UNC-Chapel Hill, get ready for a sugar rush like no other.
On Feb. 3, students will have the opportunity to join runners in Raleigh to eat a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts and run five miles in one hour. For those keeping score, that’s 12 doughnuts and 2,400 calories. Between the thousands of runners, that’s enough calories consumed in one afternoon to power a 60-watt lightbulb for 44.5 years.
“It’s just a fun time,” said Sara Lewis, a junior at N.C. State University and one of the race directors. “The concept itself is pretty silly, so just to see people running around and eating a dozen doughnuts is a lot of fun.”
Though the concept may be silly, the cause is anything but. Through registration fees, corporate sponsorship and fundraising efforts, the Krispy Kreme Challenge has donated $1.35 million to the N.C. Children’s Hospital over the last 13 years.
Those with the physical and gastrointestinal skills to take the challenge begin at N.C. State University's Memorial Belltower, embarking on a 2.5 mile run to downtown Raleigh’s Krispy Kreme. That’s where the real magic happens, as participants prepare for the run back to campus by collectively eating over a half ton of doughnuts.
The challenge, which is coordinated entirely by a team of N.C. State students, has pledged to donate a total of $2 million to the hospital by 2020.
“Being a part of this organization has been one of the highlights of my college career,” Lewis said. “It has been so much fun and so rewarding.”
It’s no surprise ESPN calls the challenge one of the world’s craziest sports.
“The way you eat your doughnuts is the biggest challenge in the Challenge. The five miles is five miles, but eating those doughnuts right is what helps you get in under an hour,” Lewis said. “A lot of people will squish them together in groups of three or four and condense them a little bit in big sandwiches.”
For those uncertain of their ability to consume a dozen doughnuts in one sitting and unwilling to test it, the Krispy Kreme Challenge offers alternate options for participants, including the casual category, which allows runners to eat as many or as few doughnuts as they wish, and the no-doughnut category.
Participants can also choose to run in teams.
“Group costumes are a big thing, because people like to dress up together and make a big statement on race day,” Lewis said. “Our club swim team typically runs it in Speedos and body paint. We’ve had a couple people come connected in a wolf costume, and we see a lot of doughnut-themed costumes.”
Through sustainability initiatives, the race is completely waste-free. Compostable cups are used, doughnut boxes are recycled and extra doughnuts are donated often to student organizations.
Individuals interested in the event but unable to participate can donate directly to the Krispy Kreme Challenge organization, purchase merchandise or help fundraise.
On Friday, race organizers are hosting a Doughnut Day at N.C. Children’s Hospital from 10 a.m to 2 p.m, selling race merchandise and registering participants looking for an event that nails the elusive intersection between a love of running and a love of eating doughnuts.
“This is a great event for students because it’s a lot of fun," Lewis said. "It’s a great opportunity to come out and be creative and run with your friends."
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