GLOUCESTER, England (Reuters) - Competitors risked injury and ridicule as they flung themselves down a steep incline after a nine-pound wheel of cheese in the English county of Gloucestershire.

 

The Cooper's Hill Cheese Rolling challenge, which dates back to 1826, sees chasers slip and slide down the muddy 200-yard (180-metre) track in pursuit of a large wheel of double Gloucester cheese, which can reach speeds of up to 70 miles per hour.

 

Thousands of spectators lined up around the hill in Brockworth on a rainy Monday to enjoy the chaotic spectacle, which always results in numerous bumps, bruises and concussions.

 

Local soldier Chris Anderson, 29, won the men's race and 18-year-old Keavy Morgan took the women's title. Both took home the large cheeses as trophies.

 

"The wet weather has made it particularly tough," Anderson, a multiple winner of the event, told the Gloucester News.

(Reporting by Reuters TV Editing by Patrick Johnston; Editing by Andrew Heavens)