonketotic Hyperglycinemia (NKH).

Heavy rain over the last few days made the steep hill very wet and muddy both for competitors and the thousands of spectators who had turned out to watch.

A heavy mist that covered part of the course cleared in time for the first race.

Some competitors travelled from across the world to take part in the series of madcap races, which attracted TV crews from around Europe.

Among the competitors this year was Australian Nathan Anstey, 30, from Melbourne, who took part wearing just a pair of “budgie smuggler” swimming trunks.

Mr Anstey, who is known as Mangoes, said: “It’s just unbelievable.

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Nathan Anstey, 30, from Melbourne, wore a risque costume (Aaron Chown/PA)

“Last year was the first time I did it and I knew I had to come back. It’s a no-brainer.

“It’s the most exhilarating thing you can do.”

Explaining his risque costume, Mr Anstey said: “It’s an Australian thing, the budgie smugglers, and the crowd absolute love it.”

The women’s race was won by Flo Early, 27, who picked up a Double Gloucester for the third time – after winning in 2008 and 2016 –  but also managed to dislocate her shoulder in the process.

Speaking with her right arm in a sling after undergoing medical treatment, Miss Early, from Stroud, Gloucestershire said: “I think I’m still a little bit… surprised.

“The race was fine. I know I fell over quite a lot.”

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Heavy rain over the last few days made the steep hill very wet and muddy for competitors (Aaron Chown/PA)

Rebel cheese rollers have been staging their own unofficial event after health and safety fears caused the official competition to be cancelled in 2010.

The cheese is chased 200 yards down the 1:2 gradient Cooper’s Hill at Brockworth.

After a year’s hiatus, when police warned against the use of a real cheese, the imitation lightweight foam cheese was replaced with the genuine article.

Long-time cheese-maker Diana Smart and her son Rod, who have produced cheese for the chase for more than 25 years, once again provided the wheels for this year’s event.

Four cheeses weighing about 3kg each and three smaller ones, weighing about 1.5kg, are used.

The unusual event has been celebrated for centuries and is thought to have its roots in a heathen festival to celebrate the return of spring.

The official event was cancelled after more than 15,000 people turned up as spectators to watch the 2009 competition.

Since then it has been held unofficially with the police keeping a watchful eye.

Local roads have been closed up to two-and-a-half miles around the slope.

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