Dopey Challenge – Final Thoughts & Cost Analysis

For all of you who are all Dopey’d out, this will be the last post.  I wanted to do a final one and make it more of a highlight reel and then go over the cost and what is associated with the fee verses expectation and hype and well, the BLING FACTOR.  To make it clear, I went to Disney to run the Dopey Challenge as a social event.  For fun.  Not for time.  Not to be competitive.  But to spend time with my running friends, hang out and become one of the Inaugural Dopey Challenge Runners.  That’s why I went.  We were also focused on enduring the event and making sure that we ran slow enough to take it all in and enjoy the experience instead of just zooming past everything and putting the hurt on in an attempt to run fast times.  It was all about the experience for us.  We wanted to walk away with great memories.  Have amazing stories to tell for years to come.  Enjoy a beer at the end as a triumph, not lay on the ground withering in pain like so many others we saw.  Part of the fun for us was creating silly photos that we can laugh at far into the future.  Thanks, Julian for introducing us to the “monkey” pose.  I’m still not really sure what we were doing but maybe you Brits can fill me in sometime.  All I know was that it was funny as all get out in our sleep deprived state.

monkey pose

We utilized the Disney photogs A LOT, much to the dismay of some of the other serious runners who were pissy irritated when we would all stop to do something stupid funny for the camera.

funny 10K pic

We clowned around.  Whooooped.  Hollered.  Played loud music DURING the race.  Sang.  Danced.  Annoyed other runners.  Made memories. 

holding jason

My favorite race by far was the 10K because it was far enough that we weren’t too crowded but short enough that we could have fun without worrying about conserving energy.  We ran a decent pace but still stopped for silly photos.  And we got to meet Minnie Mouse at the end.

Minnie & Me

The temps are, of course, unpredictable and while it wasn’t “too”  hot this year, we did have several days in the 70s with 100% humidity.  Normally I melt in the heat and humidity but this year I did GREAT!  What was the difference, you ask?   My treadmill miles.  All those stupid training runs which I did inside on the treadmill when I didn’t have any other choice.  Huge benefit to me.  Those sweaty miles allowed my body to function better under the warm, “moist” conditions.  Finally, an answer to improving  my performance in the harsher conditions?  Let’s only hope.

What I did right for the Dopey Challenge?  I was very chill about it and focused on fun.  I ran conservatively every day, even marathon day.  I was prepared.  Shockingly, I met many people who hadn’t trained for the Challenge at all.  Some of them finished, some did not.  Out of the 7000 Dopey’s who started on THUR in the 5K, only 6200 finished.  How did I train?  Not via any “dopey” internet training plan cuz they all looked like the mileage was WAY too high, in my opinion, but I did train.  I focused on CrossFit 2x a week.  In the last 6 weeks prior to Dopey, I had little to no running at the beginning of the week, then piled on the miles at the end of the week.  Almost always running 4 consecutive days, with low miles on THUR & FRIs and then bigger miles on the weekend.  Total rest on Mondays.    I was also running a lot of hills and trails in order to prep for the Huff 50K at the end of December.  I was counting on those trail miles (and hills) to build my stabilizer muscles and toughen up my feet for whatever Disney tossed my way.  It worked well.  I basically trained for a hilly, slow marathon.

What I did wrong?  My tummy was my one and only issue this weekend.  I had some aches and pains, most of which were due to my slip/fall at the finish line of the 10K {totally my own fault} and a Plantar Fasciitis flare up but everything was manageable.  The IBD  gave me a lot of hassles in the half and full.  If I could have a “do over”, I would try an Imodium pill before those races.  I have shied away from Imodium in the past because it has side effects, like dehydration, but multiple incidents of “bathroom stops” are also dehydrating so I think I would have taken the chance and it’s something I’m going to try in the future. 

Where I stayed?  We stayed off site at a residential villa complex.   This probably brought us slightly earlier wake-ups in order to ensure we were on property with plenty of time to spare but it also lowered our overall expenses.  It also gave us the opportunity to cook our own food, which had to help with both my tummy and my budget.

The cost?  I paid $500 for registration, then another $25ish for an active.com fee.  I also did an add-on for a necklace which commemorated the Inaugural Dopey Challenge.  That was about $20-$25.  See necklace below.  Total cost for my registration (plus necklace) ended up at $550.

Dopey Necklace

Included in the registration?  1 cotton tee for the Family 5K and 5 gender specific technical tees for each of the other 5 races (10K, half marathon, full marathon, goofy challenge & dopey challenge).

shirts

6 amazing medals.  Honestly the bling is the best that I’ve ever received and I don’t run for the bling or even really pay much attention to it.  I hang all my medals on a stair post, the kids play with them, and when too many accumulate, I take them downstairs to the basement and toss them in a box.  But I have yet to put these Disney medal on the post.  They are still on the kitchen counter.  I really don’t know what to do with them.  It seems like a shame to just hang them on the post.  I don’t have a medal hanger/rack.  I don’t want a medal rack/hanger cuz I don’t have anywhere to hang that either.  Just not sure what to do with these babies but they are amazing.  The first photo is the medals for the four races:  Top Left – Marathon (it’s huge and heavy), Bottom Left – Half Marathon, Top Right – 10K, Bottom Right – 5K.  Then the Goofy and Dopey medals.  All beautiful.  

4 Races - 4 medals  Goofy & Dopey medals

The registration fee included the 4 races, with tons of workers/volunteers, characters who were “on-duty” and working for our enjoyment at various intervals.  I’d say there was a character siting every 1.5 miles or so.  Lots of work put into each scene too where the characters were located.  Each spot really told the story of the movie in which the character starred.  Clocks & Mile Markers at every mile.  Massive firework displays sending off each corral.  The fireworks also got better and better with each day which I thought was very impressive.  Medical tents, aid/water stations {with loads of port o potties} every 1-1.5 miles.  Cliff Bar shots & chew stations on course.  Banana stations.  Food stations with pretzels and/or candy.  Even a fruit snack and chocolate stop in Hollywood Studios during the marathon. 

To be honest, I can’t even imagine how much planning would even go into something like this.  The Disney Marathon was marathon #8 for me and many of the previous marathons were Chicago Marathons so I know a big marathon when I see it.  I know what it takes to do it right and understand that the planning cycle is year round.  The Disney event was even a bit “bigger” than your big city marathon.  I really enjoyed it.  All of it.  And I appreciated the effort, the planning and the flawless execution of everything from the race down to the countless number of people they needed for parking the cars {for free, no parking expenses}, running the security for bag check, down to the pre-race party with a DJ who was energetic and dancing each and EVERY morning of our 4 day event.  Was it worth the money?  YES! 

Would I do it again?  Probably not.  This was a big price tag for me and my family and it was a huge time commitment for me being gone that long.  It took a lot of extra effort for Hubby.  It tough being gone from work that long.  Honestly, between travel (snow delays/flight cancelations) and the race, I was gone from Tuesday afternoon until Sunday night.  I didn’t get home until Sunday night at 8:30 pm.  I had very little time with the family on SUN night, just snuggled the little guy, talked a bit, showed everyone the bling and the various gifts that I purchased for them, then we went to bed so I could go to work on Monday morning.  I had fun.  I enjoyed my experience.  I think it was worth the money.  But it’s a one and done for me.  I’d rather go elsewhere and make more memories, run different races and have a new experience.   But that’s just me.  I met many people who were Perfectly Goofy and running their 9th consecutive Goofy Challenge. I met a lady who was returning to run her 21st Disney Marathon.  She has ran EVERY ONE that they have ever held.  Super cool, but I want to run ALL THE RACES so can’t afford too many repeats unless they are in my backyard.  Smile

Great experience and I’d recommend it to anyone.  Take it slow and easy.  Train.  Be ready mentally and physically and you too can be  DOPEY!  Take LOTS of pictures. 

Dopey Challenge times:

  • 0:29:33 – 5K time
  • 1:00:06 – 10K time
  • 2:23:01 – Half Marathon time
  • 4:59:37 – Full Marathon time
  • 7:22:38 – Goofy Challenge time
  • 8:15:17 – Dopey Challenge time
  • $10.80 per mile {$525 registration fee/48.6 miles}
  • 98.6 cents per minute {$525 registration fee/532 minutes}

Worth the money?  You tell me.  I feel as if I had a $1 worth of fun for each and every minute I was on course and that doesn’t even factor in the medals & tees.  Of course, you can’t replicate my Dopey Rockstar pals but I’m sure you have your own pals who would make your experience just as amazing.

Group_10K

** Had An Amazing Time with the Dopey Challenge ** Amanda – TooTallFritz **

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23 thoughts on “Dopey Challenge – Final Thoughts & Cost Analysis

  1. Sounds like a crazy experience! But were there really people doing a DISNEY race for time? It just seems like if you’re a competitive runner, there are plenty of other races to do. To me, Disney race is about the experience, the characters, etc. But … whatever, to each their own. This is one of the few races where I don’t think you should feel bad for stopping for pictures!

    • Yes, Maggie some people were running for time! I was a bit surprised too. Many threatening BQs, which was even more amazing to me cuz I was on the complete opposite end of the spectrum and just playing for fun. I wish them all the best but certainly enjoyed my methodology.

      Sent from my iPhone

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  2. Sounds like you had the right attitude and had a blast! That is awesome. I agree with Maggie. Anyone super competitive in the Dopey Challenge is… a dope! I would love to try one of these challenges, but Disney is NOT FOR ME. I am glad that it was all super organized and awesome for you!

  3. Great analysis TTF and right attitude not taking it too seriously. Yes…there are some that run some of those races for time…at least when I ran the marathon in 2008…there were some elite or professional amateurs running that were way sub-3 hr runners. Can’t recall if they had prize money for that one. Anyways…the majority of people that run those races…and especially the challenges…are going to be just like you…running it slow and easy and focusing on having a fun time. When I ran it though…I did try to run a fast time…but humidity got to me and by 20-miles I was slogging it out just to finish. When I did try to have some fun giving one of those “characters” a hand slap…I hurt my hand cause the hand on that costumed dog (I think it was Goofy) was thick, hard plastic! No more hand slaps after that. And…if you got tummy issues…try carrying some of those pepto-bismo chew tablets. I use them and carry them and have had some good success containing those pit-stops! Glad your back and you had a Dopey-Good time!

  4. Very interesting! I’m not into the whole disney thing so I would probably skip out on this. I know Disney races are expensive but it didn’t seem too bad!
    I can’t imagine doing this for time?! Why wouldn’t you pick a more affordable race to “race”? I think making it about the experience was a good choice!

  5. This is a great summary! I was really doubtful when I first heard of this challenge because it sounded just crazy, but it sounds like you did it the right way–the fun way! Those medals ARE awesome! Congrats!

  6. I am a Run Disney fan so I totally appreciated this review! Although I didn’t get to run the Marathon last year, I did volunteer and was a spectator watching my sister finish. I agree that Disney goes way out and it just may be the happiest race on earth. I will be participating in the glass slipper challenge in Feb ( all the same races except the Full marathon). I’m going off to read your individual race recaps now!

    • Good luck in the Glass Slipper Challenge. That sounds SO MUCH FUN! The full marathon is overrated. I could have easily skipped it. LOL!

      On Tue, Jan 14, 2014 at 9:38 PM, TooTallFritz

  7. Great round up! It sounds like you had the right strategy and enjoyed the day – Disney has been on my race wish list for a while now, your recap makes me want to do it even more!

  8. So glad to hear all your thoughts on this. A friend and I are planning to go next year (although, I will not do the Marathon). We, also, are considering this a one and done kind of thing.

    Sounds like a lot of fun! Looking forward to my own experience next year!

  9. I just love your post – the honesty about the race, the MATH regarding the race, and reading about all of the fun you had. This might go on my list for 2015 (I’ve been considering it for awhile)… but it would be a huge thing to afford for me, too! So glad you had FUN during this race 🙂 Congratulations!

  10. I ran for fun too but enjoyed the full marathon more than the half marathon. Oh well. I’m doing the rest of the Disney races this year for fun too but don’t think I’ll ever do them again. They’re too expensive! Once will be enough for me. Oh, and a HUGE congratulations to you!!!

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