I think it has to be one of the worst things a marketing professional has to face; dealing with the death of a participant in a fund raiser named in your honor. It has to be even worse when your product, while known for being delicious, is not generally recognized for its healthful and rejuvenating qualities. And it doesn't help when the event is called the “Krispy Kreme Challenge”.

A 58-year-old runner who was participating in the North Carolina charity race this past weekend apparently experienced chest pains and died during the competition. The Krispy Kreme Challenge is a running competition where participants consume a dozen doughnuts while running 5 miles. The event is actually run by students at North Carolina State University and it raises funds for North Carolina Children’s Hospital.

Only those who register as “Challengers” actually consume the doughnuts. Those “who choose to complete the doughnut portion of the event run 2.5 miles before stopping at a specified Krispy Kreme location, where they must eat the dozen, glazed sweets before completing the final miles.”

Okay, I have a question. Why would you engage in the run if you were not going to eat the doughnuts? As far as I am concerned, the existence of doughnuts is one of the few reasons I would ever consider running in the first place. Of course, I am also the guy who once asked a Kick Boxing Instructor if there would be ice cream served after class, so what do I know?

The saddest part of this story is that the guy who died did so only one mile into the race. That means the poor bastard never made it to the doughnuts. Although, if I were Krispy Kreme, I would probably take that as a blessing. The optics would have been less than ideal.

The other notable item about this story is that organizers of the event announced the man's death via Twitter. They tweeted out “Unfortunately we have some sad news to share. We regretfully confirm that a participant of today's Krispy Kreme Challenge has died.”

Has it really come to this? Have our lives become so vacuous and attention spans so short that we can now only be memorialized in 140 character increments? To be completely fair to event organizers, they did issue a full three tweet salute, fully explaining the situation with 388 characters (including spaces)

Still, considering the guy didn't even get any doughnuts, it would be nice to get a little write up somewhere. And you'll notice that 6 people actually favorited the tweet. I suppose they thought it meant more doughnuts for everyone else.

The motto for this race is “2400 calories, 12 doughnuts, 5 miles, 1 hour.” Their twitter feed declares that through 12 years this event has consumed 724,548 doughnuts equaling 137.6 million calories. It will be interesting to see if they make any changes for next year.

Perhaps they will make it a 5 mile drive. That sounds a lot more compatible, and participants would have better odds of actually reaching the doughnuts.

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