runDisney is at it again. For those runners who often thought Marathon Weekend’s Goofy and a Half Challenge was crazy (running the half marathon on Saturday and full marathon on Sunday) we’ve now hit insanity. This is because runDisney recently announced the Dopey Challenge for the 2014 Marathon Weekend in January. Continue reading to find out more about the Dopey Challenge and why you should think long and hard before you sign-up to run it.
Dopey versus Goofy
We all know Goofy could probably put a hurting on Dopey if they ever met in a back alley. Goofy is physically bigger and probably stronger than Dopey. But, put that aside for a second and let’s examine their names. What’s worse, a dope or a goof? Most would agree a dope is worse, and in the case of runDisney’s latest challenge we’d have to agree. The Goofy Race and a Half Challenge demands that runners complete a half marathon and full marathon; 39.3 miles within a two day period. If you want to take the Goofy Challenge to the next level you can become a dope and try to run 48.6 miles over a 4 day time period as a participant in the Dopey Challenge. Yes, you read that correctly; 48.6 miles. That’s roughly the distance between Orlando and Port Canaveral, FL (a tidbit for Disney Cruise Line fans). I guess that’s putting this latest challenge into perspective, especially for those of you who’ve traveled from Disney World to the Disney Cruise Line terminal. Running the Dopey challenge includes running the Family Fun Run 5k on Thursday, the Inaugural Disney World 10k on Friday, the half marathon on Saturday, and finally the full marathon on Sunday. Each day the distance gets longer and tougher.
Should I or Shouldn’t I?
There’s certainly a draw to running a new runDisney race or challenge. Inaugural races and challenges are usually given extra care and attention. There’s a new race course, new entertainment, and a new finisher’s medal that is usually amped up for the inaugural race. If you can complete the Dopey challenge you are looking at some serious Disney bling. You will earn 6 different medals; one for finishing each of the four races, another for completing the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge, and finally the inaugural Dopey Challenge medal. Just the thought of wearing 6 medals around your neck gives me a backache.
But, let’s put things into perspective here. We’re talking 48.6 miles. Seeing the medals and all of the fun that comes with running a Disney race can distort the fact that you still have to complete 48.6 miles. Conquering that distance requires a lot of training, discipline, focus, and other health and fitness activities to prepare yourself for the pounding your body will take during the challenge. You can sometimes forget what running a mile means. You really need to know 48.6 miles is nothing to “sneeze” at (sorry for the pun, Dopey).
You need to make a responsible decision on whether or not to sign-up for the Dopey Challenge. There’s certainly an allure of attempting it, but there’s also a safety issue here. Your body needs to be ready for the pounding, endurance, and mental toughness necessary to complete that distance. If you’re traveling to Orlando for the challenge you certainly don’t want to fall ill or get hurt during one of the races. Getting sick or hurt is one thing, but getting sick or hurt away from home is something totally different. Before you sign-up for the challenge really evaluate if you’re ready to tackle 48.6 miles. You may want to consider trying the Goofy Challenge first before attempting the Dopey Challenge. If you’re successful with the Goofy Challenge try the Dopey Challenge the following year.
Weather, Weather, What’s the Weather Report?
January weather at Walt Disney World is an absolute toss-up. It could be a blustery 30 degrees or a sultry 80 degrees with an additional heat index. You never know what to expect. Case in point, This past January 2013 saw runDisney issuing a race warning to runners because of the extreme heat and high temperatures. In January of 2010 the temperatures were in the low 30s with snow and sleet. A very unusual phenomenon for Central Florida, but nonetheless it did happen and could occur again.
The point is running 48.6 magical miles is difficult by itself, but if you factor in difficult weather conditions the Dopey Challenge becomes even more difficult and dangerous. Sure we can cross our fingers and hope for brilliant running weather conditions, but I certainly wouldn’t count on it considering past weather trends for Marathon Weekend. Definitely take this into consideration when deciding if you’re going to attempt the Dopey or even the Goofy Challenge.
Ouch! That Hurt!
A pulled muscle? Blisters? Heat exhaustion? Nope, none of that. I’m talking about the hefty price tag that comes with the Dopey Challenge. At $495 per person, plus a $25 active.com registration fee, it almost seems like you get a lot for the money. With 4 races, 6 race shirts, 6 medals, and some pretty good course entertainment it doesn’t seem like a bad value. It’s expensive, but considering runDisney’s track record for coordinating these races it’s not bad. Unfortunately, for those of us who have to travel to Orlando for the challenge the $495 price isn’t the end of the money needed for the weekend. We still have to factor in airfare, hotel, theme park tickets, and food and beverage costs. In the end the weekend that was supposed to challenge our endurance level now challenges us financially.
I’m not saying the hefty price for Marathon Weekend should stop you from going. I personally believe any investment you make in your health and fitness lifestyle is a great one. Just make sure to stop and think about everything that goes with Marathon Weekend financially. There’s even more purchasing opportunities at the Marathon Weekend expo like the new runDisney New Balance branded shoes or the runDisney Dooney & Bourke handbags. When you add it all up Marathon Weekend is a huge investment for any one person or family to take into consideration before deciding to runDisney.
Have you found yourself sitting at your kitchen table with your hand on your head contemplating the Dopey Challenge? I know for a brief moment I did, but it was short-lived. I quickly took into consideration a lot of factors that decided my race lineup for Marathon Weekend. If you decide to take on the Dopey challenge just keep in mind what you’re signing-up for and evaluate if you’re ready to give it a try.
RunDisney keeps pushing the limits of their challenges. At 48.6 miles the Dopey Challenge is the toughest of them all. I guess if runners keep selling out these challenges new and more difficult challenges will emerge. What’s next, the Disney World Ultra Marathon (100 magical miles)? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure we’d better start stocking up on running shoes and gel shots. We’re going to need them.
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Category: Disney World