delish.com – England and its neighbors know the Tuesday before Lent as Pancake Day, a day to gorge on flapjacks. In America, that day in February is just Shrove Tuesday — except in one tiny Kansas town. In Liberal, KS, locals celebrate just like they do across the pond, with so many pancakes. They stretch the festivities out over four days, starting on Saturday with flipping and eating contests and ending on Tuesday, with a race unlike one you’ve ever seen before.
At the Liberal Pancake Day Race, it’s not enough to just cross the finish line. You’ve got to do it wearing an apron and holding a skillet with a pancake inside. Only women can participate in the official race, though ones for men and children have been founded, too. Like the name Pancake Day, the race’s roots stem from England, too. Rumor has it, in 1445, an Olney, England woman was making pancakes to use up all the fat in her house before Lent. When the church bells rang, she raced out — still wearing her apron and holding her skillet — hoping to make it by the last ding, dong. She did, but she inspired a tradition, too. Olney women began holding a fun run in her honor, and Liberal adopted the idea in the 1950s.
This year, there were eight hopefuls. They were there to win — there was a pancake-themed gift basket and major bragging rights up for grabs, after all — but also to support the community. Some jogged in preparation, others prayed, but everyone crossed the finished line with a smile on their face. Gaby Covarrubius, born and raised in Liberal, completed the super short loop first, in a minute and 11 seconds. She dropped most of her pancake somewhere along the track, but racers only need to have a portion of it left in their skillet when they finish.
Beating the runners beside her wasn’t Covarrubius’s only goal, though. Liberal and Olney compare times every year, and she beat England’s winning runner by three seconds. She wasn’t one to gloat, though: “The girls are really supportive, and the community, it just ties us all together. I really love that.”
And here all I thought Kansas had was red kitten heels, basketball and Bill Snyder…I go and read this fantastic article. The JG team needs parts of this , like yesterday.