I first did the Krispy Kreme Challenge in 2015. Shortly after finishing that race I said I would never run it again. This year I went back for my 3rd go at it.
The race is pretty awesome and horrible at the same time, as you would expect when running 5 miles and eating a dozen donuts. The city of Raleigh is probably what keeps us coming back. Some great breweries and restaurants and of course a bar/arcade. If the area was shit, I certainly wouldn't make the trip down to NC time and time again...especially when the travel there seems to be cursed.
The first year, as documented in that first link I posted above, was a shit show. Last year our flight down got canceled. And....this year it started the same way, with a delay that seemed to grow every time I looked at my phone! After about 5 hours in the Logan Airport, we were finally en route to NC.
We arrived a bit later than originally scheduled...which meant a modified eating and drinking plan. I believe in the long run this worked to my advantage. I definitely felt less full and less hungover the morning of the race this year. I was ready to roll on race morning. I felt that I was in as good of running shape as last year...it was just a matter of downing the donuts as fast as I could. In general, I am a pretty solid eater. I eat a massive amount of food, but in this race, it is a different story. If I could eat within a minute of the race winner, I would BE THE WINNER! Instead, I have yet to accomplish my ultimate goal of top 10.
The first year, I finished 19th in a time of 37:17. I looked at 2015 as the getting my feet wet year. It was overwhelming to say the least, sitting on the ground with all those donuts in front of me.
In 2016, I knew what to expect. I had a better understanding of the race and the confidence that goes with that. I ran faster, finishing in 35:13 for 13th place. I could taste the sugary sweetness that is 10th place. I just needed to either be in better running shape, or figure out how to eat faster.
Going into the 2017 event, I was not in better running shape and I certainly did nothing to attempt to figure out how to eat faster. I just figured, try harder to eat faster. Seemed reasonable.
So, the race started. As usual, the massive amount of college students went out like it was a 50 meter dash. I started on the 2nd row and found myself with at least 100 people in front of me a 1/4 mile into the race. I was through the mile in 5:25 and there had to still be 30+ runners ahead of me easily. I was happy with the pace and used the down hill after the mile to bring my pace down a bit. After that I passed a dozen or so more runners in the last mile of the first half of the race and entered the hall of donuts. I grabbed my box from a volunteer and kept running hard to an area next to the furthest table to get on the ground and eat away. I hit a split when I stopped running, I grabbed multiple cups of water and I ripped donuts apart shoving some in my mouth and putting some in the water to soak to make easier to eat. It was a chilly 27 degrees at the start, so the mix of water and donuts made for some cold hands. I felt like I was eating well and looked at my watch as last year's winner, whom I beat in the run again, took off, finishing his donuts in around 3 minutes. I don't know how he does it. It boggles my mind. I need to learn his ways. But, back to the task at hand. I was sitting around the people that I was running with and we all seemed to be in a similar amount of donut pain. Some people left and we ate on. Finally, 8 minutes after starting, I shoved the remaining buggy bits of donut into my mouth and ran towards the exit of the transition area. I through down my empty box and started tracking down the casual runner and the faster eater whom I could easily out run. I hit the first mile on the way back in 5:27. I believe that is my fastest post donut mile. I felt great. But shortly after that the uphill would begin. Most of the way back was uphill, with distinct hill, called St Mary's Hill on Strava. My pace slowed a bit, but I was still passing people. You make the last turn of the race onto Hillsborough St with just under a mile to go. It is a straight road and you can see runners ahead. You can't tell if they are in the challenger or casual division until you get close, so you just hunt them all down as if they were the same. I was able to pass 6 on that finally stretch, I believe 3 were in my division. I ran out of real estate to get one more. I crossed the line in a new PR of 34:45. Breaking the 35 minute barrier. The winner finished in just over 30 mins. He beat me by the difference in eating. Between him and the 2nd place finisher, they have taken the first 2 spots in the last 5 races.
After the race I went and checked out the results to find out I finished in 18th place. That was a bit disappointing. But, I was happy to run faster...I guess I will have to wait until next year to try to sneak into that coveted top 10!