If you’re just tuning in, the Dopey Challenge is a 48.6 mile challenge in Walt Disney World consisting of 4 races on 4 consecutive days (a 5k, 10k, half-marathon, and full marathon).
2015 Dopey Challenge posts:
The absolute best part about this marathon? There was ZERO stress involved. None! I have never run a marathon where I walked around the day before and completely forgot that I had to run a marathon the next day. I had absolutely zero worries that I had already run 22.4 miles or that I had walked close to 20,000 extra steps each day through the Disney parks. It was completely liberating.
Since this whole “run a marathon” thing was so stress-free, I fell asleep fine and woke up with just enough time to get myself and Michael (his first marathon!) to the start line. I had my pre-marathon breakfast but didn’t worry about timing everything I ate/drank before the race since I didn’t care if I needed a restroom break during the run.
I couldn’t hide my excitement as I entered my corral. This was it! In just 2 miles I would be halfway through the Dopey Challenge! And since there was no pressure, all I could think about was having the most fun one could possibly have while running 26.2 miles.
And fun was had, people, so much fun was had.
I knew my family would be cheering in the Magic Kingdom so I essentially did a dance once we turned onto Main Street. It’s absolutely magical to run this strip of the Magic Kingdom and I was glad that my brother (who has successfully slept through 5 of my Disney races over the past 3 years) was finally out there to experience it all.
After passing the fam (with a quick pit stop to check how Michael was doing), I continued on and focused on just enjoying the sights, the weather, the crowds (omg the crowds!) and the amazing signs on the course.
The whole race, I couldn’t believe how amazing I felt. Running through Animal Kingdom was pretty sweet (they even had some of the animals out on the course wearing marathon bibs!), I absolutely loved running around the speedway, and I knew once I hit Hollywood Studios that I was in the home stretch.
My family was at Mile 24 near the Beach & Yacht Club and I couldn’t wait to get to them, to show them all how incredible I was feeling.
Running through Epcot was bittersweet. I was almost done! But at the same time, this whole experience was almost over.
The crowds nearing the finish line in Epcot were absolutely insane. Us runners knew we were close, the fans knew we were close, the Disney cast members knew we were close. It was so loud and I found myself holding back tears the entire time. Just hold it in until the finish line, Ang!
You know I burst into tears probably 20 seconds after crossing that finish line!
I was draped with my 3 medals (one for the marathon, one for completing the Goofy, and one for completing the full Dopey challenge), grabbed my box of food, and sat down to stretch and wait for Michael who was only a few minutes behind me.
Congrats, Michael, on your first marathon finish! I am so unbelievably proud of you!
The rest of the day was spent treating ourselves with great food and drinks and rocking our medals everywhere we went.
And Monday? Well, Monday was reserved for another love of mine, Harry Potter.
I barely felt like I had ran a marathon and then some. That has never happened before. Was it smart running? Was it Disney magic? Hogwarts magic? A mix of all three, perhaps?
When I signed up for this craziness, I said that the Dopey Challenge was a “one and done” … and now? Well, now I’m not so sure. Knowing how incredible this whole thing was, could I pass it up next year? I just don’t know.
My heart is full.
Thank you, Disney. It was magical.
Anyone want to join me next year for the Dopey Challenge? Or part of it? We have 3 months to decide…
Most fun you’ve ever had while running a marathon?