• Special to the Daily Leader
Since the beginning of the International Pancake Day Race between Liberal and Olney in 1950, the event has been about community spirit and pride. The Pancake Day Board would like to encourage all eligible women to enter the International Race, set this year for Feb. 16, simply to take part in a unique local tradition, or even as a way to raise funds for a favorite charity.
“Women often tell me that they don’t want to enter because they are not young, feel they are not fast enough, or don’t want to take spots away from serious runners, but we would love to have people enter just to be part of this great tradition,” said Janice Northerns, Pancake Day publicity chair.
“We had great participation last year by a number of employees of Seward County Community College/Area Technical School who ran to raise money for the college’s scholarship fund, and we hope that spurs others in the community to do the same,” Northerns added.
Men can participate, too, by entering the Men’s Pacer Race.
Any contestants interested in raising funds for a charity should make arrangements for supporters to donate funds directly to the charity of their choice, as the Pancake Board is not set up to accept donations for any cause other than the International Pancake Day Foundation. Runners are welcome to solicit funds for the Pancake Day Foundation, with all money raised going to support the operation of the Hall of Fame.
“It would be great if community members want to issue a challenge to get others involved,” Northerns said. “For instance, a business manager or a school principal could agree to run if employees raised a designated amount or if a specified number of employees agreed to donate.”
All women who are ages 18 or older, have domestic duties and are residents of Liberal are eligible to enter the International Pancake Day Race. Women who are 18 but still enrolled in high school should enter the new youth division.
The Seward County Community College Wellness Center is again offering international race contestants the chance to work out for free at the Wellness Center.
Qualified racers may train at the Wellness Center any time the center is open and may attend as many times as they wish until Pancake Day, according to Kelly Cook, Director of Wellness and Aquatics at SCCC.
In addition, a Men’s Pacer Race is open to all men ages 18 and older (except those still enrolled in high school, who should enter the new youth division). A women’s Last Chance race is open to women ages 50 and older. (Women who are older than 50 may enter the main International Race if they prefer, as long as they meet the residence requirement.)
Race applications may be picked up at the Liberal Tourist Information Center, 1 Yellow Brick Road, across the street from the Coronado Museum. International racers will be given information about attending the Wellness Center at the time they return completed race applications to Pancake Day Executive Secretary Jo Ann Combs.
For more information on any Pancake Day event, call Combs at 624-6423.