Posts Tagged by medal

Castaway Cay Challenge Medal Revealed

Earlier this year, runDisney announced the Inaugural Castaway Cay Challenge following the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in January 2015.  This 5K will be taking place during a 4-night Caribbean cruise immediately following the race weekend and will include two additional medals!

Photo Source: Amanda Tinney

Photo Source: Amanda Tinney

First is the Castaway Cay 5K medallion that you receive anytime you run this 5K during the cruise.

Photo Source: Danielle Nardi

Photo Source: Danielle Nardi

Those that are also registered for any of the events taking place over Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend will also receive this GORGEOUS Castaway Cay Challenge medal!


I just LOVE this design!  It reminds me of a similar challenge medal, the Coast-to-Coast Challenge!  Let’s look at a bit more detail…


Simply stunning.  Well done with this medal runDisney!

The Castaway Cay Challenge sold out quickly for Marathon Weekend in January, but there is still availability for the second challenge following Princess Half Marathon Weekend in February.  To register, head over to and book the February 23, 2015 cruise aboard the Disney Dream.  Make sure to use the promotional code RUN when booking.  Then register for the Castaway Cay Challenge at  You should book your cruise BEFORE registering for the challenge because you will need to enter your reservation number when registering.

Participants in the event will receive:

  • Castaway Cay Challenge Event T-Shirt
  • Commemorative Castaway Cay 5K Finisher Medallion
  • Commemorative Castaway Cay Challenge Finisher Medal for participating in one Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend 5K or longer event PULS the Castaway Cay 5K
  • Post-race refreshments
  • Exciting Activities and access to Special Merchandise on board Disney Cruise Line
  • Featured Healthy Menu Options on board Disney Cruise Line

Are you taking on this new challenge in 2015??

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The 2014 Disneyland 5K, a First for a runDisney Veteran

I’m so excited to begin coverage of the 2014 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend!!  To kick things off, Minnie (yes that is really here name – how fun!) is here to recap the Disneyland 5K.  Minnie is a runDisney veteran, but this was her first time running a 5K.  You know why she did it?  Well you’ll have to read on to find out!


My name is Minnie Paule and I have been doing runDisney races since January 2013.  Tinker Bell was my first half marathon and runDisney race.  Since then, I have participated in the 2013 Disneyland Half, 2014 Glass Slipper Challenge, 2014 Tinker Bell Half and now the 2014 Dumbo Double Dare.

This past weekend was my first runDisney 5K and the first time I signed up for all three races.  I decided to do the 5K after the medals were released.  Registration was already sold out for the 5K.  I had to find a way to register for that race to get that medal!  Luckily, I found an organization called TSA (Tourette Syndrome Association) that was selling bibs and asking for a fundraising minimum of $200.  At the time I registered with TSA my awareness of what the organization and disorder was about was limited.  I am now educated and proud that I chose this organization to associate myself with.  It was truly an honor to race for those dealing and living with Tourette Syndrome.  I even got to meet Dash Mihok from the Showtime hit series Roy Donovan at the Thank You Luncheon for TSA.


The night before the race, I laid out my costume.  I was pink Minnie Mouse to match my pink runDisney New Balance shoes.  I also prepared my fuel belt, drink and breakfast.  I was taught to “dress the chair” so that you aren’t pressured and rushed the morning of race day. (Sarah’s Note: Great tip!!!)


I was assigned to corral C and waited for our corral to move up to the start line.  In the meantime the race announcers, Rudy Novotny and Carissa Bealert entertained the crowd.


My sister, Mildred and I were doing the race together.  We are walkers but we jog to get around bottle necks.  We keep a 14 – 16 min mile pace.  Here is my selfie at the mile 1 marker.


A 5K is the best time to take pics with all the characters and landmarks in the parks!


Receiving that beautiful medal at the end makes the race all worth it!


Overall, the race was not too difficult but the humidity and heat made it a little uncomfortable but doable.  Definitely need to hydrate and stay focused on your breathing and form.  Other than that, Have fun, smile and enjoy the experience!



Minnie Paule has been a runner since October 2012 beginning with the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco as a member of Team in Training (TNT).  She continues run for TNT in support of her best friend’s mother who is battling her third bout with lymphoma.  Besides running to raise funds, Minnie really runs for the bling and has in total run 8 half marathons, 1 full marathon, several 10Ks and a couple 5Ks.

If you would like to make a donation, please go to her website:


Castaway Cay Challenge Added To 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

Looks like the rumors are true and runDisney will be hosting a cruise following the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend!  The 4-night cruise will depart from Cape Canaveral on Monday, January 12, 2015 taking runners to Nassau and Castaway Cay.  On January 14th, the inaugural Disney Castaway Cay Challenge will be taking place where participants in any of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend races will be able to earn TWO MORE MEDALS – the Castaway Cay 5K medallion and the inaugural Disney Castaway Cay Challenge medal!!  That means if you are taking on the Dopey Challenge, you can earn 8 medals in one week!

Castaway Cay 5K

Participants in the inaugural Disney Castaway Cay Challenge will receive:

  • Castaway Cay Challenge Inaugural Event T-Shirt
  • Commemorative Castaway Cay 5K Finisher Medallion
  • Commemorative  Inaugural Castaway Cay Challenge Finisher Medal for participating in one Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 5K or longer event PLUS the Castaway Cay 5K
  • Post-race refreshments
  • Exciting Activities and access to Special Merchandise on board Disney Cruise Line
  • Featured Healthy Menu Options on board Disney Cruise Line

So here’s what you need to do.  Head on over to and book the January 12, 2015 cruise on the Disney Dream.  Make sure to use the promotional code RUN when booking.  Then on May 23rd, register for the Castaway Cay Challenge at  You should book your cruise BEFORE registering for the challenge because you will need to enter your reservation number when registering.  I’m sure the cruise will now fill up very fast and the challenge is sure to sell out quickly, so make plans soon!

Here is the official press release from runDisney:

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (May 14, 2014) – Runners taking part in the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend can add the ultimate finish to their experience – the new Disney Castaway Cay Challenge, a joint venture by runDisney and Disney Cruise Line.

After competing in the 5K, 10K, half marathon and/or full marathon during the Disney Marathon Weekend (January 7-11), runners can compete Jan. 14 in the Disney Castaway Cay Challenge, a special 5K race on Disney Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line’s private Bahamas island. Every runner who finishes this new runDisney Challenge event will earn two medals – an inaugural Disney Castaway Cay Challenge medal and a Castaway Cay 5K medallion, plus any medals earned for running any Disney Marathon Weekend events (5K, 10K, half marathon or full marathon).  

The Castaway Cay Challenge takes place during the 4-night Disney Dream cruise itinerary that sets sail Jan. 12, 2015 from Port Canaveral, Florida and includes a stop in Nassau in addition to Castaway Cay. The cruise will feature exclusive activities designed for Castaway Cay Challenge participants, plus special menu items and merchandise.

To sign up for the Castaway Cay Challenge, runners must book the Jan. 12, 2015 Disney Dream cruise at and then register for the Castaway Cay Challenge at Race registration opens May 23.

What do you think of this news?  Will you be taking on the inaugural Disney Castaway Cay Challenge? 

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Completing Your First Marathon – The BEST Feeling EVER!

Marathons are AMAZING accomplishments in one’s life…something very few people can say they have done. I can hardly believe that I have actually done it!! Well today Ashley is back to to share the story of her first marathon and it is pretty incredible…enjoy 🙂


Ever have that feeling when you cross something major off your bucket list and you don’t know what to do next?? That’s how I’m feeling after spending the most amazing week at Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend January 9-13, 2014!

I’m Ashley, and I blog over at I began my blog to document my training for the WDW 2014 Marathon. I followed Jeff Galloway’s marathon training program to a tee because his training plan fully prepared me to run the Princess Half Marathon in February 2013, so I trusted it would prep me well for the marathon – and it did! My husband and I are both runners. Now we are blessed with our 18-month-old son, who loved spending a week at Nana’s while we ran Disney! (Last year, he came to Princess when he was just 7 months!)

Ashley Bartley - Marathon 01

Some inspiration I lived by while training:

  • “If you can dream it, you can do it.” ~ Walt Disney
  • “There will be days you don’t think you can run a marathon. There will be a lifetime of knowing you have.” ~Unknown.
  • Pictures of the 10k and marathon medal taped to my treadmill for early morning weekday training runs

{What I wore:}

  • At the last minute, I decided to switch what I was wearing for the 10k and full. The straps on my original Lululemon tank were way too thick for 26.2 miles in Florida! I wore a light-blue Lululemon “Free to Be” tank with black Target C9 shorts, Brooks socks, hot pink Mizuno Wave Inspire 9s, a new sparkly gold Sweaty Band from Fit2Run, my new paracord watch that my husband made, my pink Disney MagicBand, and a SPIbelt loaded with 4 GU packets, ChapStick, and an external battery charger/cable for my iPhone. I carry my iPhone in my hand while I run, using BlueTooth with my wireless Jaybird headphones, and I simultaneously use RunKeeper, music, and the camera, so the battery would have given up right after I ran through the ESPN Wide World of Sports had I not been carrying my charger!

Ashley Bartley - Marathon 02 

{What I ate:}

  • For lunch Saturday before the marathon, we ate at Pop Century Resort. I grabbed pepperoni bread and a Caesar salad. For dinner, we had reservations at Portobello in Downtown Disney at 4:30. Our hostess told us that Marathon Weekend is their busiest weekend of the year, so I was glad that we snagged our ADR 180 days in advance and opted for an early dinner. Our food arrived at 5:30, so it was perfect! I ordered the “Rigatoni Calabrese” which was large enough that I ate the leftovers on Monday morning! Our waiter even gave us free refills on our fancy strawberry lemonades, “Sorpresa Di Fragolino” and then waived the price altogether when he felt that our food took too long to come out (I hadn’t even noticed!). YUM! We also received a 10% Marathon discount, so our total was not bad at all!! We got free samples at Ghirardelli chocolate before catching the shuttle home.

{The night before:}

After returning home late from Downtown Disney, we were exhausted and laid out all of our running gear on the extra bed in our room, which we called the “staging” area. We set our alarms for 2:30, plugged in our headphones, external battery chargers, and phones, and were quickly asleep!

Ashley Bartley - Marathon 03

{Marathon morning:}

We were up at 2:35, dressed, and in line for the race shuttle at 3:45. The line was so long that two full buses left before we got on our charter. Traffic was CRAZY!! We finally arrived at EPCOT at 5:05. We made our ways to the starting corrals, which was much more of a hike than to the  10k corrals, but the same as Princess and the WDW half marathon the day before. There were so many corrals that they actually had runners take different roads to access their corrals, so my husband and I parted ways while he went to his and I headed back to mine. By the time I arrived, there was not much time before Mickey began counting and the fireworks were off for the wheelchair group and then Corral A! I didn’t even get a chance to hug my sister, who was two corrals ahead of me with her friend.

Before starting, I told myself that I was here to “have a good time,” not to “get a good time.” After all, this is Disney! I decided that I would have no regrets when I finished. That meant I would run solo and play it by ear whether to stop for character stops. My main goals were to get photos of every mile marker and grab Powerade and water at every water station to stay hydrated, since I wasn’t carrying water on me. I planned out when I would take GU.

Ashley Bartley - Marathon 04 

Right after Mickey counted “Three! Two! One!” to start my corral, I hopped over to grab a photo of him and a photo of the starting line. (All in all during the 26.2 miles, I managed to grab 122 photos on my phone!). I loved that the fireworks for my corral were just as generous as those for all the other corrals.

Ashley Bartley - Marathon 05

I turned off my headphones so that I could listen to the excitement buzz around me as we made our way over the speed bumps entering into Magic Kingdom and the TTC, where most of the first spectators were. The stretch between Miles 5 and 6 were obviously one of my favorites. Still lots of high energy, character stops, and Cinderella’s Castle! I also used the opportunity to use the restroom in TomorrowLand. I did not wait for a picture with royal Mickey and Minnie behind the castle because the line looked long, but I did grab several shots in front of the castle, which glistened with silver icicle lights! I backtracked a little after my castle photo so the MarathonFoto photographer that was taking pics as we came out of the castle could catch me.

Ashley Bartley - Marathon 06

After passing Woody, it was on to Mile 6! Twenty miles to go! At Mile 7, I caught up briefly with Donald Duck! When my husband ran through this character spot at the Palm & Magnolia Golf Courses, Goofy was there instead, and he justified this one stop because he was running the Goofy Challenge.

Ashley Bartley - Marathon 07

After Mile 8 came the Speedway, which was interesting, but the cars were hard for me to see because it was so sunny out! Luckily it stayed breezy and cool for most of the race! We headed on to Animal Kingdom – I’d never been there before! After the Mile 12 marker, I spotted Jiminy Cricket, one of my favorites, with barely a line – photo op! Same with Rafiki from the Lion King! At this point I stopped for a “secret bathroom” break in a building that looked like a trailer from the front, but actually had restrooms behind it. And then I was off again!

Ashley Bartley - Marathon 08

And then – Expedition Everest was RIGHT.THERE. I had heard that it might be open. I love roller coasters – I did the Roller Coaster Insider Tour at Busch Gardens this summer, where I grew up, but I’d never ridden this one. I saw marathoners running into the FastPass line, and I asked the cast member how long the line was “It’s so quick! Just do it! When will you ever be able to do this mid-marathon again?!” In a split-second decision, I ducked inside, leaving my RunKeeper app running. Miles 13, 14, and 15 happened right there on that ride! There was virtually NO wait (maybe 3 minutes, tops??), and in no time I was jumping right into the FRONT ROW! I had a great car of runners – we were all so excited!! I’ve never had such an adrenaline rush before and am SO glad I did it!

Ashley Bartley - Marathon 09

Right when I came out, I spotted Minnie and Daisy with a short wait, so of course I had to do that, and then I knew I really needed to step it up so as not to lose momentum.

Ashley Bartley - Marathon 10

Heading past Mile 13 and out of Animal Kingdom, I saw the BEST poster: “Bucket List – check!” Simple. Loved it.

Ashley Bartley - Marathon 11

I would have loved to stop for Mickey, but he had a line and I had already stopped enough that mile, so I picked off Miles 14, 15, 16, and 17 before hitting the luxuriously-padded track at ESPN Wide World of Sports. I felt like we were in there forever though! It was nice when we were finally into the single-digit miles remaining. We ran around the baseball field, the track, and the whole complex, before heading out to the infamous “Mile 20” wall that most people caution about. My longest training runs beforehand were 20 and 23 milers, so I knew I’d be okay, and I was, but I still LOVED the motivational quotes staked in the grass along the way.

Ashley Bartley - Marathon 12

I knew we still had to hit Hollywood Studios and EPCOT, with not much mileage left, so I chugged along, noticing that many more people were solely walking at this point. Loved, LOVED the Hollywood Studios water tower and the costuming viewing area! Around Mile 24 I had to grab a picture of the “40k” banner – (who’s heard of such a thing??) and knew we must be approaching Epcot very soon!

Ashley Bartley - Marathon 13

Entering into World Showcase got emotional for me. I started tearing up with the enormity of what I was about to accomplish, but a spectator said, “you’re okay, sweetie!” and I realized she probably thought I was in pain, so I got myself together and smiled with my thumb up. I could see Spaceship Earth in the distance, but it was SO far away, and I could see runners all the way around the lagoon.

Ashley Bartley - Marathon 14

So close, yet so far! It really helped when a spectator encouraged us by saying that we only had “point three miles to the finish!” I spotted Sorceror Mickey’s picture on the 26-Mile marker, briefly savored the motivational gospel choir, (regrettably) bypassed Dopey, who barely had a line – because I was SOOO close at that point!), and rounded the corner where I could SEE THE FINISH LINE!

Ashley Bartley - Marathon 15

Ashley Bartley - Marathon 16

I remember taking a video, blowing kisses to an uber-excited Minnie on my left, Mickey on my right, and across the finish I went! I realized I was still running through the chute and put on the brakes to receive my BEAUTIFUL FINISHER’S MEDAL! There was some confusion until I could find my family outside the gear check tents, but we were all so excited to have all finished and achieved such an accomplishment!

Ashley Bartley - Marathon 17

I admired my husband’s colorful Goofy medal, my brother-in-law’s Dopey medal, and hopped in line to show Chip, Dale, and Pluto our newest bling.

Ashley Bartley - Marathon 18

Ashley Bartley - Marathon 19

Ashley Bartley - Marathon 20

We hopped onto our shuttle back to Pop Century, where a hot shower and compression sleeves awaited me!

Ashley Bartley - Marathon 21

Soon afterward, we shuttled to Magic Kingdom, caught the monorail to the Polynesian, and enjoyed the BEST post-race dinner at ‘Ohana with my sister and her friends, where the meat was literally bouncing off my plate and onto the table, it was coming so fast! Afterward, we ordered a Lapu Lapu, but they were sold out (lots of marathoners there celebrating!). Instead, my husband and I watched “Wishes” fireworks show from the beach at Poly and filled a cup with a soft-serve Dole Whip – the perfect fairy-tale ending to an absolutely perfect day!

Ashley Bartley - Marathon 22

Ashley Bartley - Marathon 23


I’m so excited to be writing a race recap for Running at Disney today! I’m Ashley, and I blog over at Running MOMentum. I’m an elementary school counselor by day, but when I am home, I’m a cloth-diapering, nursing, babywearing mommy to my sweet boy. My husband and I are living in a toddler’s world! Blogging is my way of processing and reflecting on my experiences and relishing in the loves of my life – my faith, my family, my friends, and my experiences!

I ran cross country in high school but took a hiatus after a spinal fusion, and only recently returned to running about a year before my son was born. My favorite races have been at Disney – the 2013 Princess Half Marathon, the 2014 Inaugural Minnie 10k, and the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon! You might also catch me taking pictures, writing, finding freebies, attempting to cook, attending Bible study, scouring Pinterest, and scrolling through Bloglovin. Virginia has always been home to me, my husband, our son, and our sprightly Jack Russell Terrier, Scout.

Dopey Challenge: Four Days of Disney Running

When the Dopey Challenge was announced last March, I have to admit I was a bit shocked.  48.6 miles in 4 days…that sounds insane to me!  But over 7,000 took part in the challenge over Marathon Weekend and I have to admit, it looked like a blast!  Kristina is one of those Dopey runners who took on the challenge and as you will see, she loved every minute of it!  Plus, she has some great tips for any of your future Dopey runners…enjoy!


Months ago, back in April 2013 if I remember correctly, I anxiously awaited the registration date for the 2014 Dopey Challenge. In my head I knew the prospect of running 48.6 miles over four days, waking up when some people are just going to bed to stomp pavement through four Disney parks was going to be a challenging task, but my heart was without reservation.


This year marked my third year running in the Disney Marathon Weekend. My first year I ran the half marathon and last year I ran the Goofy Challenge.

So now on to the races. Wednesday night I was in bed before 10:00 pm to wake up at 4:20 am for the 5k race. This was “sleeping in” compared to the mornings for the 10k, half and full marathons. I caught the 5:00 am monorail to EPCOT and made it to Corral A by 5:45 am. Shortly thereafter, we were taken to the starting location.


The race went by so quickly! We were on the roads then back in EPCOT, which is always so much fun to run in! I didn’t stop for any character photos because the lines were really long. I found the double edge sword of the Dopey Challenge was weighing the benefit of going slowly versus the benefit of getting off my feet quickly. For this race my decision to run slowly was overcome by my excitement and I ran a little bit too fast. But, I figured the 5k would not detriment me when running the full marathon.


Tips for the 5k: run the race you want. If you want to be speedy, be speedy. If you want to walk, walk. If you want every character picture, go for it. This race, compared to the heavy training for a marathon, should feel like a walk in the park. 🙂

Thursday night was another early to bed night. The 10k race packs a little more punch as it’s double the distance of the 5k and more comparable to a training run. This race  was fun because my mom and two sorority sisters ran this race. The one sorority sister also ran the Dopey Challenge!





This was a great first year for the race. I loved being able to run the boardwalk side of the Boardwalk Resort, and to run the Yacht and Beach Club side as preparation for the full marathon.

A downfall of the 10k was the waiting time in the corrals. I started back in Corral C with my friend and the wait was slightly aggravating. This was echoed by my mother who was in Corral D and felt her muscles tightening up waiting for her corral to start. I don’t know how or if Disney can fix this because the course is very narrow in some locations and I’m sure they planned the start times accordingly. Perhaps Disney needs to implement smaller and more corrals next year to combat this problem.  Another issue with this race, but something that can easily be fixed, is the lack of Powerade at the water stops. Because the race, like all Disney races, is early, my friend got hungry on the run. One Powerade stop would have been helpful.






Tips for the 10k: treat this race like an easy training run. There were plenty of character stops, port-a-potties and water stops, but one stop with Powerade would have been nice. The distance is definitely manageable for someone running a marathon, but it’s best and safest to treat this as a training run in preparation for the half marathon on Saturday and the full marathon on Sunday. It’s good to give your muscles a rest.


On to the half marathon. This race is no slouch. 13.1 miles even after months of marathon training is a long distance. This race was really important because it marked my sister’s first ever half marathon! I was so excited for her!


My friend from the 10k was also running making this Saturday half marathon such a special time. I was in Corral C, my friend was in Corral E and my sister was in Corral F, but we all decided to join my sister in Corral F to make the waiting more enjoyable.


The corrals started much faster for the half and that was appreciated. We started off with a nice easy pace. Even though this was the third time I’ve run the half marathon, I still got teary eyed entering into Magic Kingdom! There is nothing quite like seeing the mass amount of people along Main Street! I even spotted my friends parents so we stopped for some pictures!



During the race I accidentally separated from my sister and friend. However, after two miles of solo running I met a wonderful lady named Dawn. She was great! We ended up chatting for about two miles. Meeting people on the course is one thing I love about runDisney races! Good luck getting your Boston Qualifier, Dawn!

I received an update on my sisters progress around the 9 mile or so mark. I realized if I sped up a little I’d be able to catch her. I gradually increased my pace and met up with her around mile 11. It was awesome to be able to finish the last two miles of my sister’s first half marathon with her! We got some really cute pictures together too 🙂



Tips for the half marathon: if taking the 5k and 10k slowly is not your style, I, without a doubt, recommend making it your style for the half marathon. 13.1 miles is not an easy distance and running it hard will not make for much fun in the full marathon. The phrase “slow and steady wins the race” should be applied here. Run the race conservatively – about as slow as an easy run – unless you want this race to be the race you push yourself in to get a PR or a good half marathon time. When you approach a water stop, I am a big proponent of running to a cup, then running to a location off in the grass so I can walk while drinking. I have not effectively mastered the running while drinking. Nine times out of ten I end up with water up my nose, water down my shirt and a sip in my mouth. Not the best way to hydrate. Enjoy the sites because there is nothing quite like seeing Cinderella’s Castle in Magic Kingdom or running down Main Street with the crowds roaring with applause for you! Also, the walk to the half marathon start is about .7 of a mile. I always walk on the grass. It takes pressure off the feet, ankles, knees and hips and gets you to the start a bit faster.




Finally, the full marathon, the last leg of the Dopey Challenge! Granted this is also more than half of the overall 48.6 miles. When my alarm sounded at 3:00 I was out of bed and ready to roll. My dear friend Chrissy, who was on the trip with me and my family, was kind enough to come to the start with me. I needed the company and the distraction. I was close to tears waiting for the monorail. I think all the excitement I felt from the races was about to pour out of me.

I followed my half marathon tip and walked on the grass to the start. But, I had to use the restroom. My goodness were the lines long. And, they only grew as I got closer to Corral C. So, I parked myself in a line and waited about 20 minutes to use a port-a-potty. By the time I got in Corral C I had five minutes until the official start. Talk about cutting it close! I found the 3:35 pace group and decided to hang on with that pace for as long as I could. I met another lovely runner named Andrea waiting to start the race. It was so wonderful talking with her for a few miles. I felt badly that I didn’t see her at the finish because I wanted to tell her I made it to the finish sub 3:35.

Back to the race, though. It was not easy. From the moment we took off I felt like I was running too fast. I kept thinking this isn’t going to end well. I’m going to hit the wall way too soon. The run through Magic Kingdom was a great boost as it always is and I took my first gel just after running under Cinderella’s Castle. By the time I saw my parents at the Grand Floridian, just after mile 7, I thought the crash was going to come. Fortunately, it didn’t.

The next point of near crash potential was at Animal Kingdom. I saw my sister and friend Chrissy, but not my parents. I felt defeated a little at that point. I later learned the transportation was a nightmare and my parents were stuck on a bus.

Anyway, I continued along at whatever pace felt comfortable, keeping the 3:35 pace group in sight. I got a resurgence of energy on my way to the wide world of sports complex. I felt good and knew that I had less than a half marathon left. I kept thinking in terms of training runs and knew I could make it across the finish line. The wide world of sports complex was filled with such great energy too!

I kept my pace steady and plugged along to Hollywood Studios. Making the right turn into Hollywood Studios is an exhilarating feeling. There are just over three miles left. A distance so manageable, but these usually feel like all the other miles combined. I don’t know if I hit a true marathon wall or if I was just so tired from the cumulative effect of all the other miles. I couldn’t feel my arms, my eyelids were heavy, my breathing was more labored. Not fun. Then, I heard the shouting of my name! It was my sister and Chrissy again! What an awesome surprise! Spectators deserve a medal for being such great support! Chrissy told me I was right on pace for a BQ (Boston Qualifying time) so I pushed on and knew I could do it if I made it through these last two and change miles.

They were the hardest miles of the race but certainly the most rewarding. I came into EPCOT and pushed as hard as I could to the finish. I crossed the line in 3:34:33 and met another great lady named Melinda! She told me I got the Boston time! Woohoo!!


Tips for the marathon: I heard a number of people say they planned to take the marathon slowly. In my opinion if you’ve had a great bout of training, go hard in the marathon. I also followed the half marathon advice and walked after the water stops. It doesn’t significantly hurt the overall running time and it’s a far better way to hydrate. But, it’s important, in my opinion, to walk in the grass near the trash bins. Walking down the water stop aisle can be a recipe for disaster. A non-running tip is to MAKE FRIENDS! I had such a blast talking with so many different people this weekend and would highly recommend chatting it up on the course. One thing I love about running is how friendly the running community is to others in the sport. Whether your goal is a time goal, to do the race without walking or to just finish make sure to have fun! If you’re considering the Dopey Challenge, don’t let the fear of the 26.2 mile distance keep you from running it. This is a race in the happiest place on earth!


Big congrats Kristina on finishing the Dopey Challenge AND qualifying for Boston!!  Wear those rad shoes with pride!!


Kristina Drnjevich is an assistant prosecutor in Northeast Ohio. In her free time, she loves to run, do yoga, read and spend time with friends. She ran her first half marathon in 2011 and her first marathon in 2012. She’s run, including the races from the Dopey Challenge, six half marathons and three full marathons. The runDisney Marathon Weekend has become a tradition for her family ever since she ran the half marathon in 2012!
Find Kristina here:   Twitter   Instagram

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