RunDisney announces The New Dopey Medal
Running events at WDW have become a destination event in themselves for several years now. What started out as one race over 20 years ago has morphed into a whole sub-culture of Disney distance athletes. Events are spread out all throughout the year and take in all sorts of themes, from the January Disney Marathon that started it all to the Wine and Dine Half in November, to the Tower of Terror 10K to name only a few. One of the bonuses to running these events is not only another excuse to head down to the World, but also getting to wear your medal around the parks in the days following the race and seeing and high-fiving other runners wearing their medals. One of the unique things to emerge from the RunDisney events has been the Goofy Challenge. For those runners hard-core enough – or maybe crazy enough (dare we say Goofy enough?), this meant running two major running events in the same weekend: the half marathon on a Saturday and the full on Sunday for a total of 39.3 miles through all four parks in just one weekend! Any who take on this special challenge receive not just the medal for the half marathon and another medal for the full, but a third medal commemorating their incredible achievement in running the Goofy Challenge. Now RunDisney has announced something new for the 2014 WDW Marathon Weekend that will inaugurate a distance runner achievement even newer and bolder: The Dopey Challenge. It will be an event with FOUR races and SIX medals to win for all those strong enough to compete and complete. To complete the Dopey Challenge, a runner has to start with a 5K on Thursday, run a newly inaugurated 10K on Friday, the Half Marathon on Saturday and the Full Marathon on Sunday, for a total of 48.6 miles!
Why would anyone take on a challenge like this? Actually, why would anyone pay extra money and take time away from their vacation to push their bodies mile after grueling mile when they could be sitting at The Rose and Crown Pub in EPCOT having a yard of Bass Ale and munching on fish and chips? If you were speaking strictly as a runner, there are the usual answers about working out, staying in shape, etc. But Disney running is a whole World apart. Running a Disney event is not just a race, it’s rapidly becoming a destination in itself that people time their whole WDW vacation around. The appeal is wide and varied. The Disney Race experience starts hours before, with live music, DJ’s, character appearances, and dancing. There are hundreds who choose to run in costume, from a simple set of Tinkerbell wings to elaborate costumes that rival the characters in the parks. For some there’s the surreal experience of running the parks at night. Recently my sisters and I ran the Wine and Dine Half Marathon together. The views of the Animal Kingdom Park at night, with the moon over Mt Everest, or the sight of the Hollywood Hotel Tower of Terror, or the jaw-dropping Festival of Lights as you are running side by side with thousands of other runners rank as some of the most amazing Disney experiences I’ve ever had in all the years I’ve gone. You can even experience the excitement of a Disney run without ever even lacing up a sneaker. All along the race route, Disney Cast Members and visitors line the streets and parks to cheer on the runners. The last mile is often elbow to elbow with supporters cheering people on to the finish line. In the case of the Wine and Dine, the evening finishes off with a Race After-Party in EPCOT that goes until 4 AM. If you haven’t tried a Disney Run yet, either as a spectator or a runner, make one a part of your next trip. You’ll be in for a treat!