Get ready for the Olney Pancake Race!

Posted 27th December 2023

Shrove Tuesday 13 February 2024 marks the next historic Olney Pancake Race as the women of the town prepare for the 415-yard course, from the Market Place, down the High Street, to the race finish outside St Peter and St Paul’s Church.

The runners, dressed in a skirt and head scarf and clutching their frying pan and pancake, will be following a great tradition; the race is reputed to have taken place since 1445 and has certainly run every year since 1948, except for 2021.

There is another cause for celebration – it’s 75 years since the 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 web link 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 local chef, Ben Francis from The Cherry Tree Pub and Restaurant. With stalls, even more pancakes, music, a fabulous grand raffle, plus races for local nurseries and school children, there will be something for everyone.

All the runners join visitors in a Shriving Service which is held in the church immediately after the race.

If you‘d like more details, go to, like us on Facebook @olneypancakerace, or on Instagram @theolneypancakerace