By LARRY PHILLIPS
• Leader & Times
After heavy rains Saturday and mostly cloudy, cool days leading up to the Pancake Race in Olney, England, Shrove Tuesday started off with bright blue skies, very few clouds and temperatures in the low 40s.
Shortly after the bells at St. Peter and St. Paul Parish Church rang signaling the women of Olney to the starting line, the ladies bolted on their way to see who could win the Olney Race, and hopefully, take the international title over the women in Liberal, Kansas.
There's an old saying that the devil is in the details, and it looks like a young lady from Olney may bedevil the girls in Liberal this year.
Olney's Devon Byrne, 18, came around the last corner on Church Street ahead of the other runners by a good 40 yards.
She not only blazed accoss the finish line ahead of everybody else, she blistered the clock at 58.5 seconds a time that tied the third fastest time in the 63-year-old competition between Olney and Liberal.
After the race, Devon said she was thrilled to win the race.
"I'm quite happy," she said, somewhat out of breath. "It means a lot to me."
She also added she felt very special to be the Olney champ, a feat her mother, Leslie Byrne, accomplished three times, her last in 1993 and beating Liberal twice (in 1988 and 1989).
Devon was soon whisked away by race officials as the runners and the crowd headed through the gate of the church for the traditional Shriving Service, where Devon was presented with the silver plate from Liberal's representative, Tim Kuehne, who is stationed as a pilot near London.
As the crowds headed back to the Market Place for further festivities, Devon was sitting back wondering if her time would be good enough to beat Liberal, where the race didn't take place until 5:55 p.m. in Olney (11:55 a.m. central).
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