OLNEY, England (AP) — Even as the rest of the world celebrates Mardi Gras with flamboyant costumes and wild parties, an annual trans-Atlantic pancake race harkens back to a simpler time.
Unless the flippin' timer doesn't work.
Every year, apron-clad women carrying and flipping pancakes in their pans have run through the English town of Olney in a race against women doing the same thing in Liberal, Kansas.
But on Tuesday, the timer in Olney failed, meaning no one knows how fast winner Kaia Larkas ran. So no one will ever know if she outpaced Liberal teacher Maggie Lapinski, 25, who defeated nine other runners in Kansas with a time of 61.06 seconds.
Both towns run the race at 11:55 a.m. local time on Shrove Tuesday — Pancake Day in Britain — and the last day for merrymaking before Lent.
According to legend, the Olney race started in 1445 when a harried housewife arrived at church still clutching her frying pan with a pancake in it. Liberal challenged Olney in 1950 after seeing photos of the race in a magazine.
After last year's race, Liberal led the competition 37-29. One year's score was disqualified.