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Doughnuts to Dollars: New Fundraiser Supports Children’s Hospital

The Krispy Kreme Challenge is NC State’s newest tradition and Park Scholars have a hand in making it happen.

2,400 calories. 12 doughnuts. 4 miles. 1 hour.

On Saturday, Jan. 27, these numbers transcend mere statistics and become the stuff of legend. And possibly, stomach cramps.

That’s because Saturday marks the third annual Krispy Kreme Challenge, a day when NC State students, alumni and local runners will race 2 miles from the bell tower to Peace Street’s Krispy Kreme, consume a dozen glazed doughnuts, and attempt to race back. As its web site says, it is not for the faint of heart.

So who is it for? Apparently a lot of people.

Registration for the event has given the phrase ”Hot Now” a whole new meaning. What began as a challenge among a dozen friends has grown from last year’s 150 entrants to more than 700 people and counting. This year’s organizers set a goal of 500 entries; A week before race day, they watched as they surpassed their goal. Two days later, they topped 700. (Registration, while still open, will be capped at 1000 entrants).

Much of the interest in the Challenge has been buoyed by high-profile press and a lot of word of mouth. After the first year, the concept was intriguing enough for Sports Illustrated’s On Campus site to feature it as #85 on it’s list of 102 Things You Gotta Do Before You Graduate. This year, student organizers have posted a promotional trailer to popular video site, YouTube.com (watch the video), and created a group on Facebook.com.

According to one of this year’s organizers, Saket Vora (2007), local running groups have helped broaden participation to non-students. ”We are actively trying to engage everyone to be part of it, regardless of affiliation, ” he says. There’s even a possibility that the run might expand to other schools and communities.

Such growth is impressive for what began as little more than a rumor two years ago. While Park Scholar Chris McCoy (2007) is credited with the idea, the race wasn’t a reality until classmates Peyton Hassinger (2007) and Greg Mulholland (2007) gathered some friends at the belltower and made the race official (Chris overslept on the first race day). Ben Gaddy (2007) was the first official winner, completing the race in 34 minutes and 27 seconds. From there, the race gained additional support, with another Park Scholar project, Dance Marathon, assisting with some support and volunteers in the next year.

”I think its important to note that the organizers of this event didn’t have to be Parks,” says Saket. ”We did it as friends that all happened to be Parks.”

This year’s event is headed by Peyton, Greg and Saket, with help from Donny Katz (2007) and Julie Cavanaugh (2008). Many committee members come from the Park class of 2010 (Jessica Ritter, Lianne Gonsalves, Greg Wilson, Joseph Briggs, Mangala Iyengar, Todd Smalling, Kendall Fitzgerald and Barton Strawn), meaning the event can carry on after this year’s seniors have graduated.

Like Dance Marathon, the Challenge works as a fundraiser for the NC Children’s Hospital. ”There is zero overhead taken from the proceeds,” says Saket. With registration fees at the $15 and $10 levels, this year’s event is already promising to raise more than $10,000 for the cause.

More information about the Challenge and can be found at www.krispykremechallenge.com.

Additional Media Coverage:
Doughnut Drives Unique Competition (Technician, 2006)
A Daunting Dozen (Technician, 2006)
Krispy Kreme Challenge Begins Registration (Technician, 2006)

~posted 2007.01.20