By SHAWN YORKS
• Leader & Times
For Nicole Schowengerdt, competing in the 62nd running of the International Pancake Race wasn’t exactly about the competition. She wanted to dress up and have fun.
“I had just been waiting for this. It’s just a fun race,” Schowengerdt said. “Just the whole getting dressed up thing I thought was really fun.”
The 28 year-old stay-at-home mother of two moved to Liberal about a year-and-a-half ago from Kansas City.
Tuesday’s race was her first.
The conditions in Liberal were less than ideal for the race. Light to moderate snow fell during the race, which caused the cancellation of the children’s races and the parade. The snow had been preceded by a layer of sleet and ice, which prompted Liberal street department crews to use blow torches to clear the streets of ice.
“I definitely did not train in weather conditions like this,” Schowengerdt said. “I was just surprised when I saw that they had to blow torch ice off the road.”
As the snow fell, the racers rounded the corner for the home stretch along Lincoln Avenue. As they approached the finish line at Third and Lincoln, Schowengerdt was well ahead of the rest of the field.
“It was just a great race,” she said. “Quick, a really quick race. I just did the best I could.”
Schowengerdt’s best was more than good enough, as she finished in 1:03, nine seconds faster than the time of 1:12 posted six hours earlier in Olney, England, making Liberal the International champion for 2011.
“I have seen a lot of the past races between us and Olney, and they’re really close,” Schowengerdt said. “I was hoping to beat that.”
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