Flipping health and safety forces Huntingdon pancake rule change
11:42 26 February 2014
Huntingdon’s annual pancake races have a new venue and a new rule – no running.
Speed will not be an essential ingredient for the entrants in the 2014 ‘races’ next Tuesday (March 4) – this time around it’s all about flipping and style.
The decision to change the format was made by the organisers Huntingdon Town Council following a risk assessment of the event – but the council insists there was no direct link between the introduction of a speed limit and the injuries sustained by two councillors in previous races.
St Neots councillor Barry Chapman ended up in hospital after he fell in the ‘chain gang race’ during last year’s event. His tumble near the start of the race between the district’s mayors saw him tear a shoulder ligament – resulting in surgery – and bruise his knee, ribs and head.
And in 2009 Cllr John Davies, who was chairman of Huntingdonshire District Council, tripped and fell, cutting his head.
So while the speed element has been removed – anyone breaking the rule will be tossed out of the competition – the entrants will compete in a series of walking races at an event the council is calling a Pancake Flipathon.
The venue has also changed from Huntingdon High Street to the market square – another reason, the council said, for reducing the need for speed as the new course involves corners rather than a straight dash for the finish line.
Town clerk Karen Cameron told The Hunts Post: “We looked at the arrangements for this year and after carrying out risk assessments we wanted to make changes to get the most out of the event. Safety is important and we decided not to have people running so they don’t fall over.
“We still think it will be as enjoyable as possible.”
So what happens at a Flipathon?
The council promotional material states: “Entering involves flipping your pancake in a pan with as much style as possible around the Market Hill – but can you make it to the finish line with your pancake in one piece?”
It adds: “The Flipathon is open to individuals of all abilities and ages and to teams of four for a Retail Relay. Any speedy flippers will be instantly disqualified, as judging is based purely on flipping style and variety.”
But you can still expect it to be competitive – winners medals will be up for grabs and everyone who takes part will receive a chocolate egg.
The mayors’s event will also feature.
INFORMATION: To take part in the Flipathon collect an entry form from the town council offices at the Town Hall, Market Hill or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. You will need to have contacted the council by Friday (February 28). You can also turn up on the day to cheer on the entrants.