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Davidson College Cake Race 2019

by | Aug 26, 2019 | News, Sports

Several of the top finishes show off their cakes. Cole Mitchell (second from left) and Rachel Shapiro (second from right) were the overall male and female winners in 2018.


Last year we covered the decades old annual tradition at the college that pairs running and cakes.

Earlier this year, on April 1, the college announced the end of the Cake Race. The April Fool’s Day announcement was updated at the end of the day with the following banner.

April Fools! We’ll see you at our 89th annual Cake Race on Aug. 28! [5 p.m. at Baker Sports Complex]

Here’s the Davidson College April Fools Day article that penned the details of the demise of the tasty tradition.


Students standing at the starting line getting the race information prior to the annual Cake Race in 2018.


For nearly a century, Davidson College students have raced for cake. That ends this year, the college announced Monday.

After years of high-level discussions among layers of college administrators, expert nutritionists and confectioners, Davidson has decided to scrap the annual Cake Race. Davidson officials refused to identify who shut down the dessert dash, referring only to healthy lifestyle initiatives and a clandestine committee.

Athletic Director Chris Clunie ’06 crosses the finish line of his second cake race. Clunie finished 55th overall.

Director of Athletics Chris Clunie, who admitted running in last year’s competition, denied responsibility for slicing the cake race but clearly did not object.

“Cakes can cause cavities, and I can’t stand to see another one of those ridiculous upside-down pineapple cakes,” Clunie said. “Whoever gets stuck with that cake always looks like they just learned that Vail Commons ran out of chicken parm.”

Student leaders immediately voiced opposition, panning the decision as “half-baked” and questioning the motivation in light of recent corporate partnerships, such as a proposal to rename the school’s basketball venue “SplendArena.”

Davidson men’s tennis coach Drew Barrett, whose inspired cake creations routinely get picked first, resigned in protest.

“Getting to the A10 semifinals is great and all,” Barrett snapped, “but there’s no victory as satisfying as a Minion masterpiece that comes out of an afternoon up to your elbows in eggs, butter and flour. Game, set, match.”

The Wildcat Women’s Basketball first year student-athletes fared well at the 2018 Cake Race.

The Cake Race, established in 1930 by Davidson coach Pete Whittle, helped him identify hidden track and field talent in the freshman class. Knowing that a mandatory 1.7-mile race around town in the hot Carolina sunshine would be a tall order, even for Davidson students, Coach Whittle came up with a compelling incentive: winners would receive a homemade cake of their own choosing.

The race has since become a Davidson trademark and a voluntary part of the first-year experience, with members of the Davidson community faithfully donating the cakes every year and cheering on the racers.

Too bad, so sad, Clunie said.

The annual run will continue – except the only prize at the end will be ice-cold water.

Yancey Fouché, Davidson’s director of sustainability, suggested that fresh fruit and vegetables could be added later, provided that peels, rinds, seeds, stems and cores are collected and fed to the biology department’s two hogs kept in a pen in Hobart Park and whose waste is used both to fertilize the campus greenhouse and provide methane gas to help fuel the facilities department’s leaf blowers.

Studies have shown foods high in sugar, like cake, can lead to risk of chronic disease, cavities, icing-discolored tongue and more. Davidson health center officials said that ending the Cake Race will have the added benefit of helping reduce those effects.

“You can’t have your cake and eat it too,” Monday’s announcement declared. “The Cake Race is dead.”

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