DOZENS of competitors powered up Gumstool Hill in Tetbury earlier today as part of the traditional annual Woolsack Races.

People turned up in their hundreds on Bank Holiday Monday for the forty second annual festival, which sees competitors lug a 60 pound sack down and then back up Gumstool Hill.

Organiser of the popular event Stephen Hirst said it was excellent that there was such a huge crowd.

“I love the whole thing,” he said. “It’s a great day out. We’ve got a wonderful team of people who carry it forward. Everyone seems to be enjoying themselves.”

Visitors enjoyed watching the races as well as browsing an extensive food market, selling fresh bread, nougat, paella, and burgers.

“We love it and come up every single year,” said Tetbury resident Mark Smith.

“It’s got such an old-fashioned feel to it, like how everything used to be when we were kids,” said his wife Dawn.

Competitor Maddie Gleave from London took part in the race for the first time this year as part of women’s relay team The Outsiders. They ended up winning in their category.

“It was pretty daunting and the pressure was on but I really enjoyed it,” she said. “I ran up the hill and was neck and neck with the other person.”

Women carried a 35 pound sack while men heaved one onto their back weighing 60 pounds.

Chris Perry came all the way from Wales to compete for the fourth year running and was hoping today he could secure his first victory.

“Hitting the bottom of the hill is the hardest part,” he admitted. “You’ve got to pace yourself. Last year I fell because I thought I could sprint to the top.

“I think it’s a cracking event.”

Some visitors travelled just to visit the market. Kev Davies from Avening said: “There are great stalls here and a great atmosphere. It even seems busier than last year.”

All proceeds from the event will go to the Great Western Air Ambulance charity.


More photos to come online and in this Thursday's paper!