Olney Pancake Race
Thursday, 4 February 2016
It’s Shrove Tuesday on 9th February and we thought we would share with you a tradition from the town where we are based in Olney.
Every year since 1445 the ladies of Olney have held a pancake race through the market town, it is said that the race was started after one year a townswoman fled her house fearful of being late for the Shriving service before the start of Lent and she ran the distance down the High Street to make it to the parish church - still clutching her frying pan and wearing an apron.
The Olney pancake race is in fact world famous and the ladies of Olney compete against the Ladies of Liberal, Kansas every year. This all started in February 1950 when after seeing a magazine picture of the Olney women racing each other to the church, Liberal Jaycee President R.J. Leete contacted the Rev. Ronald Collin, Vicar of St. Peter and St. Paul’s church in Olney, challenging their women to a race against the women of Liberal. The Vicar replied, “The Race is on!”
Last year’s winner was Hannah Belton from Liberal and the record stands with 26 wins for Olney and 36 wins for Liberal (with one ‘no contest’ in 1980 as the score didn’t count because a news van blocked the finish line in Olney).