Run. Eat a Doughnut. Run.

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This weekend in Raleigh, N.C., some 8,000 runners are expected to line up for a road race, run through town and — eat doughnuts.

“Disgusting” and “gross” is how Sarah Gilbert, 43, a book publicist from Raleigh describes how she felt after completing the Krispy Kreme Challenge in 2012, in which she downed four doughnuts during the five-mile race.

The Krispy Kreme Challenge is on a growing list of running events around the United States and beyond where runners don’t so much focus on time — or even health — but instead on getting to the finish line while completing a food-related feat of bravura.

The Krispy Kreme Challenge started in 2004, as a dare among 10 college students: Run from the Memorial Bell Tower at North Carolina State University in Raleigh to the Krispy Kreme across town, eat a dozen doughnuts, then run back to campus.

“It blew up from there,” said the race director, Maggie DeWeese, a junior at the university. The event is now a fund-raiser for UNC Children’s Hospital, run through a charity that pays for the doughnuts, since it has no official affiliation with Krispy Kreme.

Ms. DeWeese said typical event participants are college students. “It’s just something you do before you graduate,” she said. Last year, 40 percent of runners opted to take on the full, 12-doughnut challenge, in which runners attempt to run two-and-a-half miles, eat 12 doughnuts, then run back in under an hour. Another division, The Casual, allows runners to eat however many doughnuts they choose, with no time goal. And new for this year, the No Doughnut, for runners who want to leave the food out of it — though given the propensity of race participants to toss their cookies (or in this case doughnuts) during the race, they still will need to watch where they step.

February seems to mark the beginning of the food racing season around the country. In a few weeks, Indianapolis runners will compete in the Circle City Donut Dash, where participants must consume a dozen doughnuts at the halfway point. To improve race completion rates, the race organizers this year decided to offer “smaller doughnuts.” Racers now must eat a dozen doughnut holes at the halfway point rather than larger doughnuts. “We want more people crossing the finish line completing the challenge,” says the race website.

Next month, runners in Sacramento compete in the Donut Dash, billed as four doughnuts over four miles. A “lite” division allows competitors to eat just six doughnut holes during the run. The Duluth Donut Dash in Minnesota this fall is a bit tamer — the race offers every runner a doughnut and coffee.

There’s more on the race menu than fried dough. At the Bacon 5K Challenge in Allentown, Pa., in September, competitors ate a half-pound of bacon at the halfway point and celebrated the finish with chocolate-covered bacon. . Registration has already opened for the July 8 Brain Freezer 5K in Burlington, Vt., during which racers down a full pint of ice cream at the halfway point (3.1 miles, one pint of ice cream). The COBS Cinnamon Bun Run 8-Miler in the Canadian province Alberta requires participants to stop twice and down a cinnamon bun. Participants in the more-healthful sounding Millarville Run to the Farmers’ Market, held at the same time, also have the option to eat cinnamon buns if they wish. The race expects to give away 1,800 buns this year.

Those living in or visiting New York City this fall have their choice of the New York City Pizza Run (two miles, three slices of pizza) or the New York City Cupcake Run (5K, three cupcakes).

Runners with more discerning palates can enjoy six wine tastings per lap at the Surrey Bacchus Marathon in England this fall, and, leave it to the French, wine, cheese, oysters, steak, ham and ice cream at the Marathon du Medoc, north of Bordeaux.

In September, Bob Tona put on the first Mac & Cheesesteak 5K in Wilmington, Del., in which runners down a mac and cheese steak — a cheese steak stuffed with mac and cheese — at the end of the race.

Mr. Tona came up with the idea after running the Jog ‘n Hog in Yardley, Pa., in which runners had their choice of eating a pint or quart of ice cream in the middle of a 5K (the race is no longer active), and a number of beer miles, in which runners drink a beer at the start and again at every quarter mile split. (“For whatever reason, when there’s beer at a race, there seems to be more runners,” he said.)

The Mac & Cheesesteak 5K had 89 finishers, about what Mr. Tona expected for a small, first-year race.

For four years, the nonprofit Blue Mountain Wildlife in Hamburg, Pa., has put on the Dine & Dash Burgers & Trail Race, in which runners eat a burger, run a mile, eat another burger, then run another mile. The timed race takes place on the same day as the town’s Taste of Hamburg-er Festival, a local fund-raiser in September.

Gregg Adams, the event’s race director, said participants take the race seriously. “We have some people out there who really give it their all and run very fast two-mile times, considering the burgers,” he said.