Olney Pancake Race

Olney Pancake Race has been taking place annually since 1445

The next world famous pancake race is on Shrove Tuesday, 21 February 2023 and Revolution Radio will be there to join in the fun and broadcast live.

This is an historic event that takes place every year in Olney, open only to the female residents of Olney who are 18 and over, and resident in the town for at least three months or who work in Olney.

The event supposedly has been in existance for over 550 years, having first taken place after 1445. Please see the history pages for more details on how the event came into existance, and how it was resurrected after WW2.

The runners, dressed in a skirt and head scarf and clutching their frying pan and pancake, will run the
415-yard course from the Market Place, down the High Street, to the race finish outside St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Olney. The race is reputed to have taken place since 1445 and has certainly run every year since 1948, except for 2021.

In 1950 the Pancake Race became an international event when the town of Liberal in Kansas, USA issued a challenge to Olney. In a spirit of international goodwill and friendship, the two towns now compete annually and prizes are exchanged.

Both races are run on a timed basis and the winner is declared after times are compared through a transatlantic weblink between Liberal and Olney.

Ahead of the race itself, there are lots of activities taking place in the Market Place, starting with a special pancake breakfast, prepared by celebrity chef, Lesley Waters. With stalls, even more pancakes, music, a grand raffle, plus races for local nurseries and school children, there will be something for everyone.

The ticketed breakfast takes place at 8.00am, with the children’s races at 10.00 and the main race at 11.55am. and all the details are on our website olneypancakerace.org.

You can also like us on Facebook @olneypancakerace, or on Instagram @theolneypancakerace

All the runners join visitors in a Shriving Service which is held in the church immediately after the race. Some of the famous Olney Hymns, written by Rev. John Newton and the poet William Cowper, will be included in this special service. In particular, the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’ will be sung in its 250 th anniversary year.

Listen again to our interview with Ruth from the organising committee:

Listen again to our live broadcasts on the day here:

Ruth (Organising Committee) pre-race

Dee (Veteran pancake racer)

David Phillipson (Chair of Organising Committee)

Tim Lauderback (representing Liberal, Kansas) pre-race

Ben Brown (Mayor of Olney)

Leslie Walters (Celebrity Chef)

Katie Godof (Previous three time winner)

Eloise (2023 Pancake Race Winner)

Tim Lauderback (representing Liberal, Kansas) post-race

Ruth (Organising Committee) post-race


Timetable of Events

8.00am – 9.30am Lesley’s Pancake Breakfast in the
Marquee on the Market Place

9.00am – 1.00pm Hot Pancakes, tea & coffee in the
Market Place and the Church Hall

10.00am – 1.00pm Children’s Entertainment and stalls in the Market Place

10.00am Children’s and other Races on north side of the Market Place

10.45am – 11.30am ‘Cook it Eat it’ in the Marquee on the Market Place

11.00am – 11.45am Runners for the Olney Pancake Race assemble and register in the Marquee
11.55am Olney Pancake Race starts outside Gabriella’s

12.00 noon Teflon Prize-giving at the finish of the race in Church Street

12.15pm Shriving Service in St Peter & St Paul’s Church

7.00pm Church Hall live web link with Liberal, including official prize giving and the draw for the Grand Raffle


Prize Draw

  • 1st Prize: Two-night luxury Cotswolds break for two at the 5* Ellenborough Park
  • 2nd Prize: £100 meal voucher at the Cowpers Oak, Weston Underwood
  • 3rd Prize: Italian Food Hamper from Stefanie Price Wealth Planning
  • A full list of prizes is available on olneypancakerace.org 

Raffle tickets are available from Olney Pancake Parlour, and Cowper’s Oak, Weston Underwood, or by calling David on 07912 059491. They will also be on sale at the Olney Farmers’ Market on Sunday 5 February and in the Marquee on the Race Day.

Photo Gallery

Images below courtesy of  David Peach Photography David Peach Photography Fine Art Photographer


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