More cress, less crass

America has long been renowned as the birthplace of competitive eating, with speed and apparent gluttony used in equal measure to devour foodstuffs, usually in the form of junk food.

However, an annual speed eating event in the UK may prove to be a slightly healthier alternative as there is no junk food in the offering.

The annual Watercress Festival in Alresford is a distinctly British affair and the watercress eating contest has become the undisputed highlight.

Competitors are required to consume two bags in the quickest possible time, no mean feat considering the salad green's peppery flavour.

Defending champion Rajesh Patel faced some tough competition this year, but it did little to dampen his enthusiasm.

"I will come back again and again and again, because I love championship, I love food, I love here and I love crowd," he said.

The 2013 crown was awarded to resident Glenn Walsh who set a new world record of 36 seconds, crediting a pint of the local beer "just to stretch the tummy, lubricate the throat," for setting up his win.

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