If you’ve ever run in a competitive race, you know that going in with a strategy maximizes your prospects for success. While Raleigh’s Krispy Kreme Challenge isn’t your typical foot race, the principle still applies; it takes discipline to run five miles from the Belltower to the donut shop on Peace Street and back again, scarfing down a dozen donuts mid-way. We asked Amy McDowell, 31, a four-time Krispy Kreme Challenge veteran, to share her tips, tricks and traps to avoid come race day.
Tell us about racing in the Krispy Kreme Challenge in the past.
I did it in 2014 as a casual runner, which means I ran but didn’t eat the donuts. I was a competitive runner in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Every year, my run has gotten faster and my eating has gotten slower! My fastest time with eating the donuts was 56:19, in 2015.
What should racers do to practice for the Challenge?
I’ve never practiced eating donuts prior to the race. I usually can’t eat Krispy Kreme donuts for at least six months afterwards.
What are the best and worst things you did on race day?
The worst mistake might be agreeing to do this again and again each year! Another is trying to eat the donuts one by one—it’s just not possible. You’ve got to get all the air out of them and make it doable; you’re not eating 12 donuts, you’re eating three (or four or two) sandwiches. Use that water! They give it to you for a reason! While it’s going to make the donuts taste worse, it’ll help get it all down.
What’s your advice for completing the race, step by step?
Sprint down as fast as you can. You’ll need those precious seconds when you’re attempting to put down 12 donuts and later, when you’re slogging back up Hillsborough Street. Once you reach the donuts, grab a box and some water and sit down. Try not to look at what’s happening around you; the image of someone struggling through their last donut is not exactly inspiring.
I use the sandwich method and smash together three four-donut sandwiches and then get to eating. The first sandwich is fine. The second one usually requires some dipping into the plastic cups of water. The third donut sandwich is utter misery. It’s cold, your jaw is refusing to chew, there’s sugar particles on your hands, your clothes, in your hair. POWER THROUGH. I remind myself how stupid I’ll feel if I eat only eight donuts and don’t get the bragging rights later.
From there, hustle back! Walk if your stomach is gurgling but you’ll need every last second to get back, so set limits for those walk breaks. Be careful to avoid piles of vomit littering your run to the finish!
Any other tips for this year’s racers?
If it’s a cold day, buy those cheap beige gloves that they sell at the start. It won’t do you any good to have numb hands when you have to smash donuts together and you also won’t want to get your nice gloves covered in glaze. Also – have fun! Wear a costume, dress up as a donut, high five a stranger. This is one of the best events in Raleigh, so don’t worry too much about your time and just enjoy the experience!
Eating ONE Dozen Krispy Kreme Donuts EQUALS
4 McDonald‘s Big Macs
10 Snickers Candy Bars
5 ½ Starbucks Grande Unicorn Frappuccino