Dozen Doughnut Dash raises $20,000 for Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center

Video by Abigail Brewer and Colleen McEnaney and Mary Wurzelmann and Nick Shchetko / The Daily Tar Heel

Competitive racers ran 2.5 miles and stopped to eat a dozen donuts before completing another lap to finish the donut dash on Saturday, September 15th.

Four miles, a dozen doughnuts and the opportunity to fight cancer make up the triple threat that is the Dozen Doughnut Dash.

About 150 people got up on Saturday morning to participate in the event, a four-mile run split at the two and a half mile mark, where runners ate up to a dozen glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts.

The event is in its second year, and has raised $20,000 in total for the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.


The second annual Donut Dash. Runners competed with a 4 mile race and eating 12 donuts. Sophomore Connor Belson, the first place winner, eats donuts in between running.

“(We’re) just trying to do something fun to bring everyone together for cancer research,” said junior Renee Psenka, a founder of the event.

The center works with the N.C. Cancer Hospital to help people who are struggling with the expenses of cancer treatment.

Psenka collaborated with juniors Tricia Cleppe, Ty Fenton, Bobby Mook and Christian Bennett to create the annual event last year.

Psenka said they were inspired by the fact that two of the founders’ family members had successful remissions from cancer.

“We thought it would be really great to just give back to Lineberger, and start a race that would hopefully be sustainable and get a lot of community involvement with Franklin Street businesses,” she said.

Senior participant Kyle Swartz said he compares the race to taking an exam.

“This one has a lot less mental preparation but a lot more willpower,” Swartz said.

Cleppe said she was pleased with the outcome of the event.

“It’s always really great to help out and see something tangible and know that you’re helping out with something bigger than you,” Cleppe said.

Psenka said runners of all athletic backgrounds were encouraged to participate.

“The way that we’re trying to market it is that you can run it as a competitive run or a more fun run,” Psenka said.

Competitive runners were timed and required to finish the dozen doughnuts. The winner, sophomore Connor Belson, received the first place prize—Nike running gear.

However, throwing up resulted in disqualification.

Psenka said that only about five of the 150 participants this year vomited.

Psenka and Cleppe said they hope that the tradition will continue even after they graduate.

“The ultimate goal is to raise a lot of money for cancer research and to come back in 15 years and run this race with our kids,” she said.

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