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Runner Dies During Krispy Kreme Race in North Carolina

A runner in a North Carolina race where participants consume as many as 12 doughnuts in an hour died Saturday after experiencing chest pains, race organizers said in a statement.

The 58-year-old man, who was not identified, stepped out of the "Krispy Kreme Challenge" within the first mile, the statement said, adding that he was transported to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The race's "mantra" is "2400 calories, 12 doughnuts, 5 miles, 1 hour," according to its website, and organizers say it "epitomizes the test of physical fitness and gastrointestinal fortitude."

"What started as a challenge among ten friends has transformed into a nationally publicized charity race," the site says, "and the number one tradition to complete before graduating from North Carolina State University."

By 2015, the site says, the race was bosting 8,000 participants and it had raised a cumulative total of nearly $1 million in donations for North Carolina Children's Hospital.

The race's rules state that "casual runners" are not expected to eat the dozen doughnuts while running; "challengers" are required to finish them off and complete the race within an hour.

It was unclear Sunday if the participant who died was a challenger. Race organizers did not immediately respond to an interview request.

In a statement, a spokesman for Krispy Kreme, which is based in North Carolina, told NBC News that "the event organizers have have no affiliation with the company. Krispy Kreme does not promote, sponsor or donate products to the event or organization."