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It’s not a cake walk, it’s the Davidson College Cake Race

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/27/20/10/15aOd.Em.138.jpeg|316
    TODD SUMLIN - tsumlin@charlotteobserver.com
    Students leave the starting line for the 75th running of the Freshman Cake Race at Davidson College on Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014. Hundreds of students participated in the event in hopes of getting one of the more than 100 prize cakes.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/27/20/10/1mEmXD.Em.138.jpeg|310
    TODD SUMLIN - tsumlin@charlotteobserver.com
    Brenda Daugherty sorts through more than 100 cakes for the 75th running of the Freshman Cake Race at Davidson College on Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014. Hundreds of students participated in hopes of getting one of the prize cakes.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/27/20/10/LfmAA.Em.138.jpeg|500
    TODD SUMLIN - tsumlin@charlotteobserver.com
    Brenda Daugherty sorts through more than 100 cakes for the 75th running of the Freshman Cake Race at Davidson College on Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2014. Hundreds of students participated in hopes of getting one of the prize cakes.

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In honor of the 75th running of the Davidson College Cake Race, a yearly event to welcome freshman, are there any surprises left?

Please: It’s a piece of cake, people.

• The 1.7-mile race for cakes is held on Baker Drive. (Total coincidence, though: Baker Sports Complex was named for Thompson S. Baker, class of ’26, who played for the Wildcats.)

• Some students bring forks to the race. After all, there are usually 200 or so cakes, and half of the 500 members of the freshmen class sign up to run. They’re smart kids: They can do the math.

• Brenda Daugherty, the administrative assistant for the physical education department, has the job of rounding up the cakes. The ones that go first: Cakes decorated with M&Ms, and chocolate. Gluten-free cakes are popular, too.

• Getting 200-some cakes is a community effort. People have cake-decorating parties (one house in the McConnell neighborhood sent 28 cakes) and bakeries as far as Mooresville donate them (way to go, La Patisserie).

• The cake race started in 1934 so track coach Heath Whittle could spot good runners. When Whittle retired in 1971, the college tried to end it, skipping the race in 1972. Students protested, and the administration was forced to make a momentous decision:

Let them eat cake.

Purvis: 704-358-5236
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