runDisney is quickly approaching the 15th anniversary of its original challenge the Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge. This challenge occurs during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and includes both the Walt Disney World half marathon and full marathon. That is 39.3 miles in two days. Many think that is insane in itself but that’s not even the most ambitious challenge runDisney offers.
The Dopey Challenge also occurs during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and includes the Walt Disney World 5K, 10K, half marathon, and full marathon. That is 48.6 miles in the span of four days. I have been fortunate to complete this challenge three times.
For many, a full marathon is not something they can fathom so for other race weekends that don’t include a full marathon, they offer a 10K, and half marathon combo challenge. For Princess Half Marathon Weekend this is the Fairy Tale Challenge, Star Wars Rival Run Weekend is the Rival Run Challenge, and the Wine and Dine Race Weekend is the Two Course Challenge.
Disneyland Paris also offers a race weekend and they offer two challenges; a 31K challenge and a 36K challenge. The 31K challenge includes the 10K and half marathon, whereas the 36K challenge includes the 5K, 10K, and half marathon. Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is the only race weekend that offers a full marathon.
The biggest driver outside of a huge sense of accomplishment in completing any of these challenges is the extra medal runDisney gives for those that complete the challenge. For the Dopey Challenge not only do you get the Dopey medal but also the Goofy Challenge medal as you complete that challenge as well. Something like the Dopey Challenge may look or feel impossible but if you train for a marathon it isn’t much more in terms of training.
As someone who has completed Dopey and the Two Course Challenge, the biggest negative in my opinion is the early mornings. For Dopey runners, they must wake up and be ready to run at 5:30AM four days in a row. For many, they are getting up at 3:00AM or even earlier to get on a bus and over to the starts for these races before roads start to close.
If you have never done a runDisney challenge and want to work towards or sign up for one, I have some tips or tricks to think about in your training or planning. I will say though that everyone is different in their habits and training cycles so what works for me may not work for you.
For me as a runner, the 10K and half combo challenges don’t impact me too much while at Walt Disney World. Yes waking up two days in a row at 3:00AM is not always fun but it’s also not something as draining as Dopey where you do that four days in a row. My first recommendation would be not planning late nights in the parks. I fully recommend going to the parks before and after the races but it is probably best to skip the late night Extra Magic Hours or maybe even the fireworks. Sleep is an important part of being ready for these challenges.
To bounce off of that I also recommend going to the parks after the races. Staying moving and enjoying your time at Disney helps keep your legs from stiffening up. I also support taking a post-race nap if you need it. With the crazy sleep schedules during these race weekends, a nap can be beneficial. Along with keeping moving, I would say try not to book a flight home right after the last race you are participating in. Sitting on a long flight after running a half marathon or full marathon as part of a challenge could really make you tighten up. Like I said, if you can’t stay an extra day just be prepared for the soreness.
While in the parks post-race, I suggest taking your time and going for photos with characters or park icons while wearing your medals. You definitely won’t be the only one who does go around and take photos. After the races and putting in the hard work one of my favorite things to do is show off the medals and the milestone that you just completed. You can also celebrate with a special meal such as California Grill during Happily Ever After or a character dining experience to get those medal photos!
In terms of training for these challenges, it really is what works best for you. runDisney does offer official training plans for each race distance and challenge through Jeff Galloway. They really work well for a lot of first-time runDisney participants.
This is just a little bit of an overview and some suggestions that can help you plan towards your next runDisney race weekend. For even more information and discussion visit the runDisney forum on Disboards.com.