Today is the day that Annual Pass Holders and Disney Vacation Club Members who are also runners have been waiting for. Today is the day they can pre-register for the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend! If you’re not an Annual Pass Holder or Disney Vacation Club Member, fear not. Regular registration opens next Tuesday, April 22nd. If you are an Annual Pass Holder or Disney Vacation Club Member, you might want to read Matt’s, The Run Streak blog about how to register. If you do follow Matt’s advice on how to register, but find that the race is filled up, check out Patty from My No-Guild Life’s blog post today. So, even if you find that you are unable to take advantage of the pre-registration, there is still hope.
Are you on the fence about registering?
Last year, I was in that place. I had just finished my first half marathon at the 2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon and was registered for the 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon and Inaugural Disneyland 10K and started to think about doing something more. With only that 1 half marathon under my belt, I took the time to consider running a full marathon. It seemed crazy at the time. However, deciding to run the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon turned out to be a fantastic decision. At the end of the day, I felt like if I was going to do a first 26.2 mile adventure, running through 4 theme parks along the way would be the most ideal for me. The theme parks provided a lot of distractions from the thought that I running 26.2 miles. Plus, they gave me points to run to and broke up the 26.2 miles nicely. I loved the fact that the last 3-4 miles were in Disney theme parks with only the Boardwalk area in between. Crowd support over this last distance is amazing! No one really writes about how fantastic the crows are at Disney’s Hollywood Studios during the marathon. But, their support gave me so much energy. You can read about my experience at the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon (Part 1, and Part 2). So, if you’re on the fence, I would say to take the plunge.
For those familiar with this big week of racing at Walt Disney World, you know that this week offers a variety of races unparalleled at any other runDisney race week. During the Walt Disney World Marathon week, there will be a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, and Full Marathon. The races begin on Thursday, January 8, 2015 with the 5K family fun run and finish with the Marathon on January, 11, 2015. Now, for those of you who want more than ONE race, runDisney has you covered. You can mix and match all you want. For example, my wife and I did the 10K and I did the Full Marathon. However, there are 2 challenges that can earn you more medals. This year is the 10th Anniversary of the Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge. As you can see above, there will be a very special medal for those that complete the challenge. The Goofy challenge involves running the Walt Disney World Half Marathon on Saturday, January 10, 2015 and running the Walt Disney World Marathon on Sunday, January 11, 2015. After all, you’d have to be Goofy to run a half marathon and a full marathon on back to back days. Right? For the folks that choose this challenge, you’ll earn 3 medals. You’ll get the finishers medals for the half marathon and the full marathon for finishing those races. Plus, you’ll get the above pictured medal. So, 3 medals for 2 races.
Now, if 3 medals and 39.3 miles aren’t enough, there’s the Dopey Challenge where you can earn 6, that’s right 6, medals for running in all 4 races on consecutive days. So, for running 48.6 miles over 4 days, you can take home the finisher medals for the Walt Disney World 5K, Walt Disney World 10K, Walt Disney World Half Marathon, and Walt Disney World Marathon. Additionally, since part of the Dopey Challenge involves completing the Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge, you’ll get the Goofy medal as well. To top all of that off, you get the Dopey Challenge Medal for 6 medals in 4 days of racing. As the saying goes, you’d have to be pretty Dopey to think of doing that.
For me, it was enough to finish the 10K and Full Marathon. Each person needs to consider for themselves what they can or think they can accomplish. I had never run a full marathon before and had never run in humidity before. So, I played it conservative. Keep in mind, BEFORE, registering for any of the races that this will not be a regular Walt Disney World vacation for you. There are the races to consider in your planning. I was very concerned with over scheduling myself while in Florida. I have a tab at the top where you can find all of my posts on that trip as well as links to my Flickr photo galleries. In closing, I want to highlight a few posts that might be helpful in making your decision about not only whether to take on any of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend races.
- First up, I always love reading Danielle from Live, Run, Grow and her thoughts on races. Check out this blog post from her. In this post, you will not only see her thoughts about registering for another go around at the Dopey Challenge and what she’s planning on doing for 2015, but, there is a link to her final thoughts regarding the 2014 Dopey Challenge. You should read that blog post as well.
- Next, I’d recommend you reading Kim from Maker Mother Marathon Runner and her post on the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon. She’s also got postings from each race along the way on her blog. If you haven’t read Kim’s blog, you should because it’s awesome. She’s also posted her tips about registering for Marathon weekend here.
- Third, I’d head over to Linzie from See Sharp Run and check out his final thoughts on the 2014 Dopey Challenge here. Linzie runs so many races that it’s hard to keep up with. He’s running the Boston Marathon next week. So, this guy is another good one for gaining perspective.
- Also, be sure to read the race recaps from Pam and Christine at We Run Disney. Christine’s recap of the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon can be found here. Pam’s recap can be found here. Both of these ladies had an amazing Walt Disney World Marathon that capped off their finishing the Dopey Challenge. So, you could say that they finished the Dopey Challenge in style with marathon PR’s.
- In addition to the above, you should also check out runDisney veteran Heather from Through Heather’s Looking Glass and her final thoughts, here. It’s always good to see the perspectives of others who finished the Dopey Challenge. Each offers insight to what it is to run in these 4 races.
- One guy I met before the Walt Disney World 10K was Ian from Philly2Goofy. You should read his blog on the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon here. In it, he gives his final thoughts on the Dopey as well as how he feels about the Dopey Challenge v. the Goofy’s Race and a Half.
- Lastly, Krissy from Outrunning the Monorail has this post about why she chose not to run the Dopey Challenge. I think this is an important post to read because it gives you some good reasons for choosing against running the Dopey Challenge.
As for me, I wouldn’t do the Dopey Challenge. Why? I value my sleep too much. Having to deal with 4 consecutive mornings that start between 2:30 and 3:30am is just too much for me to wrap my head around. As I’ve learned in my running journey, there are three parts to running. There’s the physical part which I think I could deal with of running 48.6 miles in 4 days. There’s the logistical part in which the price tag of registration and the cost of getting to and staying at Walt Disney World might be too much. Lastly, the mental part. I think that the idea of waking up so early so many days in a row would be my undoing. You sort of have to want to do this to begin with and I really don’t want so many early wake up calls. From what I’ve read and what I heard over the course of Marathon Weekend, the wake up calls seem to have been the hardest part for so many of the Dopey runners. It seemed like they took to the strategy of not running the 5K, running a little at the 10K and then picked either the half marathon or the full marathon for their main race.
If you are unsure but curious about any of the races, check out the blogs I linked in this post. There are 8 runners who blogged about their experiences. The posts I linked are only part of the story. I think that all of them have blogged about each race they participated in. So, dig a little deeper into their blogs if you want more information. Also, feel free to click on the tab above for the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Trip and you can see what my week looked like. Also, if you have any questions feel free to send me an email at email@example.com. That’s the email address I have set up devoted to this blog specifically. You never know, this could be you next January…