Race day was today, 2/6/16. A local event sponsored and run by students of NC State, benefitting North Carolina Children’s Hospital. This event has transformed over the course of a decade from a small event among ten friends, to a nationally recognized charity race. Here are the details….
Running from the Belltower on the campus of North Carolina State (where my oldest son is a student), runners run 2.5 miles through Raleigh to the Krispy Kreme Doughnut shop on the corner of Peace and Person streets. This is where the real fun begins! Runners in the challenge then have to eat a dozen doughnuts before taking off and running another 2.5 miles back to campus. Sounds like a real treat, doesn’t it? Well, the glazed treats don’t feel like a treat when you’re trying to stuff your face with them. This challenge all has to be completed in under an hour.
This was my first time running this event, the 11th installment of the race, which has grown and grown over the years. Believe it or not, there were almost 3,000 runners in the challenge, and over 3,500 in the casual division (which doesn’t include having to finish the 12 doughnuts).
I met my son at the Belltower about a half hour before the race began. The temperature was like 30 degees, so I decided since the race was only 5 miles long, I would wear running pants. There were runners in every direction as we got ready. The costume contest was a riot, and many runners took on the challenge. I saw Dancing Bears, donut costumes of all kinds, Little Red Riding Hoods being chased by two guys wearing a Wolfpack costume, guys in speedos, you name it!
Take a look at this unique costume!
We lined up in a sea of nearly 7,000 runners. We got fairly close to the front so the crowding wouldn’t be too bad. It was a blast! I hadn’t run in nearly a week, but I went out at a fairly good clip. Mile 1 was done before I knew it. You know, I’m so used to running long distance that I rarely run at the pace I was running today. I zoomed through mile 1 at a pace of 7:16. Some ups and down in mile 2, I ran that mile in 7:19. As I got closer and closer to the half way point, I started fearing the doughnuts. Pretty soon the doughnut shop came into view, and table after table were piled high with doughnut boxes. Each runner was to grab a box, and consume the 12 doughnuts before getting back on the course.
I grabbed a box, and found my son in the parking lot to start eating. He had already finished two doughnuts by the time I found him. I found getting that first one down was a real struggle. I mean, when was the last time you ran a fast paced mile or two, and then immediately tried to eat something? I never have! It was tough! I was breathing so hard, my dry mouth I’m sure didn’t help. I can’t tell you how difficult it is to try to eat those things at such a fast pace. It wouldn’t be as bad if the doughnuts were nice a warm and melty like they are when you get them hot from the conveyor belt in the shop. These doughnuts were cold from sitting outside in 30 degree weather, and were probably at least several hours old. They were glazed stickiness but quite dry.
That was just the beginning! I had eleven more to go….. A few doughnuts later, I started hating them. It was so not easy!
Half way there! OMG! It sucked! I hated doughnuts so much now! How would I ever be able to complete them? I looked at my watch, I was already trying to choke these things down for almost 10 minutes. I had to turn up the heat! Get it done! Eventually I was eating my last one, tossing the box in the trash and heading to the timing mat marking my completion of the eating portion of the race. I hit the split at 30:45. That meant I spent about 15 minutes eating. It was awful. I didn’t see a single person vomit though, which was a real surprise to me.
I knew that with a belly full of doughnuts, the run back would not be as fast, or as fun. It felt like I was carrying a bowling ball in my stomach. I felt so bloated and very uncomfortable. Needless to say, my mile 3 which included the doughnut stop was damn near 20 minutes. I ticked off mile 4 at 8:12 pace, and came to the finish without puking with a mile split of 8:13. I had done it! Survived the KK Challenge without barfing, even though I probably could have just after finishing.
Look how the timing clock has “Krispy” on it! Hilarious! My son finished well in front of me, but my official time was 49:43. I beat the hour challenge! I finished 337/2560 finishers in the Challenge. Average pace (including doughnut stop) was 9:56. Not bad!
It’s a very unique race, tons of fun, and thousands of people. A great way to spend a Saturday morning, especially since the proceeds go to charity. Since I cherish every small amount of time I get to spend with my college student son now, I really most enjoyed seeing him and spending the morning with him. I don’t think I’ve seen him since Christmas, so it was a treat. I am so lucky to be able to run a few races a year with him. Thankfully his fondness for racing hasn’t diminished at all in the past few years.
Here is a look at my race shirt and medal. (They don’t give medals to finishers) you can actually buy a medal, with the proceeds going to charity. Dylan and I raised $100 that went straight to the charity, so we actually earned a medal through our fundraising efforts. The Krispy Kreme Challenge is a race to try at least once. For me? It’s a one and done type race. It is a very unique race experience that everyone should try, but many probably do it just once.