Gallery: Herts Advertiser editorial team take to the streets in Pancake Day Race
PROUD to represent the wonderfully historic city of St Albans, we at the Herts Advertiser decided that it was only right to sacrifice our lunch-time pancakes and spend Shrove Tuesday running in the city s traditional Pancake Day race instead. Casting our
PROUD to represent the wonderfully historic city of St Albans, we at the Herts Advertiser decided that it was only right to sacrifice our lunch-time pancakes and spend Shrove Tuesday running in the city's traditional Pancake Day race instead.
Casting our lemon and sugar aside, the Herts Ad team - comprising three fighting fit(ish) members of the editorial team and our friend from the advertising department - were just preparing to leave the office for the race at midday when disaster struck.
Pressured by an up-and-coming advertising deadline, one of our team members was forced to pull out and we were left a woman down. But luckily our noble editor Matt Adams (who has never flipped a pancake in his life) took pity on us and put himself forward to make our team complete again.
Dressed in fancy the Herts Advertiser t-shirts, our newlook editorial team - comprising me, Matt, our chief reporter Aimee Brannen and freelance reporter Jeff Parsons - headed for the St Albans market place where the race has been held for the past 10 years at least.
By the time midday struck, there were dozens of teams crowded outside the Town Hall - we were the only local newspaper brave enough to step up to the challenge, I might add - and there was only time for a few pre-race stretches before the district council's tourism manager Charles Baker took to centre stage and laid out the rules of the relay race.
A spot of rain had rendered the road slightly slippery and so running was banned this year and replaced by power walking, which became a determined waddle for most people. Aside from that, all we had to do was walk the track with our frying pan, flip the pancake at four spots en route and then pass the pan onto the next person in our team.
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Sounds simple enough but you would be surprised how stressful a Pancake Day race can be. People were dropping their pancakes here there and everywhere (one unfortunate soul even fell over when he was distracted by his wayward pancake) and everyone - even the St Albans clergy team - was struggling to abide by the walk-don't-run rule, so determined were they to win.
At last our time came to shine, and with Matt leading the Herts Advertiser team we took our place at the starting line. With hearts thumping and frying pans at the ready, Charles set the race off and Matt, who was poised and ready to go, went for it. It was a fine performance and we were in third place when he passed the pan over to Aimee, who also sped down the course at record speed, her face the very picture of determination.
I was up next and although the ready-made pancake was stubbornly sticking to the pan by then, I managed to keep the pace up and we were somewhere between second (a qualifying position) and third when Jeff took over for the last leg of the race. He did the Herts Ad proud, but despite Jeff's very best efforts we could not quite pip second place and our Pancake Day race experience came to an abrupt end.
Although a little disappointed, we consoled ourselves with the fact that the Strutt & Parker team who won our heat - "it was all down to teamwork and pre-race pancakes", competitor Roseanne Edwards told me - went on to win the whole thing. Watch out St Albans - now that we have a taste for pancake race, the Herts Advertiser will definitely be back next year.