Runners and walkers fry up and down St Peter’s Street for annual pancake day races in St Albans

Over 100 competitors braved the chilly weather to celebrate Shrove Tuesday at the annual St Albans Pancake Day races.

A total of 28 teams, comprising a mixture of local charities and businesses, ran, walked and flipped their way up and down the course on St Peter’s Street, attempting to cross the finish line first.

The running event was contested by 16 teams, while 12 squads of four took part in the walking races.

Cottlandswick Leisure Centre tasted success in the running competition with members Jack Davis, Alex Olcot, Tom Croughton and Toby Seaman holding off a late challenge from last year’s victors Fitness First to take home the winners’ frying pan.

Team Prezzo strolled and tossed their way to glory in the walking race, in which teams had to walk up and down the course making sure they were constantly flipping their pancake as they went.

The foursome of Veronika Tothova, Justyna Fizipiuk, Maria Torres and Bryse Roux said they were happy to win and denied practising in the restaurant leading up to the day.

All the races were cheered on by a buoyant crowd, who, despite the cold temperatures, found themselves bathed in February sunshine.

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Several teams saw their hopes of glory go down the pan when they dropped their battered luggage on the ground.

Deputy Mayor, Cllr Gill Clark, who awarded the prizes at the end, praised the organisers for the their hard work on the day.

She said: “I think tradition is a fantastic thing and it’s so important to follow through on as well.

“I can remember as a child hearing about pancake races and we used to have one in Wheathampstead as well.

“I came some years ago when it was only a fraction of what it is now; the whole day has been really brilliantly organised and there was a superb attendance from so many different organisations in the town.

“I think all the competitors have been tremendous for having a go too.”

After staging the races every year for at least the last dozen Pancake Days, the council is now looking for a new organiser to serve up proceedings in 2017.

Cllr Beric Read, portfolio holder for localism, said: “It is organised by the council but we do feel the time is right to pass the starter gun on to someone else. There’s a real potential to use it to raise funds for charity, but it can’t be developed in that way while under council management.

“We are looking for another organisation to get involved and inject some fresh ingredients into the Pancake Race to give it a new twist. Anyone who thinks they can do that should get in touch with me to discuss their ideas.”