A Dopey Challenge

In January 2016 I’ll be running the Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World in Florida.  The challenge is part of the WDW Marathon weekend put together by RunDisney,  a series of events that allows people to experience running through the Disney Parks in Florida and California (although a half-marathon in Disneyland Paris is due to be added to the calendar in September 2016).

Being basically a child at heart I’ve always loved Disney, and having two younger kids has given me an excuse to revisit the parks and buy the merchandise, as such RunDisney gives me the chance to combine this and my love of running.

Now if you’re going to go all the way to Florida to run a race you might as well make it worth your while, hence where the Dopey Challenge comes in.  As mentioned the Challenge is part of the marathon weekend but the schedule looks like this:

  • Thursday – 5K race
  • Friday – 10k race
  • Saturday – Half Marathon
  • Sunday  – Marathon

So 48.6 miles run over 4 days, see where the name comes from?  Now I’ve run one marathon before, and a few half marathons and 5/10k’s but never on consecutive days.  My main concern at the moment besides the mileage, is recovery between the races.  A few training plans seem to suggest a run/walk method, especially in the half-marathon in order to conserve your legs, but this sort of approach has never really worked for me. The training schedule I’m planning to follow is the Hal Higdon one, which assumes a reasonable base fitness and from week 6 introduces consecutive days running to replicate the challenge.

Due to the nature of the races; running through the parks; photo opportunities etc; the likely congestion from the sheer number of people; and indeed the challenge itself; it’s probably not the best time to try for PBs within each race.  However I thought it might be useful for me to look back and see what my expectations were before the training had started, so at the moment my targets are:

  • 5k – within 30mins
  • 10k – within 1 hour
  • Half-Marathon – within 2 hours
  • Marathon – Between 4 and 4 1/2 hours

The training plan doesn’t kick in till around the end of September, so my immediate priorities are to keep a base weekly mileage of around 25 miles, and improve my speed over 5 and 10k.  I’ve got the Richmond Half in September and would love to sneak a bit closer to the 90min mark in that once.



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