Note: The following was written by NDC Thunder Bay Head Coach Timo Puiras, son of 1976 Canadian Olympian and Lappe Nordic Ski Centre owner Reijo Puiras, about the historic Pancake Run, which took place on Friday.
THUNDER BAY, Ontario — The NDC Thunder Bay Team raced the annual Lappe Pancake Run on October 18th, 2013. The 22km loop run on hilly gravel road has a long and historic tradition.
The run was started as an annual fitness test in 1979 by Pauli Kaki, who was coaching Reijo Puiras, 1976 Olympian and current owner/operator of the Lappe Nordic Ski Centre. Reijo ran his best time in 1980. Pauli recorded the time as 1:20:00 but Reijo insists the time was 1:19:59 on his wristwatch. The debate endures to this day.
About 10 years ago Reijo put out the challenge that whoever could break his time would receive Lappe’s famous Finnish pancakes free for one year. Since then 7 athletes have run under the 1:20:00 threshold. Three of those athletes ran it this time.
Jack Carlyle squeaked in under the mark at 1:19:51. Scott Hill ran a Junior Mens record of 1:18:33 and Andy Shields ran a new course record in a blazing time of 1:16:23.
About 10 years ago Reijo put out the challenge that whoever could break his time would receive Lappe’s famous Finnish pancakes free for one year. Since then 7 athletes have run under the 1:20:00 threshold.
Previous course record holder (1:18:12) and former NDC Thunder Bay member Chris Hamilton (current Alberta World Cup Academy athlete) tweeted “New Pancake Run king @AndrejShields. Well done buddy! #lappe #de-throned”.
Reijo commented after the event that it was “a fantastic run. The course is as tough now as it was 30 years ago. It is a heart-warming event because I can relate to how difficult it is”
The women’s version of the Pancake run is 15km and starts at the 7km mark of the men’s course. Although not as storied and historic as the men’s race, the Pancake threshold of 1 hour is just as difficult.
This year’s race winner Jenn Jackson remarked that although she didn’t get under the threshold on this occasion she is looking for a pancake sponsor to fuel her way to a fast time next year.