Here we go again…let’s do this together

Am I nuts?  How do you define ‘fun’?

Dopey Challenge

Thursday, January 9 – Sunday, January 12, 2014

Start/Finish: Epcot®

Run 48.6 miles of fun in the Dopey Challenge!

Are you ready for the ultimate endurance challenge? Then take part in four days of fun for a total of 48.6 miles in the all-new Dopey Challenge! Participants will run the 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and Marathon, and if you complete all four races within the pacing requirements you will be awarded the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge medal and the brand new Dopey Challenge finisher medal for a total of six pieces of “bling.”

Dopey Challenge

Dopey Challenge is now official

Today runDisney officially opened up registration for the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon weekend. About a week ago some limited pre-sales opened for the Runner’s World Challenge, Disney Vacation Club members and Disney Visa Card holders. Spots were limited and it seemed were snapped up very quickly due to the excitement of the new events in 2014, the Minnie 10K and Dopey Challenge.

I personally registered to run last Friday by signing up again to run with Team Up to raise funds and awareness for Autism Speaks. I ran the Goofy’s Race and Half Challenge with them last year raising just over $3,400 of which I am very proud. I will admit that the expectations of my donors were on my mind during the Marathon when I was beginning to feel uncomfortable and as much as I was proud of myself for achieving the Goofy I was relieved that I hadn’t let everyone down. Of course I said to myself I would never do something so crazy again. Umm….

So there are a few changes that runDisney implemented this year which can be seen here.

The big takeaways from this are that in addition to the new races, they have made changes to the numbers of entrants so that the courses can move more efficiently. They have trimmed back numbers for the Half Marathon (traditionally the most crowded) and runners now have to submit proof of time to get a corral assignment. There will be more corrals at the start so they can spread the runners out according to ability which should ease congestion on the course. Will this work? We will see when we hit ‘Cone Alley’ after leaving the Magic Kingdom.

The other news is that they are keeping the Marathon Course the same as in 2013 which took us through the Walt Disney World Speedway and also through the ESPN Wide World of Sports. I ran the Marathon course in 2012 and 2013 and had a few thoughts on this.

In 2012 we started with a loop through EPCOT on our way to the Magic Kingdom and the park still had the holiday decorations lit which was nice. As this pushed the mileage reached at the Magic Kingdom to mile 10 instead of mile 6 as it was in 2013 it was daybreak when we reached the Castle which I thought was pretty cool. In 2013 instead of the lights at EPCOT we arrived at the Magic Kingdom still in the dark and saw Main Street USA all alight and the Castle glowing in the distance. That could not be beat. It is really an unbelievable experience.

There was a very tough out and back in 2012 between miles 18-20 and this is where I struggled in 2012. I lost a minute per mile from mile 20 but still finished upright. In 2013 this was eliminated with the run through ESPN (although that seemed like it went on forever but that may have been the excessive heat).

I liked the 2013 course and will be looking forward to running it again. At this time they haven’t announced the 10K course but I believe it will be in EPCOT where all the races start.

So, I’m registered and looking forward to the four days of early wake ups (start times are 6:30, 5:30, 5:30 and 5:30), carb loading on Mickey shaped treats, trying my first Dole Whip which everyone seems to know what they are but me and meeting new friends and sharing the experience.  Logistically this needs to be a solo trip as my eldest will be in grade school and my wife and I are taking turns to participate in runDisney events next year so we can look after the boys. She will be signing up for the Princess Half Marathon in February 2014.  Don’t worry boys, Daddy will bring you some overcompensating gifts home!

I’m planning to use the same training plan I used for last year’s Goofy Challenge which is to use Hal Higdon’s Marathon Intermediate 1 plan to get me through the Philadelphia Marathon and then use Hal’s Multiple Marathons plan for the period between Philadelphia and the Dopey Challenge with an adjustment on the weekends so that my Saturday runs are at least half the Sunday run in length (see my plan here). Wish me luck.

Okay, so I’m signed up. What I now need to do is to train hard and healthily to get me to the starting line but also, and often the hardest part, is to raise the required donations for the cause I am running for. Autism Speaks is a charity near and dear to me. My niece in the UK was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and although I am not able to be there on a day to day basis to help, by raising funds and awareness I am doing what I can to help her and similar families. Over the next few months I will be raising funds for this cause.  If you would like to make a contribution I would be very appreciative. You can follow this link. Feel free to share this link if you can.

Autism Speaks

If you have any great fundraising ideas that would be great too. I’m planning a virtual 5K later this year (watch out for it) which may have a Disney theme with a bit of a twist. You have been warned!!

So, let me know if you are also signed up for any of the Walt Disney Marathon weekend races in 2014. What you are looking forward to most? What you are most apprehensive about? Let’s share this journey together.

5 thoughts on “Here we go again…let’s do this together

  1. I’m in for Dopey…and I’m downright terrified! It will be my first marathon. People are calling me crazy, too, which clearly I am…but I think I can do this! I know it’ll all be worth it in the end! I look forward to following your training! ;-D

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