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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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2017 Layne’s Challenge raises over $2,000 for Brazos Valley Food Bank

Half+Box+winner
Photo by Spencer Russo

Half Box winner

More than 100 participants conquered the coldest, wettest Layne’s Chicken Challenge yet Saturday, raising about $2,000 for the Brazos Valley Food Bank.

Just after 10 a.m. Michael Bass, Layne’s Challenge president, called out “Ready, set, Layne’s” as a herd of Layne’s Challenge participants set out on their seven-mile trek through part of College Station.

The route consists of running from the Sul Ross Statue to the Layne’s restaurant on Texas Avenue, then biking to the Layne’s on Wellborn Road and finishing with another run to the Haynes Ring Plaza. The challenge is known among competitors as the perfect college triathlon, because at each stop, Layne’s participants get to eat Layne’s chicken, fries and toast.

According to Bass, the idea for the Layne’s Challenge came to him and his friends while eating Layne’s eight years ago as part of their weekend ritual. Inspired by the Krispy Kreme Challenge to test their physical fitness and gastrointestinal fortitude, the group of friends set out to see if the Layne’s Challenge was possible. Since then the race has grown into an annual charity event led by Texas A&M students.

“As it started to grow, we really wanted it to be something that went to a good cause,” Bass said. “Being that the whole thing is about eating a large amount of food, donating to someone helping the hungry seemed like a natural fit. Additionally, 90 percent of what the Brazos Valley Food Bank takes in actually goes toward feeding those in need.”

Challenger participants received two boxes or half boxes of Layne’s during the event depending on the division they registered for, a T-shirt donated by M&M apparel that gets them a free drink anytime they wear it into Layne’s for a year, and a voucher for a free Layne’s chicken sandwich upon completion of the race. Layne’s donates all food and food vouchers, so the Layne’s Challenge student organization can raise more money for the food bank.

Participants’ reasons for attempting the challenge vary, but for Parker Mathews, civil engineering senior, participating in the race has become a tradition.

“It supports physical fitness with the running and biking aspects, but then it supports non physical fitness with the Layne’s aspect, and I really like both of those,” Mathews said. “It’s become an Aggie tradition.”

Bailey Rogers, agricultural leadership and development senior, is a two-time participant in the race. She said finishing the challenge feels great.

“You feel like you actually accomplished something,” Rogers said. “When you tell people you did the Layne’s Challenge they’re like, ‘No way.’ They think you’re super cool and that you really have done great things.”

Linda Causey, Class of 1992 and current support staffer in the Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences Department, said competing in the challenge was her first time to eat Layne’s. Causey said it was great fun, but she probably won’t be eating Layne’s again for at least a week or two.

“This is a totally different challenge,” Causey said. “I’ve done marathons, triathlons, half marathons and all of that, but this was just unique.”

According to James Sciandra, one of the Layne’s Challenge founders and current Layne’s Challenge volunteer, there are two reasons people should participate.

“First, it’s a good cause. We donate all of the proceeds to the Brazos Valley Food Bank,” Sciandra said. “Second, it’s a lot of fun to say, ‘Hey I did this crazy thing in college. I ate a lot of chicken, then I ran and biked.’ It’s just a fun experience.”

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