Thursday, January 14, 2010

Disney - Dopey Challenge, by Mike MacIntyre

The Davidson Area Running Team is pleased to post Mike MacIntyre's recap of not one, not two, but three races he completed last week at Walt Disney World in Orlando.  You may have heard of the Disney marathon and half marathon, which if you run both qualifies you as a completer of the Goofy Challenge.  Well, Mike took it one more level and ran the 5k in addition to the half and full marathons, thereby making him part of the unofficial Dopey Challenge.  Way to go, Mike!

"The weekend started with a bus trip from the hotel to the Race Expo at Disney’s Wide World of Sports.  They do an amazingly great job organizing considering they had over 33,000 finishers for the half and the full.  I was doing the unofficial “Dopey” (5k on Friday, Half on Saturday, and Full on Sunday) but Disney does not yet recognize this feat of insanity, so I spent a lot of money on official “Goofy Challenge” (the full and the half in the same weekend) items.  There was everything at the Expo I could ever want, except for a 39.3 sticker.  Good news – My 5th Annual Goofy water bottle is BPA–Free.  We went to the Pasta Party at Epcot and had a blast with friends and met some great people from the Achilles group from NYC (contact me if you want to help a disabled athlete complete a marathon in NYC this fall)."

"I ran the 5k with my wife in cold, but manageable temps in low 30s.  This was only her third race since injuring her foot last year (her first half will be the Wine and Dine half marathon at Disney in October).  This run started outside Epcot at 7 (on bus at 5:15 with 5 hours sleep) and then went through Epcot to finish close to the start."

"After a day in Animal Kingdom and 4 hours sleep, I boarded the bus at 3:30 on Saturday for a most memorable half.  The sleet started before the race and lasted about 2 hours before a brief stoppage and then turning to rain.  The course started outside Epcot and then went in Epcot and then out to the Magic Kingdom then through the Castle (Smile for the cameras!) then back thru Epcot to finish just outside Epcot.  PR was not going to happen due to so many people and the fact I was running 42.4 miles in 3 days, so I just enjoyed my long run.  After a warm shower, I joined the wife for the rest of the day in Epcot."

"After 4 more hours sleep, I got on the bus at 3:00.  The Marathon started at 5:40 with wind chills in the low 20s (that’s when my wife checked after waking up several hours later), but that didn’t stop the high school bands and entertainers from trying their best to keep us motivated.  I got to see Epcot and Magic Kingdom much like the day before, but we also added Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios to the tour.  At the halfway point and realizing that I had just completed a marathon in a little over 26 hours, I added some walking to the mix to save my feet.  After finishing, I got what I had been planning for since January 2009 when I completed my first 3.5 mile run in over 20 years- the coveted Goofy Challenge Medal.  The weekend ended with a plane trip home with my temporary Goofy tattoo on my cheek, my Goofy medal around my neck over my Goofy Challenge sweatshirt that was hiding my Goofy 39.3 T-shirt.  What the heck, I’m only doing it once!"

"I would recommend this challenge once to anyone, but I will not do it again due to the natural tendency to try to pack in as much Disney as I can between races, and the fact that I am currently very sick of seeing Epcot (for those counting I got to be in Epcot once on Thursday, once on Friday, three times on Saturday, and twice on Sunday, and the start/finish for all three races is just outside of the park)."

"Due to logistics, park and traffic coordination, Disney gets you to the start line way before the race starts.  However, even after waking up way too early three days in a row, I will confess that I will be going back in 2013 to get the 20th Marathon commemorative medal.  The overall experience was great, as Disney really does make the experience great for the runners and their supporters.  The bling is also really cool, as you can see from the photo."

Mike MacIntyre


  1. Well done, Mike. I also did the unofficial Dopey Challenge this year and I wrote up race reports for the half and the full marathons, but the 5k was fairly uneventful. It's good to hear there is at least one other person out there crazy enough to go the 42.4 distance.

  2. Great job, Devin. Glad to know I'm not the only "Dopey" in the area. Now all that is left for my year of Disney Madness is the half in Disneyland and then the Wine and Dine half. Anyone going to do either of these races?

  3. Mike, I'm not sure if you are "Dopey", "Goofy" or just plain CrAzY for doing this but you are inspiring!

  4. Well Done!! It's amazing how many others did the "Dopey Challenge", that's a lot of miles and very little sleep. Kudos to all of you!


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