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Olney wins annual pancake competition


UPI News Service, 02/21/2012 

Kaela Krueger led a field of 15 runners for the Liberal, Kan., leg of the 63rd annual pancake race marking Shrove Tuesday, organizers said.

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Krueger, 19, ran the 415-yard course in 68.6 seconds, taking a full 10 seconds longer than the winning runner in Olney, England, against whom Liberal has been competing for decades. The Northampton Chronicle & Echo reported Devon Byrne, 18, set a record pace, covering the distance in Olney in 58.5 seconds and besting 22 competitors to win the international title.

"It's crazy here today," JoAnn Combs, one of the Liberal race's organizers, told UPI.

Patty Rutledge came in second and Leslie Spikes, third. Though they didn't win, members of Amanda Schwab's family set a record of their own. Schwab and her four daughters competed, the first time five members of a single family have taken part.

"We've been talking about it for at least five years, but we had to wait until Kendra [who is now 18] was old enough to compete," said Amanda, who previously competed in 1998.

Legend has it the race was inspired by an Olney housewife who was late for Shrove Tuesday services and ran to the church, still holding her skillet and flipping a pancake. The race can be traced back as far as 1445.

Fried foods are a tradition for the day to give Christians a chance to use up fats before the start of Lent, which begins with Ash Wednesday.


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