For those that don’t know the Dopey Challenge is four consecutive days where you run a 5K, 10K, half marathon and full marathon round Disney’s property in Orlando, Florida. It would be my wife’s 1st Marathon and my 41st.
Cost was $560 (each) for the 4 races and I paid $230 (each) for the Race Retreat which is a warm tent full of drinks and food to start the half marathon and full – also being open afterwards for breakfast and toilets and chairs and all the comforts you need after a long run. On top of the cost of this was obviously staying on Disney property, $1200 – we used Disney Vacation Club points so saved ourselves $2500! Park tickets we upgraded from Sept 2016 to Annual Passes for $430- flights were $600 each- total cost $4410 though the Annual Pass made it cheaper and the DVC rental.
Once we arrived and checked in and unpacked we went straight to the Magic Kingdom to chill out and bathe in the Disney glow. We may have packed a lot of running gear too.
Next day was the EXPO which was pretty cool as we had booked the Race Retreat we got early entry so NO crowds and we got a pic with Jeff Galloway. This was where we picked up our bibs and t-shirts for all the races.
For the 5K and 10K I was in corral A and Sarah (my wife) in D so I dropped down and ran with her of course. Now Sarah had developed a tendon injury on her ankle so we were very careful and basically fast walked the 5K and 10K as when she ran over 2 mile she had to stop. Success though and thought the starts were early we got some lovely photos in EPCOT as the sun came up.
So now just the half marathon and full yes? Probably…?
Due to this weather, Disney cancelled the half marathon for the first time in 20 years.
So we slept in that day instead of getting up at 2AM and running from 5:30AM. A lot of people doing the Dopey ran round their resort to say they have done it or to please anyone sponsoring them but we took full advantage of the lie in and I think got about 12 hours sleep then I carbed up with a 16 inch pizza and Sarah with create-your-own pasta. Yum.
We did wear our half marathons tops though just because… as did a lot of other people.
Next day was the big one and we’d decided (after a successful test on the 10K) to walk as fast as we could outside the parks and jog through the parks so Sarah did not have to run too far. We had a cut off of seven hours plus around twenty mins so reckoned we could do it if we just got on with it with no character photos or massive pit stops on the rides.
We did find a goat though. More later.
Arriving at 2:30AM we managed to get a seat in the race retreat and our own special unique photos inside. It was cold outside!
Though it was lovely and warm in the race retreat (and well worth the money) we knew we had to leave soon and venture outside to the 0 degree celsius dark outside. I was in corral C and Sarah J so again I dropped back and waited for our corral to start (roughly twenty mins after corral A started).
We got ready in the race retreat.
As outside it was FREEZING!
We were off and to be honest it was brilliant to run through all the parks and run with large amounts of people as my usual marathons are limited to 100 or 150, some even 60, so running with over 17000 people was great and not too crowded either. Sarah had some great adventures on the way and did not complain once during the entire marathon.
Here’s the goat pic…
She was even messing around at 40K!
Finishing at 6:30 was great timing for a dodgy ankle and a first marathon in USA with Sarah’s only complaint being that she didn’t like the taste of my chocolate Clif Bars though I do like the taste. Looking at our splits, apart from the two queues for a quick toilet break, our pace was spot on throughout.
Right after we finished
We had our official photos taken
With all our medals for the half, full, Goofy (half and full) and Dopey Challenge. They were heavy and made a nice jangling sound.
We headed straight to the Race Retreat to fill our faces with food. I was gorging on ham and cheese sandwiches
Whilst Sarah ate as many potatoes as she could eat.
We then had the obligatory beer outside
and toured the parks having a general laugh and fun as you do in Disneyworld after a marathon.
Sarah’s main concern was getting cake that day and she achieved that too.
It was great to see Sarah do so well with an injury and be so consistent and though it was a shame to not do the half marathon I think it helped us as lot keeping Sarah injury free for the marathon. Disney have refunded us $180 each for the half marathon (they didn’t have to) and $120 each for the Race Retreat- unfortunately it’s in Disney vouchers which means we now have $600 of Disney vouchers we can only spend in Disney property and NO we can’t buy entry to the marathon next year… hmmm.
To summarise we had a great time and Sarah did her marathon but we never did the Dopey Challenge, even though we got the t-shirts and medals. I am disappointed as I basically paid $380 for a marathon as I’m pretty certain I can do a 5K and 10K any day of the week. BUT I respect the decision Disney made regarding the storm and lightning it’s just a shame we never did the Dopey.
We are toying with the idea of going back next year but not doing the Dopey because if they cancel again its another vastly expensive group of races with no Dopey. We might just do the marathon and enjoy our time there going to Florida Keys after as the parks are crazy busy afterwards. It was great to be in Disneyworld but it was also great to come back home.
Next reports are the two runs I did when we got back then my four in four days coming up starting Feb 11th!