“This year is different because we had so little time to prepare,” he said. “We started recruiting (runners) the first day of school, and now it’s the first weekend of September. We started planning last spring, so this represents five months of work.”
New challenges emerged when the Krispy Kreme on Franklin Street went out of business. Mendys said he placed the order for the doughnuts from a Krispy Kreme in Durham and took several cars to transport the boxes on the morning of the race.
Ty Fenton, a dash co-founder and participant, said that despite challenges, the event has tripled in turnout in the past five years.
“The bite after doughnut nine is pure agony, but I’m really proud I was a part of this,” he said. “I think people know about us now, and we have become a part of campus.”
Rashawn King, a senior at N.C. Central University and a leukemia survivor, spoke with the runners before the race.
“I love coming out and speaking, especially for people fighting for the cause,” he said. “It takes a toll on you because it’s very emotional, but you need to tell, because cancer is real. It tears me apart because it brings back memories, but people need to hear that they’re not alone.”
Mendys said that the racers his team recruited weren’t just running for the doughnuts.
“Yeah, it’s cardio and it’s running and eating doughnuts, but we do it for people like Rashawn and other cancer survivors,” Mendys said. “People do it for the purpose of the event. My entrepreneurship professor always said you can do anything if you make profit with a purpose.”
After the race, many vowed not to eat another doughnut again — at least until next year.
“Running on a full stomach of doughnuts is not fun, but it’s fun to run for a cause,” Park said. “I guess I enjoyed how much I didn’t enjoy the race.”