Pluto, Minnie, Donald, and Mickey have all been defeated! Along, of course, with Goofy and Dopey!
As previously mentioned, the Dopey Challenge consisted of four different runs on four consecutive days – a 5K (Pluto), 10K (Minnie), Half Marathon (Donald), and Full Marathon (Mickey). Those who completed just the Half and Full Marathons were Goofy. But the 7,000 of us runners insane enough to complete all four were Dopey.
Each day we would rise before the sun and meet in the Epcot parking lot. By Sunday, the last morning, waking at 3 am became natural. Each race had the same finish line. The 5K and 10K shared the same start, and the Half and Full Marathons did as well. The starting fireworks seemed to grow as the length of the race grew. A little motivation never hurt. We did notice that the fireworks signifying the start of the wheelchair corral were always less impressive than the fireworks for the runners. (Hey runDisney, you may want to think of making us all equal. We’re all completing the same race).
The 5K and 10K took us through Epcot, both backstage and onstage. We ran down to Magic Kingdom and then back to Epcot during the Half Marathon. The Full Marathon had us running all over Disney property- down to Magic Kingdom, through the Richard Petty Speedway, down a backroad to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, onward to the Wide World of Sports complex and into the baseball stadium, down to Disney Hollywood Studios, and finishing by running through Epcot. If you’re thinking it seemed like a lot, you’re right. It WAS a lot, but there were water stops every mile or so, four food stops, a wet towel stop, a candy stop, and medical tents everywhere. There were also random supporters handing out candy and pretzels. Yes, I took candy from multiple strangers and lived to tell about it.
I love Disney runs. I personally think they have a great set up and fun atmosphere. Sure, certain areas are closed off to the public so you have slots of time when no one is cheering for you. But they do their best with entertainment, music, and supporters. I’ve run other races and they have fewer supporters, less entertainment, and fewer water stops. Not every race is going to attract the amount of fans as Boston or New York, but runDisney sure does know how to put on an event. The runs are popular and sure to be crowded, but running among others can be entertaining in itself. Read their shirts (some are comical), eavesdrop, make each other laugh. You’re all in the same boat!
The volunteers and working Cast Members are great too. I’ve done that job. I know how difficult it can be to hold the regular day Guests from crossing the running path between runners. To all of them, THANK YOU!!! One thing, please don’t tell us “you’re almost there” with five more miles to go. Our knees are giving out, our hips are popping, we can’t feel our feet. Five miles seems like an eternity. Words of wisdom you learn only after running a race. I’m sure I said my fair share of “you’re almost there” too.
There are always going to be the people who start the weekend excited and motivated but don’t finish the race. I’ve been told someone had to be taken away by a medical team at mile 26. How heart wrenching it is to come that far and not finish the race. Another runner carried someone else on his back in order to help him cross the finish line. That kind of camaraderie makes runners a good breed in my book. The lot of us who run these races for fun wouldn’t hesitate to help a fellow injured runner finish.
I’ve been told I’m crazy for running 48.6 miles in four days. Perhaps I am. You know what? I actually enjoyed it. I might even get a little Dopey again next year! Who’s with me?
First thing’s first. I think I need to focus on the Glass Slipper challenge next month. Until then runDisney!