Archive for the ‘5K’ Category

Less Than A Week?!?!?!

Less than a week?!?

Gulp. Just one week into the New Year, I’ll be flying down to Orlando; inevitably it’s because of a runDisney event. It’s for “Marathon Weekend” which has now morphed into a nearly week long series of events. These events include: a 5K fun run, a 10K, Half Marathon, Full Marathon, post-race character breakfasts, race retreats, Pasta in the Park parties, a celebration at Downtown Disney and of course as with all runDisney events, a Health and Wellness Expo. In addition to the four separate races, runDisney is offering two challenges: the Goofy Challenge (Half Marathon and Full Marathon—39.3 miles) and the Dopey Challenge (all four races—48.6 miles). Marathon Weekend is the hallmark of runDisney events. While they strive to make every event great, Marathon Weekend is where it all got started and draws the most attention.

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One testament to how popular Marathon Weekend is, arguably one of the running community’s largest presences, Runner’s World partners with runDisney to offer special packages that provide extras beyond what runDisney regularly offers.

This year, I have been fortunate enough to partner with Travel On A Dream to participate in the Runner’s World Dopey Challenge. Entry into the Runner’s World Challenge has included:

•Registration into the Dopey Challenge

-Bibs for the 5K Fun Run, Minnie 10K, Donald Half Marathon & Mickey Full Marathon

-Race shirts for all four races as well as the Goofy Challenge and Dopey Challenge

-A rubberized medallion for the 5K and five medals for the three races and two challenges (pending completion of each race)

•“Preferred” corral placement for each of the four races–a two corral bump up, no longer an automatic placement in corral B

•Race retreat for the Half and Full Marathon

-Pre-race: hot and cold beverages, fruit and bagels, dedicated stretching area private port-a-johns, and separate bag check

-Post-race: nutritious buffet, massage, private port-a-johns, bag pick-up and live results

-Entrance into the WDW Marathon Weekend breakfast following the 5K & 10K races

•Special escorted walk-out from retreat area to starting line

•A ticket to Pasta in the Park (character buffet dinner in the Millennium Pavilion at Epcot, with a DJ  and a special viewing area for Illuminations: Reflections of Earth)

•A 16 week training plan designed by Runner’s World experts

•Weekly emails from famed runner and coach Burt Yasso

•Twelve months of access to Runner’s World experts about fitness, nutrition, training and injury prevention

•A private internet forum to interact with fellow Runner’s World Challenge participants

•A copy of “Runner’s World: Complete Book of Running”

•A Runner’s World tech shirt

•Four months of premium Runner’s World Personal Trainer

•Private packet pick up at the ESPN Wide World of Sports during the Health and Wellness Expo

•VIP access to the post-race celebration at Downtown Disney

So far, I have seen quite a benefit from being a part of the Runner’s World Challenge group—and most of the benefits of the package are not tangible until being there. I cannot wait to be able to experience the extra perks; specifically the race retreats and delayed walk out, just in case its frigid this year.

Look for updates on Twitter, Facebook and here on the blog over Marathon Weekend to follow my journey to prove just how Dopey I am.

Are you going to be at Marathon Weekend, racing, spectating or just visiting? Let me know and we can meet up. Photo ops are always welcome!

You can follow Todd on Twitter @ToddC4 and follow his race at #irun4ToaD. Good luck Todd!

2013 Chris Smith 5K Challenge Review

The Chris Smith Memorial 5K Challenge was hosted by Cedar Point on Sunday, June 16, 2013 in Sandusky, Ohio. Here is my review of that race event.

A few months ago, a serious runner friend of mine, Frank, contacted me about this race because he knew I was close, liked running (although at about half his pace) and thoroughly enjoy Cedar Point. Due to some scheduling issues, I wasn’t comfortable registering right away. However, with some assistance from Frank, I received answers from the race director’s staff that satisfied my needs. My friend, Daniel,  and I registered and planned on making a weekend vacation out of it.

ImageI wondered about the namesake of the race. Christopher Smith was a highly involved teacher, mentor and community philanthropist. Part of the race fees are given to local area schools and community groups in his name to continue with his passion for making the world a better, happier, safer place.

The biggest concern I had was about packet pick up. Due to work, we would not be able to arrive during the official race packet pick up times, which were Friday and Saturday early afternoons at one of the Cedar Point owned hotels. We were assured that we could pick up our packets the morning of the race, as long as we arrived early enough, without issue.

Early registration was $35 (after June 1 was $40) and included:
• Free parking at Cedar Point the day of the race ($14)
• Discounted admission and early entry to the park, starting at 9 a.m. ($9 off gate price)
• A Tech performance T-shirt (guaranteed to all who register by June 1)
• NEW THIS YEAR: A collectible race medal for ALL participants!
• A souvenir photo with Snoopy and his pals
• Race packet and refreshments
• Disposable chip timing system

Cheaper than a runDisney event, but still more expensive than a 5K around town. I felt the perks and swag and medal (of course I want a medal) were worth it. We registered and booked a hotel room, using my travel agent.


Saturday morning I laid out our race clothes. Good thing I did. I decided to forgo my normal Vibram Five Fingers and utilize my runDisney New Balance shoes. I had forgotten to get out my running socks until I double checked my outfit. Running in shoes without socks isn’t enjoyable. Saturday afternoon we made the two and a half hour trek to Sandusky, Ohio. Once checked in at the hotel, I laid out the race clothes on the desk and we decided to see the quaint charm of “Historic Downtown Sandusky”.

I’m not entirely sure why, but we did not practice advice that most people give. Needless to say, we stumbled back to the hotel a little after 2am. The alarm went off at 5:20, but I was already up. There was hail and thunder and lightning outside the window. Grand. Would they cancel the race? What was their policy? I didn’t read one. Ugh. We got dressed and went anyway, half-heartedly hoping it would continue to lightning and they would call the race so we could go back to sleep.

We arrived and picked up our “packets” at 6:02am. They couldn’t find my bib. After a bit of searching, I was assigned a random back up extra bib. Runner 409. They didn’t have any parking passes, either. It wasn’t a huge deal, as the parking gate attendant let us through with our registration and I had my platinum annual pass if that didn’t work, but it was listed as being included with race registration. They looked at Daniel’s bib for his shirt size and asked me what my size was. I had requested a medium, Daniel requested a small. We were both handed mediums. Why ask what size if you only have mediums? Why did you have us request sizes if you weren’t going to have the size we ordered? There were still at least two dozen race participants check-in after we did, so we weren’t the only ones who got a medium, one-size-fits-or-you-don’t-get-a-shirt, tech shirt. The volunteers were friendly and tried to be helpful, but weren’t able to answer many questions and once someone more official came over, she was rather artful at dancing around a specific answer for anything.

The weather was gradually clearing, yet we still decided to return to the car, about 15 feet from the start line to get out of the rain and have our breakfast juice (apple, strawberry, kiwi, pineapple for that day). About 6:50 we made sure to use the facilities, check the race course and walk back to the start.

Without much fanfare (I am sure I am spoiled by runDisney starts), we were off. There were about 165 people in our wave and 180 in the second wave, following us 30 minutes later. Crossing a bright green line of tape put across the roadway while we were drinking our juice. Almost the first mile was in the parking lot. If you’ve run a 5K at Walt Disney World, this will be rather familiar to you. So much so it was a running joke until we entered the park. (Yes, the pun was intended.)


Image courtesy of Cedar Fair

The rest of the course and finish were inside the park. I wish I could tell you it was memorable. We ran past rides, games and attractions. None operating, of course. There was one character on the course. Franklin, from Peanuts, was in the Camp Snoopy area of the park. He had a character attendant, but she was rather aloof and wasn’t receptive enough to use my camera for an on course photo.


There was a Cedar Point employee posted about every 50 yards to ensure the racers were staying on course and that Cedar Point property wouldn’t be defaced. Of all of these people, one—one single woman—cheered. Except for her, nobody smiled or clapped. Nothing. It was like running past East German guards along the Berlin Wall.

Much slower than most folks, we crossed the finish line. The photographer had stopped taking photos. The person handing out medals was about two strides past the finish line; which meant we came to a dead stop right away. Even at the slower pace which we were keeping, we still had momentum and physics to fight in order to stop. Frank was waiting at the finish as well as some other friends from home, which we hadn’t known were going to be racing.


Our times. Daniel and Unknown Participant 409 (me)

By now the sun was peeking out through the clouds and the puddles were starting to shrink. However, due to the rain and the puddles, we were soaked head to toe. We only found the post-race refreshments because we happened to stumble upon them. Never saw Snoopy for a photo op. Even though our race registration would have gotten us in the park an hour before general opening (9 instead of 10), we decided to go back to the hotel and freshen up to play in the park.

ImageIn my opinion, it was a decent event. There were some logistical issues, as is possible with every event. It was a safe and clean course. That being said, I am not sure I would repeat this event. If I had friends running it again, I would join them; but, I wouldn’t do it solo.

Are You Dopey?

Editor’s Note:  Today’s blog is from our running friend, Todd Carrier.  Todd will be doing a series of blogs for us as he prepares for several races in the next 9 months.  Thanks Todd!

RunDisney recently announced their new ultimate race event, The Dopey Challenge.  This will consist of four races (totaling a staggering 48.6 miles) and if you complete them all within the required time limits will net you six medals.  Why would someone want to get up well before the rooster crows for four consecutive days while on vacation at Walt Disney World to run nearly fifty miles?  I certainly cannot speak for everyone, but I can give you my reasons.

  1. I never thought I would say it, but I like to run.  It’s cathartic.  I know folks who golf to relieve stress or use scream therapy to feel more balanced.  For me, I take to the road.  It’s just me and my shoes and Mother Nature.  Running relaxes me, I feel better after doing it and sleep through the night after a run.
  2. Doing an event with runDisney is pretty spectacular for a Disney fan.  Most distance events take you through at least one of the theme parks.  While you are passing through, you are one of very few people in the park.  And the on course entertainment is pretty hard to beat.
  3. I like medals. RunDisney has some high quality ones, too.  The Dopey Challenge will produce six medals for racers who successfully complete the challenge.  A medallion for the Family 5K Fun Run, a medal each for the Minnie 10K, Donald Half and Mickey Full Marathons, a medal for doing the Goofy (Donald & Mickey) and a Dopey medal for completing the series.

So what will it take to reach this lofty goal of runDisney’s Dopey Challenge?

  • Training.  Physical preparation is obvious, but mental is required, too.
  • Perseverance.  When it’s chilly and rainy out or hot and humid miles need to be logged.
  •  Time.  Running a long distance endurance event doesn’t happen overnight.
  • Dedication.  Often people compare training for a marathon to be the equivalent to a part time job.  Being prepared will take more than the occasional jog around the block and exercise routine.

I look forward to sharing my journey and some insight with you over the next nine or so months until Marathon Weekend 2014 (January 8-12, 2014) when I take on the Dopey Challenge.

Registration opens on Tuesday, April 9th at noon EST at

Marathon Weekend 2014 will consist of five days of race centered events. Here is a look at some of the events for Marathon Weekend:

Wednesday January 8 Thursday January 9 Friday January 10 Saturday January 11 Sunday January 12
Health & Wellness Expo Health & Wellness Expo Health & Wellness Expo Health & Wellness Expo
Kids Races Kids Races Kids Races
Family 5K Fun Run Minnie 10K Donald ½ Marathon Mickey Marathon
Pasta in the Park Pasta in the Park Pasta in the Park Cool Down Party

I would expect the Minnie 10K to sell out quickly along with the Dopey Challenge, as new events have had a recent track record of doing just that with runDisney.

Expedition Everest Challenge? What’s Happening to Me?

I admit it.  I am not what you would call active.  I don’t know that I would go as far as saying couch potato, but I do have an aversion to exercise.  It’s boring, it makes me sweat, it’s all things I don’t like.  My idea of exercise is doing yard work, shoveling snow, going for a walk, cleaning the house.  There is a purpose in each of those activities.

A bit over a year ago, I committed to completing a 5k as a fundraiser for Running for Rescues.  There was more of a purpose to exercising here.  It was helping rescue animals.  I thought I could do this.  After all, a 5k isn’t that long, I have certainly walked that much at Disney World.

My training started as the weather got better in the spring.  I bought a good pair of walking shoes and my husband and I started walking.  Within a couple weeks, we were able to complete a 5k in just over an hour.  We continued training, walking at least a mile a day.  Then in July, we completed an unofficial 5k while on a cruise in Cozumel.  Our time was under an hour!

In September, our village had a 5k that we decided we could try.  This would be our first official race.  We did good, completing the race in 56:15.  Not bad, it was a start!  In October, despite Hurricane Sandy, we managed to get in our 5k on our ToaD Fantasy sailing.  Our time was definitely better, but it wasn’t official so I can’t say exactly how long it took us.

As we were discussing the next ToaD sailing, we realized that the Expedition Everest Challenge would take place the day that we get off the ship.  It starts at 10:00 pm at Animal Kingdom and we would be off the Oasis of the Seas in Fort Lauderdale by mid-morning at the latest.  This was doable!  Many of our cruisers decided they would be signing up.  It came down to my husband and I.  Would we fly home right after the cruise?  Would we go to Disney World and see everyone compete?  Or would we participate ourselves?  We discussed it and decided why not participate!

This would not be just a regular 5k though.  The race, as I said before, starts at 10:00 pm.  It is listed as a 5k trek with obstacles.  Oh no!  What did we get ourselves into?  The runDisney site describes the event:

Take a run on the wild side and uncover the mystery of the clues!

Take a run on the wild side during the Expedition Everest Challenge, a thrill-packed, timed endurance event that combines a 5K adventure run through Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park with the challenge of a scavenger hunt. Your nighttime adventure starts in base camp where you’ll begin a journey along an obstacle strewn course. Then get set for all the excitement of a scavenger hunt in the spectacular setting of Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park. Complete the challenge and escape with a special edition Compass finisher medal.

I asked some friends how involved this would be and they all said we can handle it so we signed up!  The only glitch when I signed up was the Pacing Requirement.  We must be able to keep up a 16 minute mile pace or we will be picked up and transported to the finish line.  Our first official time was an 18 minute mile so we have a little work to do!  Time to get training.

Maybe with our new interest in racing events we should think about a ToaD running team.  What do you think?  Will you join us at the Expedition Everest Challenge?

ToaD is Running for Rescues On Disney Fantasy?

Yes, that’s right!  On our recent Disney Fantasy sailing, we had originally planned to do the 5k on Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.  As we approached the cruise date, we realized that we would be getting to Castaway Cay a bit later than would be comfortable for walking or running.  We wanted to start the race a bit earlier.  That way we would also be able to enjoy our full day on Castaway Cay.

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runDisney presents: The Inaugural Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 Miler

Editor’s Note:  This blog comes to us from Todd Carrier on his review of the Inaugural Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10 Miler race last month.  Thanks Todd!

A hauntingly good time or sinister loss of magic?

When this race was first announced, I was rather excited. I seem to be addicted to runDisney events. Due to financial responsibilities and lack of vacation days, I thought I would be unable to take part in the inaugural running of this event; however, the fates aligned and I was able to set it up and secure a bib just days before the race sold out. The ToT10M would be my 9th runDisney distance event. I arrived with plenty of expectations. Having done a fair number of long runs on Disney courses, I felt assured there would be plenty of on course entertainment. I was also aware that this was an inaugural race, so there would undoubtedly be a hitch or two.

The Health & Fitness Expo is a mandatory stop for all runDisney events, as it is where you pick up your bib, race shirt and assorted swag. It also gives you a chance to listen to presentations by experts in health and fitness (with a focus on running) and peruse assorted race sponsor’s displays and vendor’s wares. The offerings and booths were slim for this expo–even for an inaugural event. The volunteers were pleasant and picking up bibs et al went smoothly and efficiently.

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Running for Rescues

Last week a friend of mine asked me to fan a page of hers on Facebook.  The page is Running for Rescues.  I liked it and recommended it to my friends because I felt it was a good cause.  I hoped she would get more fans.  Despite the front she puts on sometimes, this friend is a softie at heart.  I asked her to give me more information about this non-profit organization.  She gave me their mission statement.

Running for Rescues

Running for Rescues is a non-profit dedicated to funding small grassroots organizations & individuals around the country, which rescue shelter animals that would otherwise be needlessly euthanized.  More specifically, we will pay for vetting, spay/neuter and transportation of these animals.  We reach out to the running community to network & do fundraisers for us by challenging themselves with any race or distance they choose.  We also invite non-runners to make a healthy lifestyle choice by committing to completing a local 5K – inspiring people around them to donate & perhaps begin an exercise program themselves. 

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