A 58-year-old Raleigh, North Carolina man died on Saturday during the first mile of the Krispy Kreme Challenge. This is the 12th year for the foot race in which contestants run five miles while eating 12 doughnuts in an hour. The race is run for charity and is sponsored by Park Scholars at North Carolina State University. Proceeds go to support the North Carolina Children’s Hospital.
In summary, during the Krispy Kreme Challenge, runners run 2.5 miles in one direction and then eat one dozen original glazed doughnuts. After they eat the doughnuts they then proceed to run 2.5 miles back in the direction from which they came.
The official race route begins at the Memorial Belltower on NC State’s campus. Runners then proceed through downtown Raleigh to the Krispy Kreme located at Peace and Person Streets where their dozen doughnuts are waiting for consumption and then they head back to the BellTower.
Eight thousand spots are available for runner registration, and registration fees run anywhere from $35 to $50 depending on when the runner registers.
According to NBC 4i, not all runners are required to eat doughnuts. Only the class of runners enrolled in the Krispy Kreme Challenge classified as “Challengers” do so. Casual runners do not. Only Challengers can be considered for race awards.
The race website states that the race allows runners “to compete in a unique challenge of both athletic and gastrointestinal skill.”
Fox 8 Cleveland reports that the man, now identified as Jeff “Fa Fa” Woods, was able to make it through the first mile of the race before he became ill. He never made it to the Krispy Kreme store. He stepped out of the race after he started having, and reported, chest pains. EMS workers transported him to Rex Hospital. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
This is the first such death reported to have taken place during a Krispy Kreme Challenge.
Brad Bohlander, spokesman for North Carolina State, made an official statement on behalf of the school.
“On behalf of the entire NC State community, our deepest sympathies go out to the runner’s family members and loved ones.”
According to the organizer’s website, Krispy Kreme Challenge, the race started out as a challenge among 10 friends in 2004 and has since grown into a nationally publicized charity. It has multiple sponsors. Its mantra is “2400 calories, 12 doughnuts, 5 miles, 1 hour.” It also is a goal tradition for students to complete before graduating.
In 2015, the 10th Annual Krispy Kreme Challenge generated $195,000, which was donated to the North Carolina Children’s Hospital. Donations from the first official race up until that point totaled $954,000.
ABC 11 writes that many of their viewers have reached out to their Facebook page to share condolences and memories of the man who died. One viewer wrote that he “was an awesome guy and retired military. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t share a laugh with him. Definitely going to be missed. It was an honor to know you.”
Yet another viewer described him as “a very sweet and kind man … and we’ll miss him very much.”
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts were first sold in 1937 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. At that time, owner Vernon Rudolph purchased a secret yeast doughnut recipe from a New Orleans French chef. After initially being sold at the original Krispy Kreme store, they were later made available for sale in local grocery stores. The Original Glazed Doughnut remains the company’s best seller, and the recipe has remained the same over the years. Many churches, schools, clubs, and other organizations use the doughnuts as the primary product in their fundraising efforts.