Races, runDisney, Running

Dopey Challenge

The Dopey Challenge is runDisney’s ultimate race challenge. It’s 4 races in 4 days totaling 48.6 miles.dopey-challenge-graphicI registered for the Dopey Challenge back in April 2016. The Dopey Challenge was $560 plus a processing fee, bringing the grand total to $596.96. Check out my tips for registering for a runDisney race here.registration


Wednesday

Amanda and I flew down to Orlando on Wednesday morning. We checked into Disney’s Pop Century Resort, then took the bus over to the Expo. I highly recommend staying on Disney property because they offer free race weekend transportation to the races and the Expo. No need to rent a car!

I always try to get to the expo on the first day it is open. Merchandise tends to run out and it is typically less crowded on the first day.IMG_2258

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Thursday

The 5k started at 6AM, so I got to “sleep in” a little bit Thursday morning (all other races start at 5:30). I took the bus over to Epcot and made my way to the start line.IMG_2278I made sure not to push myself too hard since I still had 45.5 miles left to run after today. I finished in 30:29.

Before heading down to Florida, I read a lot of Dopey Challenge tips that recommend avoiding the parks so your legs and feet can rest. I can’t imagine going to Disney World and not going to any of the parks! Amanda and I decided to be smart about it and visit the parks earlier in the trip so that we could rest before the longer races. We spent all day Thursday at Epcot.IMG_2327


Friday

On Friday morning, I woke up at 3AM, got ready, then headed to the start line of the 10k.IMG_2403Before each race, there is a photo opportunity with Dopey near the stage. I arrived around 4:45AM and the long was ridiculously long. Luckily, it moved fast and I got my picture before the 10k started!IMG_2397I absolutely LOVED the 10k course! It was so much fun running through Epcot!

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IMG_2424I love Harry Potter, so we Ubered over to Universal Studios and spent most of the day exploring The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

We headed back to the hotel pretty early since we both were running the half marathon in the morning. We were getting ready for bed when we received this email from runDisney:FullSizeRender (23)

My heart literally broke. The Dopey Challenge is 48.6 miles, NOT 35.5. The email also says that all registered runners will still receive their half marathon medal, but who wants a medal they didn’t earn??! I called my boyfriend crying, and he suggested I run 13.1 miles on my own tomorrow after the storm clears or those medals won’t mean anything to me (he knows me too well!).

The runDisney registration policy states that all entry fees are non-refundable, so I was surprised when their email also said that all registered half marathon runners may choose one of the following options:

  1. A full refund for race registration in the form of a Disney gift card
  2. Two One-Day Park Hopper tickets
  3. Transfer registration to another runDisney half marathon
  4. Transfer registration to the full marathon on Sunday, at no additional charge

Amanda and I both chose to receive our refund in the form of a Disney gift card.


Saturday

We got to sleep in today since the half marathon was cancelled. I made sure not to sleep too late since I had to wake up at 3AM the next morning for the full marathon. I immediately looked out the window when I got up and saw lightning. Even though it was disappointing, Disney definitely made the right decision to keep all runners, volunteers, and cast members safe. After the lightning cleared, I got myself ready to run 13.1 miles in the rain. I decided to run the 1.29-mile loop around Hourglass Lake at Pop Century.

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I was SHOCKED when I arrived at the trail. There were probably 100+ runners out there running the loop.

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Guests from the hotel came out to cheer us on and even set up water and fuel stations! People made signs and even dressed up as “characters”! I couldn’t believe that these wonderful people gave up their Saturday morning to stand out in the rain and support us. I was not looking forward to running the same loop 10+ times. However, the spectators made it an amazing experience that I will never forget 🙂

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Poor Amanda was only registered for the half marathon, so she spent the day at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex to get her gift card and medal. Goofy and Dopey Challenge participants were sent an electronic Disney gift card via email.  I now have $180 towards my next runDisney racecation 🙂

Amanda made it back before I was done my half marathon, so she came out to support me and even gave me her medal when I finished! 🙂

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Sunday

Saturday’s storm brought in a cold front and the temperatures were in the 30s when the Walt Disney World Marathon started. It was also really windy. I dressed up like Minnie Mouse and the wind kept blowing my ears off! Definitely not ideal marathon conditions…

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I took the bus from my resort to Epcot and headed towards the start line. I made sure to leave my hotel a little earlier today since the walk from the staging area to the corrals is pretty far.

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The full marathon course is the only course that goes through all four parks. However, Disney World is HUGE, so a majority of the races take place on the roads/highways in between the parks. I was so happy when we entered Magic Kingdom!

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My favorite part was running through Cinderella’s castle 🙂

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I went into the marathon with a goal of having fun and just finishing. I finished in 5:18:03, which is over an hour slower than my best marathon time, but that’s OK… I had a great time! You can check out my tips for surviving the Dopey Challenge here.

After the marathon, I met Amanda at ESPN Club on Disney’s BoardWalk to watch some football and enjoy some much-deserved beer!IMG_2524

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