Tuesday, 4 March 2014


Today, I stood amongst a baying crowd and watched people run through Hitchin Town Centre flipping pancakes.

(Don’t let it be said that my hometown is parochial.)

This was my first experience of the Hitchin Pancake Race, which is something of a local event. Despite happening annually, I’ve always missed it; more by accident than by design.

The basic premise is simple: competitors run along a cordoned off route, brandishing frying pans containing pre-cooked pancakes. They have to flip them at a specific point on the course (the speed bump outside Poundland) – all whilst under the scrutiny of an eagle-eyed adjudicator.

(Don’t take that description too literally: a man with birds’ eyes would look horrific.)

I'm guessing dropping a pancake means instant disqualification. You'd also have to live with the embarrassment; becoming a social outcast, shunned by your close friends and family.

(You'd also end up wasting the pancake.)

I may be exaggerating the stakes for comedic effect, though the competitors and spectators seemed to take it very seriously. Whatever the case, I wasn't disappointed; as far as competitive tossing goes, it was pretty spectacular.

I'm might arrange a similar event to mark Ash Wednesday. Who's up for some competitive smoking?

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