Confession: I Ran and Ate My Way Through the Krispy Kreme Challenge

16SHARES

By: , SparkPeople Blogger
2/9/2011 8:00 AM   :  296 comments   :  27,021 Views

A couple years ago, I saw a news story about the annual Krispy Kreme Challenge held in Raleigh, NC. Runners from across the country show up and pay good money (for a good cause, of course) to run a couple miles, eat a dozen doughnuts, then scurry their way back to the finish line within 60 minutes—without losing their doughnuts, if you know what I mean. I realize that everyone may react differently to the idea behind this race. My initial reaction was more like "Ew! Pure gluttony!" Then I immediately calculated the calories in a dozen doughnuts and no, running 4 miles doesn't even burn off three of them. "Only in America," I thought.

The following year, when I saw news coverage about the Challenge again, something came over me. I suddenly wanted to do this race. Yes, I am an advocate for healthy eating and sensible exercise habits. And yes you're right in thinking that combining competitive running with competitive doughnut eating doesn't net out to "healthy," but you have to admit…it sure sounds fun!

I’m a girl who can eat. I have a healthy appetite and I've always been able to eat a lot of food—there is no food that's ever been "too rich" for me—without feeling sick. (It's a curse.) I was up for the challenge! I signed up as soon as registration opened for the 2011 race, and last weekend, I ran and ate my way through the Krispy Kreme Challenge. Now I'm reporting back from the glaze-filled trenches.

On race day, the weather was dreary: low 40s and pouring down rain. That took a little bit of fun out of the race, but I was still eager. And people came out for the race by the thousands, some donning crazy costumes, and many wearing little to nothing at all (body paint, bikinis, tiny race shorts)!


Runners trying to stay warm and dry before the race

I did not expect to eat all dozen doughnuts. I played it safe. But I did have a realistic goal in mind: 4-6. That's what I thought I could actually eat and still be able to run without losing my doughnuts. You don't have to eat all dozen—only to truly "win" the race. Many people just eat one or two. Some try for all 12. Others just run and carry their box of goodies with them to enjoy later. How did I fare? Here's how it broke down that day:

By the Numbers: My 2011 Krispy Kreme Challenge
6:45 a.m. Wake up call for Saturday's race
8: Average minute-per-mile pace I ran on my way to the Krispy Kreme store
2.3: Miles from the starting line to the Krispy Kreme store
12: Number of doughnuts each runner was given to eat upon arrival
1,140: Number of calories in the 6 doughnuts I ate during the race


Simply the most flattering picture I've ever taken haha!

13: Minutes it took me to down 1,140 calories worth of doughnuts
20: Seconds per mile I slowed down while running with a belly full of doughnuts
6: How many doughnuts I carried with me to the finish line


Ready to eat my 6th doughnut!

4.7: Total miles ran during the race
45:29: My finish time for the race (running plus eating)
29:31: Top finishing time for the race winner (he ate all dozen within that time frame, too!)
0: Number of people I saw losing their doughnuts (this really surprised me)
6: Number of doughnuts I ate after the race was over—no joke! I ate all dozen, just not during the race!
2,280: Total doughnut calories consumed within 3 hours
540: Approximate number of calories burned during 4.7-mile race

Scarfing down six doughnuts was surprisingly easy for me. I had my technique down: I folded each one in half, squeezed out the air, and then ate. I stayed away from the water, fearing water + doughnuts would = one upset (and very full) stomach. I expected to feel nauseous and get cramps in my stomach on the return trip back. I fully expected to run much slower than I started the race, but surprisingly, I maintained a good clip all the way to the finish. I carried my remaining six doughnuts back to the car, back to my hotel, and then enjoyed every last one of them on the trip back to Ohio.


Proof! I carried these remaining 6 to the finish line and ate them later.

During the race, I saw kids, parents, strollers, dogs, costumes, runners of all shapes and sizes, walkers, supporters holding signs (the most popular being "Don't Puke!"). Mostly, I saw a lot of smiles. Everyone was having fun despite the bad weather. We were all there to enjoy the experience and check this crazy race off our bucket lists. Most of us, anyway.

During the first half of the race, a woman was standing by and watching, but she was actually chastising the runners saying (in a not so nice way), "Yeah, how many calories are in just ONE of those doughnuts, runners?!"

I get where she's coming from. One doughnut has 190 calories...plus trans fats, sugar, carbs, and no real nutritional value. Her reaction was much like my own reaction when I first heard about this crazy race a few years ago. I thought it was disgusting. I thought it was just advocating horrible eating habits and making people believe that it's OK to binge on junk food as long as you do a little exercise.

I guess I've lightened up more over the years, especially as I've learned to accept my imperfections and balance out my healthy habits with my not-so-healthy ones. But to me, the Krispy Kreme Challenge is all in good fun. Healthy living is important. Eating right is important. Exercising is important. But you know what's not important: Being perfect in these areas every single day. We also have to LIVE our lives and enjoy ourselves! Too often, people become way too obsessed with being healthy. In my experience, these "health saints" judge others with a healthier-than-thou attitude, much like the lady who yelled at the runners from the sidelines. I don't feel sorry for anyone who joined this race; I feel sorry for her for being too obsessed with health and afraid of calories to join in on the fun herself. And I can say that, because I know what it's like to be that way—I've been there myself, and since I've overcome it, my life is so much fuller and happier.

No one is perfect. Sometimes I eat ice cream for dinner. Sometimes I skip my workouts. Sometimes I choose junk food over health food. (I love broccoli but I don't want to live without the occasional Twizzler.) But a truly healthy lifestyle—if it's truly sustainable—includes rest days, lazy days, indulgences, birthday cake and the occasional doughnut run. One day and one dozen doughnuts aren't going to make or break my fitness habits, my weight, my diet, or my health in the long run—and it's not going to for you either. And you know what: I would do it again in a heartbeat!

For your viewing pleasure, here's a fun video about the Krispy Kreme Challenge from a couple of years ago:



What's your reaction to the Krispy Kreme Challenge? Would you ever try it? Do you think I'm a bad example for eating so many doughnuts?

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Comments

  • 296
    I have never attempted to run a race (not yet) but sometimes when picking up my son, there is a Krispy Kreme Doughnut shop in the shopping center.
    I tell myself, 'no you don't need the calories, no you don't need the sugar or fat'
    Then my son jumps and in asks the dreaded question - Can we please go get a doughnut.
    Long story short - I end up being right behind him getting at least 2. :o)
    No more of that. I chew gum now if I get that desire. - 2/28/2014   12:40:41 PM
  • 295
    I love you and thanks for the 28 day boot camp. I just love it. I think you did a great thing with this challenge, Spark on, my friend. - 1/30/2013   1:09:18 PM
  • 294
    Coach Nicole, what great fun you had! Thank you for sharing it with us.
    Let me just say - if you do your own workouts that I have been doing, you can eat all the donuts you want! Your routines are fantastic. Thanks for your inspiration and knowledge, you are helping many, many of us reach our goals.
    Thanks again for kicking my behind on a regular basis!!! Spark On! - 11/2/2012   7:47:14 PM
  • 293
    Loved reading about your race. Have heard about this run for several years and it intrigues me. Maybe one of these days..... Thanks again for your report! - 10/14/2012   2:02:40 PM
  • 292
    This blog made me smile :-) What a great attitude you have! Fun is important!

    This isn't a challenge that I would undertake as the thought of eating donuts (which causes me to experience a huge 'sugar crash' in no time) and running just don't mix to me. Donuts and sleeping off my crash mix well, but of course doesn't make me feel very good. The whole thing reminds me of drinking on a boat in the afternoon hot sun. Two good things that don't mix!

    Love the message behind this blog, though! Thanks! - 6/25/2012   4:48:04 AM
  • 291
    Personally I don't really enjoy doughnuts or running, so this is not for me :-) However I do enjoy cake and zumba, perhaps someone can combine those two! More seriously, I agree with the principle behind Coach Nicole's post but I'm not sure I would find this fun because I think 12 doughnuts would make me feel a bit sick. Each to their own! - 6/21/2012   12:01:07 PM
  • 290
    Love it! Sounds like you ENJOY life. You really are a natural beauty. I especially like the pic of you with the donut in your mouth. :) - 2/24/2012   4:31:52 PM
  • CIRANDELLA
    289
    I don't run, but I do like the idea of mapping out about a dozen or so Krispy Kreme and/or other doughnut establishments and then *driving* from one to the next, ingesting about six doughnuts at each stop. Yes...I think I could very much get into a day spent like that ;) - 2/11/2012   11:57:50 AM
  • MROZYLA
    288
    that was hilarious . I have to admit that's the one thing i am battling right now,is not try to be to anal about my diet and exercise. I know their going to be days,mornings that i might want that donut or chocolate chip pancake.i know that this is for the long haul. - 1/27/2012   1:44:30 PM
  • BARB1877
    287
    Awesome. Love krispy kremes and used to have one once in awhile.
    Great article. Some would not try. Me, wouldn't at this time not because of the donuts but I'm not a runner.... yet. Perhaps a new goal of mine. :) Totally agree with AGILLASPIE60. - 1/15/2012   9:51:31 PM
  • 286
    OMG!!! I love running and I love doughnuts!! I think I will try to run this race next year!!! - 1/15/2012   7:18:29 AM
  • 285
    I don't like Krispy kreme donuts but if it is for a good cause I might have considered it if I lived closer :) - 9/29/2011   8:02:13 PM
  • 284
    Okay, I know why you couldn't eat all 12.

    They weren't HOT DONUTS NOW.

    WHen they're hot and fresh off the line? You can eat them in one BITE. Nummy.

    You know, I have a friend who comes from England and has to get Krispy Kremes every year? She says they don't have anything like them in Cornwall.

    Congrats on your race, and just plain having FUN. - 9/29/2011   3:33:47 PM
  • MEGANDME
    283
    I think I would probably do it, expect i dont think i can run 4 miles yet! lol....still working on 2 - 9/29/2011   11:02:21 AM
  • 282
    I think this does sound like a Blast! (minus the cold part)

    I personally wouldnt be able to do anything like it for a while as I am still learning and changing my lifestyle. If I had been at this longer and had a full handle on things I would definitly allow myself the reward. "Everything in moderation" and "eat less, move more" are what keep me going.

    sparkpeople.com is why I will succeed.

    but more importantly while maintaining a healthy lifestyle you need to maintain a healthy balance- rewarding yourself helps you stay motivated in your healthier habits.....eat a box of donuts...or if you're like me get some steak!

    For most people, eating a box of donuts while dieting would invoke extreme guilt and frustration. If you are living a healthy lifestyle and consuming the correct foods on a regular basis, then there is nothing wrong with treating yourself once in a while. - 6/21/2011   10:37:30 AM
  • TANYAMS1
    281
    It sounds fun! I'm a doughnut lover (yummy!), but I don't think I could run after eating even 6 of them. If i'm ever there i'll try though!
    - 6/20/2011   2:45:48 PM
  • 280
    I love it! I've run many races where things like beer, huge muffins, even BBQ is waiting for the runners at the finish line. These races are meant to have a relaxed, party atmosphere for folks who love to combine fitness and fun. Throw charity into the mix and it's even better! - 6/20/2011   9:58:44 AM
  • 279
    Wow that sounds so cool!! Doubt that I could (or maybe would) eat a dozen donuts in one sitting, but it would still be fun to do. You find the neatest races!! Such an inspiration. Hey - at least you keep your butt moving!! Good job. - 6/19/2011   6:19:12 PM
  • 278
    Hats off to you Nicole for playing "both sides of the fence"--previously and now. You are such a balanced lady with LOTS of variety. I love your spunk and your down-to-earth view of this LIFESTYLE! -- The things you wrote are where I've been heading in my head as I experience birthdays, graduations, weddings, and the many other joyous occasions in life. Is it something to do every day of the week/month? NO! But it IS a part of life and must be worked with in balance to really LIVE.

    Way to go!
    ...(And no, I wouldn't have done the race because I just don't have that "crazy" streak in me. Maybe when I was in my 20's it would have been a hoot!!?) - 6/19/2011   1:40:51 AM
  • 277
    I LOVE donuts. I don't know if I could eat a dozen and still finish a race, but it sure sounds like fun!! - 6/18/2011   2:08:00 PM
  • 276
    Gross. I ate a donut yesterday. One. Three images come to mind:
    - an autopsy on a man in his thirties (murdered) who's coronary arteries were so gunked up, it squeezed out like toothpaste.
    - How the body can't process trans-fats; I envision them as poison and avoid them as such. Some people are lobbying to have them made illegal.
    - I ate six donuts twice in college. It gave me the worst, hot gas. My boyfriend's roommate came home & thought someone had s**t in there (had a BM).

    I'll pass. Did SP get paid by KK to run this story? - 6/18/2011   11:24:38 AM
  • TESS_O_LANDS
    275
    Never saw this event before, was just trolling the boards for company lol. Looks fun, see nothing wrong with it in the context of attitude you present. I would have eaten one or two and after reaching the end probably would have taken the box home and tossed it as sadly KK is just not a healthy donut, but I like donuts. :) - 6/18/2011   7:53:14 AM
  • 274
    Very interesting. I have never heard of anything like this before. - 4/17/2011   9:55:40 AM
  • JMJOHNSON13
    273
    Awesome!!!

    I am not a runner but that would make me run!!! Maybe we will see you in 2012! - 3/26/2011   12:35:20 PM
  • 272
    Sounds like it was a lot of fun! Glad you didn't loose your donuts! :) - 3/6/2011   11:47:22 AM
  • CHUNK40
    271
    Running is the one thing I hate to do and don't do. Who knew you could do it while having donuts - I just may have given running a chance :) - 2/21/2011   11:07:14 AM
  • 270
    Nicole, Thanks for such a fun and honest blog post! And you are so right, it's easy to become a healthy living zealot! - 2/18/2011   10:28:26 AM
  • 269
    An even better event would be to make the runners run far enough to burn off however many calories they ate-- you could really attract the marathoners! It would be educational, but probably injurious! The winner of that race seemed pretty fat-less; he looks like he logs tons of miles per week. - 2/17/2011   2:14:15 PM
  • 268
    Good for you. Everybody needs a day off. It's like having a rainy day to really appreciate the sunny ones. Unfortunately since I have stopped eating doughnuts every weekend I usually find one too sweet. - 2/14/2011   6:33:09 PM
  • K_RENEE
    267
    sounds like you had a lot of fun, and I hope all the other runners had a blast too. this sounds like something I could definitely give a try! - 2/14/2011   6:12:36 PM
  • DONEPAT
    266
    Great Blog! It reminded me not to take health so seriously all the time. It looked like fun! - 2/14/2011   6:36:27 AM
  • 265
    This has to be one the best blogs I have read since being a member of SparkPeople. I love the occasional donut and I love running, so this race is a great addition to my "bucket list." Thanks so much! - 2/13/2011   11:47:51 PM
  • 264
    "Healthier-than-thou attitude" - LOL! Thanks for this fun blog. BTW, I'm not perfect either. - 2/13/2011   10:16:59 PM
  • 263
    "Healthier-than-thou attitude" - LOL! Thanks for this fun blog. BTW, I'm not perfect either. - 2/13/2011   10:16:50 PM
  • 262
    Thank you SOO much for this blog! I've been beating myself up over a Bud light and peanuts at the baseball game yesterday. This balanced view was truly what the Dr. ordered! - 2/13/2011   6:59:14 PM
  • LORILORI9
    261
    Love the doughnut race story! Keep up the running! - 2/13/2011   6:22:08 PM
  • 260
    Great blog! Thanks for sharing. - 2/13/2011   5:37:34 PM
  • 259
    Sounds like a great time! Wonder if they'll ever have one in Ohio??? I'm sure I could talk my daughters into running that race with me! - 2/13/2011   11:20:23 AM
  • 258
    I heard about the race a year ago when my bf mentioned it to me. The kicker for was that I am from the area and the school (NC State) rivals my school (UNC-Chapel Hill) in sport. So, naturally, I quipped about how it just a Wolfpack student thing. I was also disgusted by the eating of doughnuts in a run b/c I didn't think it was healthy thing to do while running (and while not running), even though it was for a cause. (A cause is as far as I knew). I think my reaction was due to the fact that I am not a big fan of doughnuts. I'll eat them sparingly, but I can easily bypass them as I rather have cake and/or muffins over doughnuts. Reading your blog and watching the video actually gave me a better perspective of what they are doing. Plus, I learned that the runners don't have to eat all or any of the doughnuts, which is something I can handle if for some crazy reason I was ever in that race. I was also surprised no one got sick in your race and in the video's race a few did. I guess it depends on the people and how they handle eating them. Though I will never condone eating doughnuts (as I believe there are other things that you can eat with the same texture but more flavor and less calories) and the runners won't burn the doughnuts in a four mile run, if they are not eating doughnuts everyday and some are avid runners, then one day of that indulgence should hurt them. Plus, I'm all for putting North Carolina on the map for a good cause. (I heard about this year's race all the way in TX! Yay!) - 2/13/2011   10:07:45 AM
  • 257
    can't fix stupid!!! - 2/12/2011   10:54:07 PM
  • 256
    I had never heard of this run. and I am so not a runner (except in my dreams, and then I am an excellet runner). but it sounds like so much fun. and not just for the dounts either. So I think it is a good thing. because it can get someone like me to want to give running a shot and it is fun and for a good cause. Thanks for the inspiriation! - 2/12/2011   6:57:00 PM
  • 255
    I think it sounds fun - and it raises money for a good cause.

    As far as getting sick from eating donuts in a race - is it really all that different from that energy goo stuff that some runners ingest? Granted, people don't usually do the goo for a race that short (as far as I know - I only run 5Ks), but still: how different is it?
    - 2/12/2011   4:16:15 PM
  • 254
    Coach Nicole: Thanks for sharing such a fun experience with us. Who would have thought donut and running can be done at the same time?! I love Krispy Kreme, but I've learned to stay away from it. However, I will totally eat a dozen of donuts for a good cause. - 2/12/2011   4:09:51 PM
  • 253
    I love your attitude! I live near Raleigh and have friends who have run the Challenge. Although I never had any interest in joining the fray, I sure didn't begrudge anyone who did. There is a balance, and learning it is what makes one successful. Congratulations on completing the Krispy Kreme Challenge! - 2/12/2011   2:35:31 PM
  • ROBINRC1
    252
    What a wonderful post. I think having balance in everything we do is important. Too many time I've tried to approach my healthy life style with a militant force & of course I fail every time. Life is a gift meant to be celebrated. Thanks for the post. - 2/12/2011   1:58:59 PM
  • SOULOFADANCER
    251
    It sounded so strange when I first read this bit fun regardless.
    LOL - 2/12/2011   9:36:24 AM
  • 250
    I just read about this race in last months Runner's World magazine and it sounds like crazy fun! I'm glad you took the race as what it was meant to be fun and didn't take it too seriously. That is awesome! - 2/12/2011   9:17:32 AM
  • 249
    I think it sounds like SO much fun!! :-) Great job and I'm glad you enjoyed yourself and overcame some objections in your life! - 2/12/2011   9:13:17 AM
  • 248
    Great Blog! Thanks for posting. - 2/12/2011   7:53:09 AM
  • LESSOFME113
    247
    Thank you, for sharing your experience and the fact that there is a multitude of shades of gray…..I say this because so often I myself get very caught up in the ping pong game of life where I feel that being perfect is the only way to stay safe. So I embrace your enthusiasm and sense of zest to take on this zany challenge and allow it to add some fun to your life! Thank you. - 2/12/2011   4:06:11 AM

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