The "Krispy Kreme Challenge" involves competitors eating 12 donuts during a 5-mile run

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We’ve all seen athletes sucking on an unappetising tube of energy gel or moodily peeling a banana mid-match, but there’s one sporting competition that takes the idea of in-event eating to serious extremes. Replacing dried fruit with doughnuts, the “Krispy Kreme Challenge” is a running race that is less “marathon”, more “Marathon Bar”. 

Held every year in the apparently doughnut-obsessed state of North Carolina, the race is a self-described “challenge of physical and gastrointestinal skill”. Over the course of a five-mile run, competitors must also see off a dozen original Krispy Kreme doughnuts, all in under an hour. It’s as much about pushing through the wall as it is about avoiding being sick. 

According to the Krispy Kreme Challenge website:

“The mantra of the Krispy Kreme Challenge epitomizes the test of physical fitness and gastrointestinal fortitude.  What started as a challenge among ten friends has transformed into a nationally publicized charity race, and the number one tradition to complete before graduating from North Carolina State University.”

Check out this recipe for Caramel Chocolate Stuffed Doughnuts:

Now in its 16th year of operation, the race has successfully raised almost $2 million dollars for charitable causes across the state. This year’s competition, which took place on February 1st, saw an impressive 5,489 runners take part, each doing their best to run quickly without vomiting. 

As outlined on the challenge website, the competition is not simply a matter of pacing yourself through both pastry and jog. According to the rules:

“Participants begin the Challenge at the Memorial Belltower on the campus of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. Runners then travel 2.5 miles through historic downtown Raleigh to the Krispy Kreme located at the intersection of Peace and Person Streets, where they attempt to consume one dozen original glazed doughnuts. The hardest part of the Challenge awaits them as they run 2.5 miles back to the Memorial Belltower.”

Even if the idea of eating 12 doughnuts as quickly as possible doesn’t make you feel slightly queasy, anyone who’s ever overindulged in Krispy Kremes knows that doing so just before a two-and-a-half-mile race requires a seriously strong stomach. And they say that Iron Man is tough.