College Corner: a chat with Jim Kreft, winner of this year’s “Four by Donut”

Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.

There are regular people, and then there are Legends. Jim Kreft ’06, four time winner of the annual “Four x Donut,” fits into the latter category. The event, now in its fifteenth year, involves eating a donut before each lap of a mile-long foot-race. While most mortals may find this prospect nauseating, Kreft, co-captain of the cross-country team this season, revels in the highly caloric competition. Recently, he completed the ordeal in a little over eight minutes (8:12.5). We at the Gazette spoke to him recently to pay homage as well as garner a few tips before next year’s event.

Daily Gazette: What are the skills or techniques necessary to winning a competition of this scale and difficulty?
Jim Kreft: The critical thing that you need to do to win the 4 x Donut is to eat and run, instead of the more common technique of eating all or most of the donut before starting each lap. I get the entire donut into my mouth as fast as possible and get moving. I am generally almost done chewing at the end of the lap.

DG: Were you surprised at the high turnout for this year’s event? Was the competition intense?
JK: I wasn’t that surprised–I mean, who WOULDN’T want to eat four donuts and run four laps? But the competition was the most substantial that I had ever had before–Jon Estey ’08 almost got me at the end.

DG: Have you ever considered vomiting?
JK: Nope

DG: Favorite donut?
JK: For the race, Boston Crème, by far the easiest to eat. For regular consumption, which I generally can’t bring myself to do until about May, double chocolate.

DG: Do you think events like “Four x Donut” help build team spirit, and thus serve as a factor for the harriers’ success this year?
JK: Cross country is steeped in traditions, possibly more than any other sport. Certainly, these bring us together. Collectively, the seniors on the Men’s Cross Country team have consumed 28,000 calories over the past four years by participating in the Four x Donut.

DG: Advice to those runners who will come after you? Any quirks of the event they should know about?
JK: This is an event that can (and should) be completed by anyone and everyone. Fasting, hydration, and not having a problem with making a mess of yourself are the key elements to a successful run.

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