Imagine the tenseness in the air on a cold winter’s day in Wigan; the stamp of booted feet on the ground in an attempt to persuade the blood to flow more quickly down to freezing toes, the occasional rubbing of gloved hands on a similar mission and the air rhythmically punctured with cloudy vapours as people chat excitedly to each other.
This could well have been the scene outside Harry’s bar in Wigan earlier this week when the annual World Pie Eating Championships took place. One of those odd annual events that dot the calendar, there was an additional rule to be adhered to this year. Long has gravy been banned to aid those mouth-drying pies to slip easily down the throat, but it seems that some competitors have come up with a replacement lubricant – cough medicine. This year therefore, there were even security spot checks to make sure gravy’s replacement could not be smuggled in and utilised.
Cough medicine was outlawed after tests showed that it could knock two seconds off the time it takes to eat a championship pie. Pints of water are provided and that is all that is allowed.
This year the winner – a first time entrant - took just 43 seconds to finish his pie.