By Giang Pham
Have you ever heard of the Pancake-Eating-Running-Festival? It may sound strange to citizens of Aarhus, but it did happen here last Tuesday at Studenterhus Aarhus.
The festival, which is widely popular in the Netherlands, was organised for the first time in Aarhus, and the whole of Denmark. Britt Van Veggel, who brought the festival to Aarhus, was a familiar participant and organiser in similar events in the Netherlands. The Dutch student missed the atmosphere of pancake races when she was in her exchange semester here, so decided to organise the very-first Pancake-Eating-Running-Festival here in Aarhus, where pancakes are favoured by most Danes, and the environment of the city is widely open to new ideas.
What’s it all about?
A Pancake-Eating-Running-Festival is quite simple. Within 30 minutes, participating teams of three have to run around two floors, along a long hall with staircases on both sides to a table placed on each level. Each team has to organise who will eat and who will run.
When a runner reaches a table, someone in the team has to eat a pancake. Once his or her mouth is empty and checked by organisers, that participant (or someone else of the team) has to run to the other table. The team that finishes the most pancakes in 30 minutes is the winner.
The event took Veggel one and a half months to prepare, from finding a place and looking for volunteers, to creating events on Facebook and buying the elements needed for the run. Due to some misunderstandings from the shipping agent, Veggel had to bike around Aarhus to buy the pancakes, not just 10, but 400 hundred for the race! Veggel recalls clearing the shelves of pancakes at all the stores she went to, once taking up to 80 pancakes. “I had to tell the cashier I was super hungry,” says Veggel.
However, Veggel did not organise everything by herself. She had support from another 10 volunteers, a sponsorship from iMentor Aarhus via Steffan Schmid, and an app for checking pancakes coded by her Dutch friend, Frank Van Hoof.
There were 18 participants (or 6 teams) to join in the race. Most of them were Science and Technology students; some were internationals.
See some funny moments of the race below.
The winner was Team Olympic, finishing 47 pancakes in 30 minutes! This was the first Danish record and surprisingly also the world record in Veggel’s experience. This was a bit ahead of the last record that Veggel had seen, of only 39 pancakes!
Team Olympic is made up of Rune Gadegaard, Frederik Hvilshoj and Kristoffer Madsen. Three best mates thought they might be a strong team, so participated to find out that this was their game. After finishing 47 pancakes in half an hour, though all were full, everybody was able to save some space in their stomach for beer (not pancakes, of course!). Frederik, who ate the most among three with 18 pancakes, already thought about their readiness for future pancake-eating-running races. But they may take more training to get to the next level: 50 pancakes!
To Britt Van Veggel, this event was one of her last activities in Aarhus before she leaves in January. However, with her dedication, Veggel is always ready to come back and help organise future pancake-eating-running festivals.