Leah Proctor tries to do one big run a month. February’s run will include eating doughnuts.
On Saturday, thousands of runners will join Proctor in the Krispy Kreme Challenge. They will run from the Bell Tower, down Hillsborough Street to the Krispy Kreme on Peace Street, where they scarf down a dozen doughnuts before making it back to the finish line at the Bell Tower without, well, vomiting.
“You can either sign up as a challenger where you’re attempting to (eat all twelve doughnuts) or just sign up and run,” says Proctor. “Maybe I’ll go for like six or seven (doughnuts) and then I’ll just head back. If you’re a challenger you have to eat all of them, show your empty box and run back to checkpoints without vomiting.”
It’s a lot more difficult than most people can imagine, dealing with all the runners weakened by a stomach full of sugar while trying to run five miles. “A girl puked right in front of me one year,” says Proctor. “I had to jump over her. When you get people puking, it’s an added obstacle.”
Such obstacles aside, Proctor enjoys the atmosphere of the Krispy Kreme Challenge and the fact that it raises money for N.C. Children’s Hospital. “They don’t have many races where you can eat doughnuts,” she says. “I think that’s very unique and it supports a great cause. It’s so upbeat, a unique atmosphere and fun.”
There’s more to the atmosphere than a bunch of people stuffing their faces with doughnuts. “I think the funniest thing is people in costumes,” says Proctor. “One year, it was really cold and there were guys in little shorts. Some of them wear a full on animal suit or super hero stuff, it’s just insane.”
Proctor, who graduated from NC State in 2008 with a degree in biological sciences, is a pharmacy student at UNC-Chapel Hill. This year will be her fourth time running in the Krispy Kreme Challenge.
Proctor made it across the finish line in under an hour one year, and hopes to do that again. “I think you feel a sense of accomplishment and relief,” says Proctor. “It’s a huge party and you feel motivated, it’s fun.”
The 9th Annual Krispy Kreme Challenge will be run at 8:30 am on Saturday. About 8,000 runners are expected to participate in the Challenge, which involves a five-mile run from NC State’s Bell Tower to the Krispy Kreme in downtown Raleigh and back. The twist is that runners have to stop at the Krispy Kreme and eat a dozen doughnuts before completing the second half of the race. To complete the challenge, runners must finish the race (and the doughnuts) in less than an hour. The event began in 2004 as a dare between a few NC State students, and raises money for the N.C. Children’s Hospital.