English runner is three-time pancake race winner

First place finisher Devon Byrne, from Olney, poses for photographers after winning the annual Shrove Tuesday trans-Atlantic pancake race for the third time in a record time of 55.61 seconds.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
First place finisher Devon Byrne, from Olney, poses for photographers after winning the annual Shrove Tuesday trans-Atlantic pancake race for the third time in a record time of 55.61 seconds.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

LIBERAL, Kan. (AP) — An English runner won the 65th annual Shrove Tuesday pancake race — again beating the winner of the southwest Kansas leg of the event.

Devon Byrne, 20, of Olney, England, covered the 415-yard course in 55.61 seconds to defeat Summer Parsons, who won the leg of the race in Liberal six hours later. It was Byrne’s third win in a row, The Leader and Times reported (http://bit.ly/1q2fe4E ).

Byrne’s mother also was a three-time winner of the competition in which Olney and Liberal women in aprons and head scarves run the course with a pancake in their pan. Race rules require the contestants to flip their pancake at the beginning and end of the race.

Byrne, who is prohibited by rules from running the race again after winning three times, said this race was her most important.

“This is fabulous,” she said after winning. “It’s been such a long tradition.”

Parsons, 25, a physical education teacher at a Liberal elementary school, said she was pleased with her win in Kansas.

“It was pretty unbelievable,” Parsons said after crossing the finish line. “I didn’t even think I would place at all.”

Shrove Tuesday is traditionally the last day before the start of the 40 days of Lent before Easter. According to legend, the Olney race started in 1445 when a harried housewife arrived at church on Shrove Tuesday still clutching her frying pan with a pancake in it. Liberal challenged Olney in 1950 after seeing photos of the race in a magazine.

The race is part of a four-day festival in Liberal, which leads the competition with 36 wins to Olney’s 28. One year’s score was disqualified.

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Information from: High Plains Daily Leader, Liberal, Kan., http://www.highplainsleader.com

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