For the seventh year, relay teams lined up to eat in downtown Durham.
After one member from each of the 42 teams downed a bratwurst and sauerkraut sandwich, they took off running to try to win the Doughman, Durham’s race for athletes who are also interested in trying a hand at competitive eating.
Runners soaked bread in cups of water so it would go down faster while others crammed as much food as they could in their mouths before taking off on a 1-mile run or bike ride.
The local race is a stark contrast to nationally sponsored races that have become popular in the Triangle in recent years.
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“To us, this is sort of our love letter to Durham,” co-founder Emily Egge said.
More than 150 racers formed teams of four to run, bike and complete a water activity. Durham restaurants also created special dishes – such as the burrizza, made by Bull City Burger and Pompieri – and each team member had to scarf one down.
The pizza-burger hybrid sandwich was followed by a short run around downtown Durham.
“It’s an absurd event,” Egge said. “It’s silly, it’s stupid, it’s ridiculous and people love it.”
The winning team, the Bull City Running Club, said downing the equivalent of two full meals before running didn’t require any special training.
“That’s what we do as runners,” said Brendan Howell, who had to eat the burrizza for his team. “We go out and run and eat a lot.”
Other dishes, including a vegan noodle dish from Motorco and a specially created Blue Devil French toast dessert from NOSH, were also consumed during the race.
A local affair
The Doughman was born while Egge and three friends were discussing athletic events over beers. Raleigh’s Krispy Kreme Challenge was mentioned and soon, the Doughman was created.
Although most of the event’s founders have moved away from the area, the event still has its original race director, Heather Splawn on board.
The race makes a point to do more than just show off special local food, Egge said. It also raises money for the Durham nonprofit SEEDS, which supports a community garden and food education.
“We really have a lot of pride in our city and we wanted to keep it as local as possible,” said organizer Kyle Fox. “This is really a Durham community builder.”
This year, the Doughman’s donation could surpass the $20,000 goal, said Egge who also serves asexecutive director of SEEDS, a job she became drawn to through the Doughman.
“Through the race, I got to know the organization on a deeper level,” she said.
When Saturday’s race started, 42 teams had already raised about $18,000. That number didn’t factor in sponsors’ donations, registration fees or the online fundraiser that will end in a few days, Egge said.