Tradition has it that pancake races are thought to have begun in 1445.
A woman had lost track of the time on Shrove Tuesday, and was busy cooking pancakes in her kitchen. On hearing the church bells ringing to call the faithful to church for 'shriving' (the ritual of confession before Lent from which the term Shrove Tuesday is deriven) she raced from her home all the way to church, frying pan in hand and still wearing her apron.
How much truth in that? Who knows - but pancake racing is now held up and down the land on Shrove Tuesday.
One of the most famous of these is held at Olney in Buckinghamshire over a 415 yard course. The rules are strict; contestants have to toss their pancake at both the start and the finish, as well as wearing an apron and a scarf. The race is followed by a church service.
Since 1950 Olney has competed with Liberal in Kansas, which holds an identical race, to see which town can produce the fastest competitor. A glimpse at the Liberal website would indicate they are leading the scores by 36 to Olney's 25, but it would also appear that competitors do not have to be residents of Liberal, and they have a high contingent of 'running club' members who take the competitive element of the race rather seriously! This is in contrast to Olney's entry requirement that participants have to be ladies who have lived in the town for a minimum six months (this rule was relaxed once, in 2010 when Blue Peter presenter Joel, both a man and a non resident, was permitted to take part as part of his Blue Peter duties!)
Pancake record breakers!
15th MAST Batterpan Challenge
The 15th MAST Batterpan Challenge will be run on Shrove Tuesday 21 February from Macclesfield Town Hall down to Castle Street at lunchtime. The event is supported by SILK FM, and will be attended by the Mayor of Macclesfield, Councillor Martin Hardy, and Macclesfield MP David Rutley.
We're not looking for any records to be broken - just come along and have a whole lot of fun, and raise some cash for the Scanner Appeal while you're at it. Fancy dress is optional but most definitely encouraged! If you need some help with a costume contact Spivey's Web. With possibly the largest and most professional range of costumes and accessories in the North West, they are sure to be able to kit you out splendidly!
To register your interest, contact Janet Ward at the MAST Appeal Office on 01625 661988 or email - all proceeds are in aid of the MAST breast scanner appeal, which is currently on course to raise £150,000 for a second digital scanner.