By EARL WATT
• Leader & Times
Despite sub-zero temperatures two days ago, Liberal was warm and sunny for the International Pancake Race at 11:55 a.m. today, and that may be why Summer Parsons opted to run an additional half block.
There is a traditional false start for the runners, so they can prepare for the gun, but Parsons took off as though it was the real start and had to return for the official start after running half a block.
It didn’t matter. Parsons went on to win the Liberal leg of the International Pancake Day Race with a time of 63.5 seconds, edging out Destyni Lucero and Lakeria Eatmon at the finish line.
“It was pretty unbelievable,” Parsons said after crossing the finish line. “I didn’t even think I would place at all.”
Parsons is a P.E. teacher at Garfield Elementary and is an assistant basketball coach for the Liberal Lady Redskins.
When the gun fired the official start of the race, Parsons said she didn’t have a plan.
“I actually accidentally ran half down the block on the false start and used some energy,” she said “But there was no strategy, just go.”
Last year, it was Caitlin Demarest, the assistant basketball coach for the Seward County Lady Saints, that won the Liberal leg of the race with a time of 64.3 seconds. Parsons trimmed 0.8 seconds off of that time this year in favorable weather conditions, but it was still nowhere near the record-setting time of Devon Byrne who set the world record in Olney for the second straight year, this time with a time of 55.61 seconds.
Still, Parsons joins the annals of Pancake Day history as the Liberal winner of the International Pancake Race in its 65th year.
“I have been in Liberal for five years,” Parsons said. “I think it is a great tradition, and I wanted to be a part of it. I’m glad I did it.”