JC man wins acclaimed British cheese-rolling race
Sunday, June 2, 2013
Winning the Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling race constitutes just a stepping stone in the lofty goals of 2004 Helias graduate Kenny Rackers.
This past Memorial Day, Rackers became the first American to win the internationally acclaimed downhill competition, where runners chase a model of a locally made cheese wheel down a steep slope, often tumbling their way to worldwide fame. (See related video at bottom of page.)
Rackers also became the first man to win both the famous downhill and lesser known uphill competition, the second of which he said required much less effort.
After first learning of the race while in college, Rackers attached the goal of winning the race to his “bucket list,” which eventually transformed into a motivational campaign.
Aside from his day occupation in a Realtor’s office, Rackers is avidly pursuing the completion of a documentary titled “One in a Million,” that he hopes will ultimately “inspire one million people to achieve their dreams,” according to Rackers.
Completion of the film is between six months to a year away, Rackers said. The final production will feature him, as well as others in an effort to persuade individuals “limited by themselves and others to achieve their dreams,” Rackers said.
With no filmmaking experience, the project is a “learning process,” Rackers said.
His Facebook page features a link to a promotional video for his eventual documentary. The short video includes footage of Rackers training for the race, as well as him requesting support from his audience for his documentary.
“I have always been about going after things. After I stopped playing sports, I had to re-evaluate my bucket list and decide what I wanted to do with my life,” Rackers said.
Sports have embodied a major component of Rackers’ life and have fostered in him “drive and determination,” he said.
After playing football for Helias as a wide receiver, Rackers continued his passion for the sport at the United States Military Academy at Westpoint and Towson University in Maryland. He later moved to Colorado Springs and trained with a former Olympic wrestler and sports psychologist in preparation for the Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling Race.
Rackers used the abundance of ski slopes around Colorado Springs in his intense training six months prior to the race.
The age-old English race has garnered much criticism for its significant safety risk from government officials, and Rackers echoed their concerns, characterizing the race as a “daredevil thing.”
Rackers, however, remained undeterred from participating, despite the untimely development of an ankle injury only days before his race and a lack of moral support.
As a result of the danger, “a lot of friends and family didn’t ultimately support me. I wasn’t going to let them hold me back,” Rackers said.
Despite the injury, Rackers taped his ankle before the race and participated undaunted.
“I worked harder than anyone has ever worked. I didn’t think about not winning. I gave 110 percent,” he said.
As a result of his victory, Rackers received an eight-pound wheel of Gloucestershire cheese and five British pounds, both of which remained lost with the rest of his luggage as of Thursday.
Rackers will continue his celebrations with family and friends even if the cheese wheel fails to grace his festivities.
“It wasn’t about the winnings or pride of beating the British in their own sport. It was about inspiring people,” said Rackers.
“I came 4,000 miles just for the race. I am just thankful to be able to represent America, the greatest country in the world. I’m just a regular guy who set his mind to train hard,” said Rackers.
View video at http://youtu.be/LOCAMbZ140c
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