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Timing flap in England messes up results of annual pancake race

This year’s winner of the pancake day race in Liberal is Maggie Lapinski, a teacher, who ran the race in 61.6 seconds. The International Pancake Day Race was a draw, however, because the race in Olney, England, experienced a timer glitch. The score still stands with Liberal winning 37 times, Olney 29.
This year’s winner of the pancake day race in Liberal is Maggie Lapinski, a teacher, who ran the race in 61.6 seconds. The International Pancake Day Race was a draw, however, because the race in Olney, England, experienced a timer glitch. The score still stands with Liberal winning 37 times, Olney 29. Courtesy photo

The trans-Atlantic pancake race Tuesday between Olney, England, and Liberal experienced a glitch.

The Olney women ran the race, but someone forgot to press the timer, according to the Associated Press. No official time was recorded for winner Kaia Larkas, meaning there was no way to compare times with the winner in Liberal.

The winner in Liberal was Maggie Lapinski, who finished in 61.6 seconds. Lapinski, a teacher in Liberal, ran the race for the first time.

But there was no official overall winner in the 2017 International Pancake Day Race.

JoAnn Combs, a member of the race’s board of directors in Liberal, said that after an international video chat, it was determined the race would be counted as a draw.

The quirky race – the only one of its kind in the world – marked its 68th year on Tuesday. The race is always run in both towns at 11:55 a.m. on Shrove Tuesday, also known as Fat Tuesday.

According to legend, the Olney Pancake Race began in 1445 when a housewife was using the last of her family’s cooking fat before Lent, when it is forbidden. She heard the church bells ring for services and ran to the church still wearing her apron, with skillet and pancake in hand.

Racers must wear a head scarf and apron and the runner must carry a skillet and flip a pancake at the starting signal and again after crossing the finish line.

This isn’t the first time the race has had a glitch. No winner was declared in 1980, when a BBC television van blocked the course in England.

The score now stands with Liberal leading 37-29.

Beccy Tanner: 316-268-6336, @beccytanner

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