On the crisp, chilly morning of Oct. 1, students, families and spectators gathered in front of the Old Well to kick off the Dozen Doughnut Dash. Each runner was provided a goodie bag which included a t-shirt, a race number and, to put it bluntly, a barf bag. The challenge was to run 2.5 miles, eat one dozen doughnuts and then run another 1.5 miles to the finish line.
The first Dozen Doughnut Dash in Chapel Hill history began promptly at 9 a.m. with a few words of encouragement from former UNC-Chapel Hill basketball star Eric Montross. As the race started, a colorful blur of runners decked out head-to-toe in pink and Carolina blue sprinted down Cameron Avenue.
“The most challenging part of the race was actually starting the doughnuts,” says Carly Williamson, a sophomore from Davidson. “Your body is all hot and breathing heavy and it’s hard to calm it down.” Williamson, one of the few females to finish all 12 doughnuts, finished the race fourth for her category.
The successful event started off on a rocky road. Ty Fenton, one of the organizers, worked to bring the successful Raleigh fundraiser, the Krispy Kreme Challenge, to Chapel Hill. Fenton contacted the organizers of the Krispy Kreme Challenge but was not exactly met with open arms.
“The team threatened to sue us if we tried to use their name,” Fenton says.
He decided this small obstacle was not going to stand in his way. So he created a similar race with the goal of raising $10,000 for cancer research through the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“I feel like in some ways the quote: ‘It doesn’t matter where you get an idea, but where you take it’ applies in this case,” Fenton says.
At the end of it all, the Dozen Doughnut Dash brought in $11,700. The organizers happily surpassed their goal and UNC-CH students can now look forward to a new yearly tradition to help raise money for cancer research.