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An Inside Look At The Nation’s Oldest Race

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Nov. 15, 2011
Students take part in the 1913 edition of the Bemis-Forslund Pie Race. Photo: Boston Globe.com

One school has been staging it since the 19th Century.

Students take part in the 1913 edition of the Bemis-Forslund Pie Race. Photo: Boston Globe.com

Many runners compete for trophies, but how about pie?

Since the 19th Century, students at the Northfield Mount Hermon School in Massachusetts have been taking part in the long-established Bemis-Forslund Pie Race. Those who complete the 4.3 mile race in “pie time” (33-45 minutes based on age and gender) receive their delicious prize.

But how did the race come down to pie?

“Well, it’s because here, especially in the late 1800s and early 20th century, pie was always regarded as this wonderful, sort of extravagant treat,” says the school’s archivist, Peter Weis. “For decades, the headmaster insisted Mount Hermon boys eat a diet heavy in prunes and beans. . . . So you can just imagine how great it was to have a piece of pie, never mind a whole pie.’’

Sticking to tradition, the 10-inch pies are still made from scratch in the school’s bakery. The pies are then given to the winners close to the finish line–within sight of  a majestic oak tree on campus.

“It’s a big deal, so you’ve got to make sure the winners get their pie right away,” explains Rich Messer, the school’s director of dining.

For More: Boston Globe

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at Competitor.com and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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