The Krispy Kreme Challenge Race Report

Death by doughnut. That should be the slogan for this race.

If you want to experience all the difficulty and hardships of an ultra marathon in only 4 miles, sign up for the Krispy Kreme Challenge.

If you want to hit the wall, simulate altitude sickness and test the true strength of your running mantras, sign up for the Krispy Kreme Doughnutman Challenge.

The Krispy Kreme Challenge is:

  • Run 2 miles
  • Eat one dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts
  • Run 2 miles

The Doughnutman Challenge is:

  • Run 2 miles
  • Eat one dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts
  • Run 2 miles
  • Eat another dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts
  • Run 2 miles

I signed up for the Doughnutman.

Before this, I had only eaten one Krispy Kreme doughnut in my life, and I remembered it was yummy. I figured the first dozen was probably mostly air, so if I could flatten them I could finish. Then the second dozen would be the real challenge.

At the time I registered, I was the only girl in that division and I was the favorite to win based on my rankings from previous races on Ultra Signup. I liked that I only had to finish the race to rank as first girl.

A couple of days before the event, another girl signed up. So I was eager to beat her. As race day approached, I slowly grew more and more nervous about this event.

My running buddy Christine (voice of reason) was telling me it was crazy which was the same thing she said about Los Pinos and turned out to be right. She also said we’d throw up, which made me nervous because I can’t remember the last time I threw up. Even when I try to, I can’t. So I decided one of my goals would be to get through this race without throwing up.

Race day morning was rainy and miserable. My favorite uncle Pat Sweeney had come from Los Angeles to try and win the Challenge. He’s a vegan ultra runner and it would be his first time willingly eating dairy. He slept at our place the night before and in the morning we drove over.

It was freezing in the rain, so we stayed in the car until it was time to race. The event was attended by two groups of people: teenagers and ultra runners. A lot of the teens were racing and a lot of the ultra runners were either competing or watching and cheering. I thought it was an odd race to be so well attended by so many endurance athletes. But later I would understand why.

Pat decided to go barefoot, I wore my ninja shoes (Zem 360s), and Shacky wore his Vibrams. In the pre-race speech, they mentioned that the first place girl in each category would get a free running skirt from runningskirts.com. The running skirt twins were there for the race too. So my goal was to beat that other girl in my division to win—without puking. I didn’t know what she looked like or who she was, so I started out fast hoping to get a good lead.

The course was a 1-mile loop that we ran twice before eating. I ran the first 2 miles at seven minutes each, but later found out that we (and many others) had accidentally cut one part of the course. After the first 2 miles, I ran into the “aid” station and picked up my box of doughnuts. There was corral set up on the side full of people already eating. I opened my doughnut box and immediately knew this was going to be tougher than I thought.

I instantly felt sick at the smell and sight. It was like on The Biggest Loser where they display all the junk food that a person has been eating and instead of looking appetizing, it looks disgusting. That’s what these doughnuts were like. They smelled overwhelming, heavy, and revolting.

In the research I had done at home (that’s right, I researched this), I found out that there were two common techniques for eating a dozen doughnuts. One was to flatten them and eat them like pancakes, three or four stacked on top of each other at a time. The other technique was to roll them into balls and eat them like timbits (American translation = doughnut holes).

I decided that I really needed these to NOT look like doughnuts. So I mushed them in my hand and made balls. Then I started eating. I was still in competitive mode, so my heart rate was elevated and I was trying to eat fast when I should have just slowed down and taken my time. It was stressful and I kept watching to course to see if any girls were finishing their doughnuts before me.

I wasn’t even half way through when the glaze was stuck all down my throat and in my mouth and on my hands. I wanted to drink water, but was warned not to because it would make the doughnuts sit heavier. So I just kept eating.

After a few more bites I couldn’t take the glaze anymore, so I grabbed a water bottle and started washing off some of the dough. The glaze came off, so they were easier to get down. But the result was a disgusting puke-like mush of nastiness in my doughnut box. It was hard to look at, much less eat.

Every time I raised my hand to my mouth, the smell of sugar made my stomach revolt. I slowed down, took a seat, and looked around. Los Pinos survivor Paul Hassett was on the sidelines laughing hysterically at us. His son was also in the corral suffering through his dozen and Paul said we all had the same tortured look.

Carlos was also eating and came over to try and encourage us. He said, “Would you rather be on the Los Pinos hill right now?” I actually had to think hard about it.

Shacky finished his doughnuts and took off, and that’s when I lost hope. I only had about three unrecognizable doughnuts left, but I felt that if I took one more bite, I’d lose it. I swore I never wanted to see another doughnut again as long as I lived, and decided to pull out. Even if I did win the running skirt, I figured I wouldn’t be able to fit into it after two dozen doughnuts.

After I was disqualified, I finished up my last 2 miles and stood around to watch the rest of the finishers. This was hands down the hardest race I’ve ever run after Los Pinos. Total despair and agony in the doughnut corral.

Pat Sweeney finished second place. Carlos also registered for Doughnutman and ended up being one of the 3 finishers in that division. His persistence was inspiring.

There was a new Doughnutman winner this year, followed shortly by last year’s winner. Both were ultra runners. Brian Recore took first place after running 135 miles in the Badwater ultra marathon this summer.

He thought this was harder.

In the end, I gained weight and I didn’t even get my name on the list of finishers. Would I do it again next year?

Yeah, probably.

Many thanks to all who came out to show support and cheer us on! It was so fun to see everyone there and thanks to all who took pictures and video.

Here’s my uncle Patrick’s recap:

Would you ever try this race?  

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12 responses

  1. Oh my gosh – when I saw you on the second 2-mile stretch I didn’t know you had died by donut!
    I got a glimpse of your box of donuts towards the end there – a big pile of sticky mush lol – I didn’t know how you were going to finish that!
    Errin got the last few down by utilizing the coffee they had in the tent – that’s the only reason he actually finished his dozen – he was having a tough time with it too!
    So you’re going to try again??? lol

    (I couldn’t believe how many ultrarunners either! You should try the Burrito Run next year – much easier to eat, so I’ve been told)

  2. Totally awesome report! Sorry I was laughing so hard but you all had this look on your face I couldn’t describe it if I tried. :) I don’t know if I’ll ever do this race but I would love to try to see if I could just to challenge myself. But like Rachel I think you should do the burrito race with us next year, It taste a lot better and not so sticky sweet! :)

  3. I’ve wanted to do one of these since I read about the original one at the University of Maryland or something. I even thought about organizing a small one in my neighborhood using the local Dunkin Donuts or something, hah. Funny to see you tried it. Better luck next year!

  4. I am not sure of the intention of the organizers, but it seems the race is not healthy or safe eating a lot of donuts that way. But sure is unique.

  5. Excellent report!
    We appreciate you joining us on a chilly wet day and supporting the cause. To date, 300+ gifts have been donated (participants and corporate sponsors)!!

    See you soon.

    Keith

  6. Freakin’ hysterical. My fave part: “Los Pinos survivor Paul Hassett was on the sidelines laughing hysterically at us.” OMG it sounds way better than watching people running through mud. You are one bad mo fo for wanting to attempt it next year. Start training yer belly!

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