I can’t believe that 2 weeks ago I had completed the WDW Marathon! It’s certainly been crazy since touching down in the US and heading over to Walt Disney World. Firstly, I need to say that place is HUGE! I’ve been over to Disneyland enough but WDW is a whole other experience.
Then there’s the whole experience of the Dopey Challenge – and add to the fact that there was a whole crazy weather thing going on. I wasn’t prepared for the chilliness whatsoever and on top of that it rained for the entire 10K event! So when it came to the business end of the Dopey Challenge the humidity set in, which although I had been training here in summer, I still wasn’t prepared for. It wasn’t overly uncomfortable, just uber sweaty! Luckily I also brought along my Orange Mud HydraQuiver DoubleBarrel for both the half and the full so I had liquid within reach for the entire race. There was no way that I could get dehydrated!!
Unfortunately the humidity made me so tired between the half and the full, plus I think there were a little first time nerves in between the two events. I had made it almost halfway through Dopey but the ultimate challenge remained!
3am the next morning I didn’t give the distance any more thought. The best thing about the Dopey Challenge is that your brain literally becomes Dopey. I was up and ready to run in the direction that they pointed me in and wasn’t giving it much more thought other than the fact that I didn’t have to get up super early the next morning. This was it!
The course sets of the same as the half course, running from Epcot through to the Magic Kingdom and back down where it then heads towards Animal Kingdom, down to World Wide of Sports, up through Hollywood Studios and then what seems to be the longest mile to the Boardwalk and into Epcot’s World Showcase and finally to the finish.
My gameplan was honestly to get to Animal Kingdom (halfway) so that I could ride Expedition Everest – the entire reason why I chose WDW to be my first marathon, and then go from there. It all went well until I got to the Magic Kingdom and saw so many characters that aren’t normally out. Gameplan was thrown out the window! It was all about fun and I was making sure that this first marathon would be remembered!
The only concern that I had was that I needed to make the maximum pace allowed, I did start in corral J so I already had a head start on the sweepers but just needed to be mindful. I wasn’t going for a goal time overall, just to finish and have the best fun while doing it!
By the time I got to the rollercoaster I was about 45mins ahead of the sweepers. There was a 10min wait for the ride with single rider but I wasn’t too concerned – I wasn’t going to be coming out again for this one so it was a now or never experience. And….. it was AWESOME!!!! If you ever do the WDW Marathon and manage to get through Animal Kingdom when it’s open I totally recommend riding it. It definitely gets you powered up for the remaining 21km!
The remaining race was great, I was determined to get through and finish. WWoS (Wide World of Sports) was a crazy maze of going around but luckily since it was my first time in the area, I wasn’t too concerned and it seemed to pass quickly (I’ve heard this is the worst spot), I guess it’s also bad since you essentially pass the entrance to Hollywood Studios so you know you’re getting close, but still need to make about 10k in distance.
I was super excited to hit Hollywood Studios, but even more excited to see my sister cheering on the course down the main street of the park. It was completely unexpected and I couldn’t stop screaming! I had this, I was feeling good and I was going to finish!
That is until you hit that spot between Hollywood Studios and the backend of Boardwalk. That seemed to be the longest mile ever! But I keep plodding away, getting closer and closer to the hotels that mark the entrance to the final part of the race (and where so many people are cheering everyone on!).
Onwards to World Showcase and it was great to chat to other runners, who were celebrating early with drinks in hand ready to cross that line. I must admit I started getting a little emotional at this point, it was a realisation that this was really happening. So many weeks of training, and I wasn’t hurting at all. I was feeling amazing, and so when I turned the corner and saw that gospel choir I was welling up. When I saw that finish line I was fighting back the tears, I spotted my parents on the sidelines and I started jumping for joy, I DID IT!!!!
Finally, as the medal was being placed over my head I couldn’t hold it in. I was crying like nothing else, but I had the BIGGEST smile on my face. I went 42.2km and had the best time doing it. Additionally, I also had completed the Dopey Challenge which a year ago seemed to be the craziest goal – but I guess the saying is real, if you put your mind to it, you really can achieve anything!