A runner died after starting the Krispy Kreme Challenge in Raleigh — a North Carolina State University tradition in which thousands come out for a 5-mile race and doughnut feast to help raise money for a local children’s hospital, race organizers said.
Shortly after the race began Saturday morning, the 58-year-old man, who has not been named, began having chest pains and left the track, organizers said in a statement. He was transported to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“Unfortunately we have some sad news to share,” the statement said. “We regretfully confirm that a participant of today’s Krispy Kreme Challenge has died.”
The statement added: “We are deeply saddened and wish to convey our heartfelt condolences to his loved ones.”
The Krispy Kreme Challenge is defined as “2400 calories, 12 doughnuts, 5 miles, 1 hour,” according to the group’s 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.
The competition, which began a dozen years ago, is organized by scholars at North Carolina State University to raise money for the University of North Carolina Children’s Hospital, according to the News & Observer. The race begins at the N.C. State Bell Tower and ends at the Krispy Kreme in downtown Raleigh, where runners eat a dozen doughnuts each before heading back to campus, according to the newspaper.
Over the years, the competition has drawn more than 65,000 runners, who have consumed more than 700,000 doughnuts and raised nearly $1 million for the children’s hospital, according to the university.
The runner who died Saturday never made it to the Krispy Kreme.
“On behalf of the entire NC State community, our deepest sympathies go out to the runner’s family members and loved ones,” the school said in a statement.
Darryl Carr, senior director of corporate communications for Krispy Kreme, said the company does not play an official role in the Krispy Kreme Challenge.
“It’s very unfortunate what took place and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family,” Carr told The Washington Post in a statement. “This was not a Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation event, however, and the event organizers have no affiliation with the company.
“Krispy Kreme does not promote, sponsor or donate products to the event or organization.”
This story has been updated.