Eat and run: 5K race includes doughnuts, raises money for Habitat



A five-kilometer race and 2,400 calories. That’s what UK Habitat for Humanity is asking runners from UK and the Lexington community to tackle on Saturday.

UK Habitat leaders organized the “UK Habitat for Humanity Krispy Kreme Challenge,” a 5K run, to raise money for Habitat for Humanity projects in Fayette County, but this traditional fundraiser comes with a twist.

UK Habitat, inspired by a North Carolina State University event, combined two dieting opposites: running and doughnuts. Participants will race through a 3.1-mile course around Commonwealth Stadium, and stacks of Krispy Kreme doughnut boxes will mark the halfway point. Those hoping to win a year’s supply of doughnuts and bragging

rights must complete the race and scarf the dozen doughnuts at the halfway mark in less than one hour.

“I’m excited to see what the best time will be for completing the challenge,” UK Habitat President Eric Ellis said. “Runners at N.C. State complete the race in under 29 minutes, and their course is four miles, rather than 3.1 miles.”

Ellis hopes to raise about $7,000 from the challenge. The group donated $5,500 in the 2009 Fall semester and $15,000 in the 2010 Spring semester to Lexington Habitat for Humanity. Ellis said the goal for the 2010 fall semester is to donate between $5,000 and $10,000.

“I think having such a unique fundraiser will not only raise awareness about Habitat for Humanity, but will also show people that our organization does more than build houses,” said UK Habitat Vice President Nicole Mather. “A lot of what we do involves fundraising and that is what allows us to build.”

Mather said the event has grown into a tradition at N.C. State and she hopes the event will garner the same recognition at UK. N.C. State reached 5,500 runners in its recent competition. By Thursday at noon, 167 people had registered for the UK event.

“This fundraiser is larger-scale than ones we have had in the past,” Mather said. “It involves a lot more people and has the potential to be an extremely well-known, annual event that the students and local community get excited about.”

Ellis and Mather do expect a bit of a mess to come from gobbling a dozen doughnuts mid-run.

“There will be side effects,” Mather said. “We’re hoping all the side effects make it into the trashcans that we will have set up along the course.”

For those not wanting to risk any physical reaction to the mix of running and glazed bread, the event offers three levels of participation: a challenger division, which tasks challengers with running and eating; a casual division, which requires no eating of the runner; and a motivator division, which allows people to donate without running or eating. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. at Gate 2 of Commonwealth Stadium.

Ellis and UK Habitat leaders hope the fun and excitement of the unique fundraiser will raise awareness for substandard housing in Lexington and get people interested in Habitat for Humanity.

“We’re hoping to reach out to students looking to volunteer and grow our organization,” Ellis said. “Hosting creative events like this lets people know that we can have fun while working toward our mission of eliminating poverty housing here in Lexington.”