LIBERAL, Kansas — Residents of Olney, England, have reclaimed the title in the long-running International Pancake Day Race against competitors from Liberal, Kansas, which involves donning aprons and scarves, sprinting and flipping pancakes.
Olney resident Lianne Fisher won Tuesday with a record time of 55.02 seconds on the 415-yard course that participants run with a pancake in a pan, flipping it at the beginning and end of the race. She beat Liberal's Summer Parsons, who finished in 62.61.
Both towns run the race at 11:55 a.m. local time on Shrove Tuesday — widely known in Britain as Pancake Day — the last day before Lent.
This year's race marked the 67th year of the competition between the towns, which Liberal leads 37-29. One year's score was disqualified. The previous record was 55.6 set by Olney's Devon Byrne in 2014. Parsons, a physical education teacher at Garfield School in Liberal, won the Liberal leg of the race in 2014 with a time of 63.5 seconds.
Miss Liberal Gaby Amparan was the fastest of 11 Kansas contestants, but her time didn't count because she was an honorary racer.
Olney had 25 women, including honorary entrant Isobel Ager-Righinioti, who is 84, according to Hayley Taylor, a member of the Olney Pancake Race Committee. The Olney race also included a man, Barney Harwood, who ran to represent the BBC's "Blue Peter," a children's show.
In a men's pacer race before the Liberal event, San Francisco Giants rookie second baseman Kelby Tomlinson was the winner. Tomlinson spent two years at Seward County Community College and returns to Kansas in the winter to train.
Legend says the race originated in Olney in 1445 after a housewife who was cooking pancakes heard bells ring and ran to a church still wearing her apron, with skillet and pancake in hand. After Time magazine did a feature on the race in 1950, Liberal challenged Olney to a competition that has carried on since then.