(for more photos,see the "Pancake Race" Photo Gallery)
Like a bad batch of batter, cold winter weather, snow and ice covered streets, and the Cherokee Braves District Tournament basketball game out of town hampered the turn-out for the second annual Cherokee Great Pancake Day Race Tuesday.
Still, nearly 40 courageous, happy, sporting ladies competed in the race from City Hall to St. Paul's United Methodist Church to celebrate this ancient Shrove Tuesday tradition borne in Olney, England. All of the racerswere colorfully adorned in skirt, scarf and apron,and with smiles as beautiful as the spirit of this fun
Liza Fuller was the 2010 race winner, clocking an Arctic Course record 1:41.52 in the mandated 415-yard race, as event,
The race was timed by reliable Tim Greenwood and the slippery course was made much safer by the extra work of the City Street Department and Streets Superintendent Jim Agnitsch, who applied generous doses of sand over the course.
The sagacious runners used great caution while traversing the course, slowing and walking in the more treacherous inclines and descents while all reaching their Methodist Church finish-line destination.
Molly Johnson was voted "Pancake Princess" for the best dressed runner, and the team "Camo Flippers" comprised of Stoneking, Karin Cedar, and Karla Wilkie was judged Best Dressed Team.
The Pancake Dinner served at St. Paul's raised $1,000 for the local food pantries, about half of what the first annual 2009 Race generated due to the weather, course conditions, and the Braves basketball game cutting into the number of entries and people attending the free-will offering dinner.
There were 168 diners served. Last year 300 were served and $2,500 was raised for the food pantries.
Hy-Vee Food Store and Tyson Retail Deli donated food for the event, conceived, organized and operated by St. Paul's United Methodist Church, most notably, Chief Pancake Day Guru J.C. Cook.
According to Cook, in England many years ago the tradition was established for housewives to use the food ingredients that they would otherwise stop using during Lent on "Shrove Tuesday" and to use those ingredients to make pancakes. The custom evolved into a Shrove Tuesday race which is still conducted in Olney, England to this day.
The race includes women who wear a dress, an apron, and a head scarf, all carrying a pan with a pancake. At the start of the race, all runners must flip their pancake, then run the 415-yard course, winding through town and ending at the church where they must again flip their pancake to finish.
The racers then enter the church, place their pans in front of the sanctuary, and a brief "Shriving Service" is conducted with recognition given to the runners at this time.
The Cherokee event has taken it all one wonderful step further with the Pancake Dinner benefiting the local food pantries.