3 of 4 Dopey Challenge races done at this point and I wanted to put up a bit of a quick recap / race report

So the quick race reports below haven’t been edited very much – I just quickly dumped out some thoughts about how the races went and what I enjoyed to get something up on the blog.

I will update and do more thorough race / trip reports later but for now here is how the Dopey Challenge is going so far with only 1 race left to go (of course it is the big one…).

Please click the link for a review of the final race (the Walt Disney World Marathon) with many pictures.


5k #wdw5k

Official time: 25:18

I got a great surprise last night before I crashed when I got an encouragement tweet from Stacey J. Aswad (https://twitter.com/staceyjaswad – @staceyjaswad) – as in the lovely and energetic lady who stars in the Must Do Disney shows on the Walt Disney World TV channel in the Disney resorts). Bloody awesome!! One of the highlights of the trip!


Cold in the morning, bloody cold in fact. The wind was bitter. I am used to running in some pretty cold weather but I walk out of a nice warm house and run immediately and get warmed up. That is not really an issue with a Disney race considering the hour plus wait time from when I got off the bus until Corral A got to start.

I brought thermal gear as I knew there would be at least one cold day based on the forecasts and put on a big black garbage bag to cut the wind and retain some additional heat. Still chilly with some teeth chattering but I was properly equipped once we got moving.

After the long travel day the day before the race I really just wanted to move a bit. I also wanted to burn off some of the cold that was settling into the muscles. So instead of taking it easy I decided to push the 5k a little harder and then back off on the half marathon on Sunday. I figured as long as I didn’t go all out on the 5k I wouldn’t do too much damage, or at least less damage than going harder on the half.

Everything was going great until a little over a mile into the race and I heard a weird noise of something dropping. I realized it was my phone and had to stop, turn around and go back about 15 paces to get it. It had fallen out of the holster I keep it in – I mustn’t have gotten the phone seated properly in the holster. Crud.

Luckily no one stepped on it but it is definitely an interesting experience running backwards against a mass of people. Not something I recommend.

I held up my arms and waved and did some warning yelling as I went to grab it. Luckily I am a pretty big guy so I was a bit more noticeable that some might be.

Grabbed the phone without anyone getting hurt and got back at it. I didn’t realize until after that I had cracked the screen pretty good. Thankfully the phone and touch screen still works, it just looks like hell. (I have order a new screen that should be at home when I get there to get everything all fixed up.)

Right after that we entered Epcot. I had specifically not worn headphones so I could hear the background music of Epcot as we went through. I am glad I made that decision and it really enhanced the experience.

Disney had all of the mood lighting on around World Showcase and also had the big torches lit. Gorgeous!

After following World Showcase around through France we took the detour down through International Gateway (instead of running through the England pavilion), looped around for a water stop and came back out right by Canada. From there we ran over by The Land pavilion and by the Nemo ride before heading back out to go under Spaceship Earth and toward the finish line.

Besides the phone and the cold (neither of which I can blame on Disney) that was a fantastic experience. It is really too bad the new Marathon course doesn’t start you through Epcot anymore.

There was unfortunately a long wait for buses in the cold after the race was done. Corrals were still being started and the course goes along the road the buses need to take…so no buses until the balloon ladies have come through and the last of the runners have cleared the area.

Even after the runners were cleared there was an issue with our stop – there weren’t any showing up for us! Other hotels were getting 2 or 3 and we hadn’t had one yet. In the cold that was a bit rough.

The logistics folks fixed that quickly by pulling up what appeared to be a generic bus (didn’t have any of the hotel specific cards or info on the front that the dedicated buses had). And I think the driver got a bit lost as it was a fairly long drive back to the hotel. A lot longer that it should have been. But at least the bus was warm!


10k – #wdw10k

Official Time: 53:59

Not quite as cold as yesterday but still pretty chilly. Onto my backup set of thermal gear and my second garbage bag! My legs were feeling a bit rough after a lot of walking yesterday so I decided to run in my Hoka One One Cliftons – I was going to only use those on the half and the full but figured they were probably a good idea for the 10k at this point as well.

Once I got to the staging area I wandered around for a bit and then headed over to the corrals. There I met up with Bill who blogs over at rillaruns.wordpress.com and on twitter at @rilla6969 and chatted for a while as Corral A was brought up to the start line.

We headed off to run and I intended to go fairly slow and finish at about the hour mark…but the highway boredom got to me so I pushed it a bit more for the first half of the race until we entered Epcot. At that point I slowed down.

I wanted to relax some more and enjoy the atmosphere even more than I did the day before on the 5k so I slowed down and took some video while I ran. I had also did a quick walk break right by the China pavilion while I had some water.

The course then headed International Gateway as the 5k did but instead of cutting back around to go back into Epcot right away, runners head up the ramp and across the bridge to go toward the Boardwalk Inn. A great place to run although you do have to be careful on the actual boardwalk.

From there we were sent back over the bridge toward the Yacht Club Resort and the Beach Club Resort.

Now I have mentioned in the past that the Beach Club resort is a place I really love and enjoy. So while running by the Yacht and Beach Club hotels I took video while running and stopped to do a quick scan of the Stormalong Bay pool area before continuing on.

I then put the camera away and pushed the speed back up as we headed back into Epcot and by The Land pavilion and back by Spaceship Earth.

From there a quick push to the finish where Bill tapped me on the shoulder. I had lost track of Bill 10 seconds into the run and he did his own race and we ended up finishing within seconds of each other.

Medal #2 received and Bill and I had another short chat before I headed over to the buses to go get warmed up.

All in all a good run – 5-6 minutes faster than I wanted to go since I wanted to save my legs a bit but as long as I don’t do anything crazy on the half it shouldn’t be a big problem.

Buses were fairly smooth today – I got on a bus very quickly after I headed to the bus stops and back at the hotel not long after that.

2 of 4 races done for the Dopey Challenge! At this point the realization started to set in that there was a full Goofy Challenge left to do this weekend…ouch!


Half – #wdwhalf

Official time: 1:58:52

Third cold day in a row…I brought 2 sets of cold weather gear. One set for the day that was actually forecasted to be cold and a spare – both sets were used so I had had to wash a bit of stuff yesterday to be ready for today.

My brother is doing the Goofy this weekend (his 3rd one) and we went down to the race together and hung out in the staging area for a while and wandered around.

We weren’t near the stage and didn’t hear any announcement to go to the corrals but we noticed people streaming that direction so we wandered that way as well figuring it was getting close to time.

I don’t know if Disney has done anything specifically to make the walk to the corrals less crowded but this was the first year that I could walk and talk with someone without constantly watching my feet so I didn’t run into someone. It was significantly less crowded on that walk and it was appreciated!

Along the walk we saw what could have been a bright red meteorite in the sky that faded after a while. I could have been a fireworks test or something but didn’t look like any fireworks I had seen but it was cool to see either way. If it was a meteor … was it a bad omen? Made for some good chuckles along the long walk.

We were in separate corrals so we split up and went to our own spots to get ready.

I wandered into Corral D and started getting ready mentally.

After what seemed like a very short wait the wheelchair folks were off and then Corral A shortly after. Things move quickly from there and Corral D was off and moving pretty soon after that.

Because I wanted to take it easy today (with a goal pace of around 2 hours to finish) I had decided to wear an old running jacket the whole race, I have done it before with that jacket in temperatures near where they were forecast so I figured it would be ok. About 2 miles in though it was too hot and I had to abandon it. But with how I had planned to run it took a bit of time to get it off and reseat my hydration belt, etc – that cost some time.

That also meant, that in some areas it was cooler than I would have liked and I pushed the speed up to warm up a bit. I was in danger of doing something dumb there and pushing too fast which would cost me on the full tomorrow.

Then I look down around mile 3 and realize that my bib is only hanging by one of the two cords from my bib belt. The top left hole had ripped out and my bib was just dangling there. Losing the bib would have royally buggered the weekend, so I started running holding up the torn corner in my left hand. This would ensure I didn’t lose it and that it was visible for any photographers.

It was obviously kind of awkward to run that way but it did have the bonus of slowing me down a bit. But perhaps too much as I could tell from my mile times I was in danger of being slower than my goal pace. With the lost time for the jacket it was beginning to look like I would not get my 2 hour time.

I needed to get the bib fixed!

I realized that the medical tents might have something to help out but I had already passed one a while so it was going to be a while until I got to the next one just on the back end of the course through the Magic Kingdom.

So I had to run like that for a while – around 3.5 miles actually and you can see in my split times that I was doing ok at keeping my pace steady but I couldn’t go like that for the rest of the race.

Finally I hit the medical tent hoping they would have a safety pin or something to help out. In the end they didn’t have a safety pin but some medical tape helped out and I was able to get moving again.

At this point my toque / knitted hat was fairly saturated so I abandoned it and the old beat up running gloves I was using today expecting to have to get rid of them.

And then I got to work at getting some time back. I had missed my scheduled fuel break so I took that around mile 7 and another at mile 10. But I steadily made back time.

I was glad I made that time up when I did because that was when we hit the overpass followed by the long bridge. Some long steady inclines that required some effort to push through.

But by then the sun was coming up with a blue sky – perfect time to enter Epcot for the last mile! At this point I knew I had made up enough time to make the 2 hour arbitrary goal pace with about a minute to spare. So I just focused on a slightly slower but solid and steady pace that would let me finish with that spare minute in reserve incase anything came up like an emergency walk break or something like that.

In the end I didn’t need the emergency minute and I finished strong.

If I hadn’t had the gear issues I probably would have ended up closer to the 1:50 mark…which would probably have cost me big time tomorrow on the full marathon but as it is I feel pretty good with my only issue being a slight ache in my right ankle that I should be able to walk out today.

After the run I quickly checked to see where my brother was on Disney’s new live tracking tools and saw that he was still quite a way out. With the cold sinking into to my now damp clothes I decided to hit the buses and get warm. Walked on a bus and it took off back to the hotel very shortly after that. Barely any wait at all. Nice!

Plan for today is to not do too much walking and get my head focused for the full marathon tomorrow.

The plan for tomorrow is to take it easy and survive! I will be doing photo stops along the course and just trying to keep a steady running pace with probably some walk breaks thrown in. I don’t have a specific goal pace but under 5 hours would be great and under 4:30 would be fantastic. But I will take finishing in one piece as a major victory as well.


  1. Bill says:

    Nice work Ted! I’m surprised that you didn’t decide to back off a little more, but if you’re going for 5:00 tomorrow then you should be OK. I dropped back from F to O for the start, meaning you were at the medical tent about the time I started! Kept it real slow to save for tomorrow and finished in 3:15. I did say slow right? Need to catch up with you again tomorrow somewhere, hopefully before the race. When do you fly out?

    • Ted says:

      Thanks Bill – I’m kind of lucky I had the gear issues because around mile 2 I was feeling good and thinking about trying for sub 1:50…which would have been painful tomorrow I’m sure.

      Good job at taking it slow – hope you had fun! You should have energy in the tank tomorrow!

      5 hours seems realistic to me for tomorrow with picture stops, etc. I intend to sprinkle in walk breaks pretty regularly as well. I just want to enjoy this one and not fight for time!

      Sounds good – not sure on my gear yet besides black shorts and a blue hydration backpack (still trying to decide short or long sleeve shirt – might be long to avoid any chance of sunburn)

      I fly out on Monday.

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