Once every year hundreds of ‘starch’ raving mad competitors flock to the little village of Flitton in Bedfordshire to attempt to run a mile as fast as possible while carrying a sack of potatoes over their shoulders.
This race has a great history and this was the tenth running of the event in its current format. After the pre race briefing and usual health and safety ‘waffle’ in the village hall the runners made their way to the start line. It was ‘crunch’ time!
I set off at a steady pace towards the front of the 53 strong field doing the adults individual race over the traditional full mile distance carrying my 20kg sack (it’s 10kg’s for the ladies of which there were just 12). There were certainly no couch potatoes here!
Within a couple of hundred meter I found myself in the lead and began to pull away. Although it had been raining all week we were lucky enough to have a fairly hot day and the sweat began to pour from my head as I upped the pace. ‘Roasting’ hot I managed to balance the sack using just one hand as I wiped my brows with the other and then with my eyes on the fries I increased my pace again.
Just after the half way point the spec’taters’ gather in their masses. It seems like the whole village come out to watch along with the families and friends of the participants and although the through of running harder isn’t at all a’pealing’ the encouragement really drives you on to the finish line.
5 minutes and 33 seconds later and I had finished. Just outside my course record but another convincing win meant I was ‘fried’ but very happy.
I watched my fellow competitors coming in. Most looking completely ‘mashed’ but nearly all with big smiles on their faces.
It was then time for the four person relays and the kids spud and spoon races over various distances depending on age. Lots of whom had just watched their parents compete and now it was their turn to show they were chips off the old block!
Once all the races are done the road reopens and everyone heads into the White Hart pub garden situated right at the finish for BBQ, drinks, live music, an ice cream van, fair ground rides, a bouncy castle and a selection of stalls and games as well as the presentation. What more could you want on Father’s Day when the event is usually held. Keep your eyes ‘peeled’ for next year’s races. This is one not to be missed.
Photos by Ampthill and District camera club.
For a more in-depth look into this event and its history see our review from last year: https://quirkyraces.com/2018/06/19/the-flitton-potato-race-2018/