Notes from the Disney Dopey Challenge

12545815_10208747577633832_1879710416_oLongtime Academy member Mark Welch, a radiologist from PA, ran the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend through the Runner’s World VIP program and sent in this report. The Dopey Challenge requires you to run the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and Marathon (four days and 48.6 miles).
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From Mark Welch:

Trevor posted something about sending in a race report . . . I have to tell you that I hate writing so here it goes . . .

My Dopey experience included a stop to ride Expedition everest during the marathon and a stop to drink at mile 25.5 (I was running through this international section of Epcot, and during Germany . . . well the thing to do seemed to be going to get a beer and stopping for a turkey leg). This was interesting because I really dislike beer and turkey legs!

The Dopey Challenge

Runner’s World VIP Program

I did this as part of the Runners World VIP program which is fantastic because they provide the contact for you if you have any questions and you go to their booth at the expo and they have everything for you right there, your shirts, your pins, your bib, and tickets to the pasta in the park.

They also have a designated area in the morning of the half and the full for us and a waiting area or recovery area at the finish. Oh we also had food and drinks, a first aid medical section, an area to stretch, and a massage area

The other cool thing about the Runners World thing is that you can not even imagine how fast Disney sells out . . . I mean like within hours. Because they are so expensive, many people use the The Runner’s World Challenge programs as a last resort but honestly with the perks they give us I think that they are well worth it.

In the mornings while people are waiting for rest rooms we had our own in the race retreat/ Runners World challenge tent.

Race Day Perks
One of the worst things about the marathon is trying to get from the general holding area to our corral. At about 4:45 a.m. there was an announcement and we bypassed everyone that was standing in line to get to our corrals. This was about 15-20 minutes before anyone else so we were right at the front of our corrals if we chose to be. People were still hitting their corrals like an hour later even when we were starting to run . . . I am talking a LOT of people!

The other thing with the race retreat/Runners World vip thing, photographs! You dont really go to Disney to really have an outstanding performance, although we had an MTA person who killed it. You really need to stop for photographs, sometimes you can lose 20 minutes waiting in line. In the Runners World vip tent/race retreat we had or own characters . . . instead of waiting 20 minutes we had to wait maybe 1 minute.

They had a breakfast after the half and a full marathon . . . your typical food, [my rambling point to all of this is that if I had to pay for it directly as add ons, it would not have been worth it, but as part of the Runners World vip I thought there was a ton of value].

Expectations When Running Disney

Day One
You really have to expect anything…… on the day of the 5k I had been told it was going to be cold and it was very cold. It did seem that the 5k did seem the hardest of the week { I am dead serious on that } it was a bit crowded. At the end, they gave us a mylar blanket which was great because it was very cold . . . we got these little food boxes that included a bananna, some crackers and chips, some cliff bar thing, a oreo cookie thing, some crasins, a handy wipe thing. As part of the Runner’s World VIP program we had breakfast after the 5k and the 10k.

Day Two
I kept my mylar blanket….. I remember thinking I shoudl bring it along…..but i did not…….. so needless to say that the morning of the 10k it was cold and raining and quite frankly I was not happy. I kept my throw away on until mile 6…… it was pouring so hard that there were not a lot of characters out….but whatever, I did not care.

Day Three
The morning of the half marathon I was on the bus at 3:45 am, I got to security where there was an insane line…. if you had anything with a zipper on it you had that considered a bag. I had a little waist band thing that I had one gel in and like 5 dollars….I had to go through the bag line and that took quite a while…….. that day when I got into the runners world tent, I had like 10 minutes before we went out to the corrals.

Day Four
The weather was pretty nice. I started out running and when I was in my corral, my ankles were killing me so I decided to just run this to see if I could make it through and stay ahead of the balloon ladies. The balloon are these ladies that are very nice but get a bad rep because they run or power walk at a pace of 16 minutes. If you are slower then this you can be swept.

I started running and after about a half of a mile, I figured I would just try to have fun. it was very very very very humid. After doing liike 2 miles, someone said we were half-way done with the Dopey Challenge. At that point we had run 24.3 miles and we only had 24.3 miles left in the marathon (so we were only just starting the marathon). I was tired but kept with it.

After a while I think I was in some park and the thing you have to do is ride a stupid roller coaster….. expedition everest…… when i saw the line for the expedition everest was 5 minutes, I had to ride there. So much for a pr! It was something I just had to do . . . granted I got a bit sick but whatever.

One of the highlights is going through the Magic Kingdom. There is the castle thing . . . I sent a picture to Trevor . . . during the half there was a huge bottle neck there but people really did not seem to care. It did not affect me.

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During the course there are areas that you need to get your picture taken and they have people who are really great at yelling ok you go to the right, you go to the left they really moved people quickly through the areas like Magic Kingdom and Epcot. At one point we went through Animal Kingdom. I of course had to get photos, there was no line. I got my picture taken with two different snakes,a rabbit, a turtle (that had a marathon bib), a donkey dressed up as a lamb, and of course at some point I stopped for beer (again I drink maybe 3 drinks a year . . . I had to stop).

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Another cool thing about disney is the costumes . . . they get pretty elaborate . . . you name it, they were there.

Anyway during the course of course the bathrooms are always an issue in any marathon. The water stops and poweraid stops were not an issue…… lots of them. There were your typical areas giving out food, lots of spectators, typical…… there seemed to be more medical tents then I have ever seen before. They were actually very early and frequent. I think I saw one that was before the first mile on day four.

Final Thoughts
So I did the dopey challenge. We got a rubber/plastic medal for the 5k a medal for the 10k, a medal for the half marathon and a medal for the marathon, so going into day four I had three medals. If you do the half and the full, you get another medal that is considered the Goofy challenge, and if you do the whole four, you get a Dopey Challenge medal as well.

We had a little MTA meet up which was wonderful and quite frankly . . . was the biggest highlight of the weekend for me. Only five of us were there but it was great.

Mark with other MTA'ers at the Disney World Marathon

Mark with other MTA’ers at the Disney World Marathon

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