In one of the greatest sporting moments of the year, a 19-year-old Canadian won a famous annual cheese chase hill race despite knocking herself out during it.
Delaney Irving is the 2023 champion of the Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling women’s race. Every year people gather at a 180-metre-long hill in Gloucester, England and throw themselves down it to chase a (fake) roll of cheese. The first competitor to the bottom of the hill, whether they run, walk, roll, trip, tumble, slide or fall, wins a cheese roll.
Delaney discovered you don’t even have to be conscious to take home the crown! Footage shows her rolling from the top of the hill before finding her feet and attempting to run down the final stretch. However, she loses her footing and goes absolutely flying head-first into the grass so fast that she bounces across the finish line completely dead to the world.
After the race, Irving delivered a quote that I would bet has never ever been said before in the history of the English language.
“I just remember hitting my head and now I have the cheese.”
Her memory would later return, fortunately. She told the BBC that the race was “good… now that I remember it.”
“I still don’t really believe it,” she added. “But it feels great.”
Matt Crolla, the 28-year-old winner of the men’s race, said he’s proud he won without knocking himself out.
“I'm glad I'm pretty conscious and I've not got many serious injuries.”
When asked what his prep work for the race was, he answered: “I don’t think you can train for it, can you? It’s just being an idiot.”
In the past, there have been calls to cancel the event due to the inherent danger of going as fast as you can down a long slope with no protection, but those involved are too passionate about it to let it end.
"No one's going to stop us doing it,” former winner Helen Thorpe told the BBC in 2011. “They say it's not official, but we are all Brockworth people, and we're running cheese today, so it is official. We strongly believe in it."
With quotes like these, I say long live the chase of the cheese.