Sports Briefs: Will Run for Pancakes

(Sponsored by 3 Spoons Yogurt)

Chris: I am fond of pancakes to a degree where I am willing to dress as a woman to eat them. This means a head scarf and apron, which are hopefully matching colors, as not to embarrass myself. And while I may be violently escorted out of IHOP, should I enter dressed like that, I would be encouraged to participate in a 415-yard race if I were in either Liberal, Kan., or Olney, England, on March 4, as those communities celebrate their 65th year of comparing winning times in each respective town’s annual Pancake Day (also known as Mardi Gras or Shrove Tuesday) Race.

Brad: I would definitely take part in one. It sounds like fun, especially if everyone is wearing scarves and aprons.

Ralphie: I wouldn't race in an apron and a head scarf because I'd get too hot.

Joe: I do not think wearing a head scarf and apron would be too difficult to wear while running, since you can't go very fast anyway with a skillet in your hand(s), but it sure would leave a draft on your backside.

Chris: All participants must carry a pancake in a skillet during the race, a tradition that dates back to 1445, though hopefully the pancake batter itself is not that old. Since many people give up foods such as pancakes for Lent, one of the names the day before Lent is referred to as is Pancake Day. An Olney lady was at home cooking, trying to use all her batter before the Shrove Tuesday church service began. Running late and in order to make it to the service on time, she raced from her home to the church and decided to carry her frying pan with her, flipping the pancake as she went. For her husband’s sake, I hope she did not drop the pancake on the way to church. If she did this may have been where the 5-second rule of dropped food got started.

Ralphie: I haven't ever run track before, but I think I might like to try it one day.

Joe: Running track is a great sport if you are young and fast. I enjoyed running track in high school, but with short legs I was a sprinter and kept my participation to the 100-yard dash, 220-yard dash, and 440-yard relay. That way training was not too tough, but it was exhilarating.

Brad: I have never run track before, but I have done runs for charity and runs for holidays, like pumpkin fun runs and gym class.

Chris: Track stars must be very thankful this tradition of running with a skillet is confined to Pancake Day races. While maple syrup only slightly improves a baton’s taste, they are far easier to carry while running.

Ralphie: Well, you'd have to be careful not to drop either one, but one would make a bigger mess than the other.

Brad: I think it would be harder to race holding a pancake in a skillet than holding a baton, because your arm would be at a funny angle holding the skillet.

Joe: Running a race holding a pancake in a skillet would be tough, especially a cast iron skillet like my mother used to use. I am not sure I could carry that all the way around the track. I mean, you can't swing your arm back and forth like you do with a baton, and passing the skillet would be ridiculous.

Chris: While the Pancake Race was started by and continues to be headlined by women, the many towns across England and the United States that hold races have added heats for both men and children, for which I assume the Male Suffragist Movement helped bring about. My gratitude is not sufficient enough, as many gentlemen were spared the plight of having to not only wear a scarf and apron, but of having to dress to the point of fooling the judges into thinking they were slightly rugged females, thus allowing them to enter the race.

Joe: American women are definitely faster runners than British women. British women have to run in fog and rain and stay depressed most of the time. American women are prettier and are used to running from men all the time.

Brad: Not really sure who is faster.

Ralphie: American women are faster because America is a free country!

Chris: I do hope that IHOP’s servers resist the urge to race across the restaurant on Pancake Day, as inadvertently spilling a short stack of buttermilk pancakes and a pot of scalding hot coffee onto a customer’s pants would negatively affect their tip.

Ralphie: I just like plain old pancakes with syrup and some chocolate chips.

Brad: Chocolate chip pancakes are my favorite with strawberries on top.

Joe: Pancakes are a breakfast staple. They provide a hearty start to the day for anyone and are so versatile. I like mine with a little butter and maple syrup. Of course some fresh strawberries and whipped cream is a great start on warmer days. Then there are blueberries, blackberries, and oh yeah, when I was a little boy I even ate them with peanut butter and jelly. So just use your imagination. I am hungry now, so I am going go eat breakfast . . .

Try on a new pair of Sports Briefs with the Gab Four every Friday. Find out more about Joe, Chris, Brad and Ralphie, and read their solo columns on their individual pages.

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