It started with the Goofy Challenge. Those brave (or goofy) enough to run the Walt Disney World Half Marathon on Saturday morning, followed by the Walt Disney World Marathon on Sunday morning during the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. For over 10 years, runners have been earning their extra medal with a smile on their face (and possibly a small limp in their step).
In the past few years, runDisney has announced many new challenges – eight that are less intense than the Goofy Challenge, and one that only the truly crazy consider taking on.
The Rebel Challenge, Glass Slipper Challenge, Dark Side Challenge, Pixie Dust Challenge, Disneyland Double Dare, Disneyland Paris Challenge, Lumiere’s Two Course Challenge and Infinity Gauntlet Challenge allow runners to experience both the 10K and half marathon events and earn another medal. The Dopey Challenge (during the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend) takes running to a whole new level as runners take on the 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon.
With the continued announcements of these challenges, there has been a lot of talk – both positive and negative. Take a look at some of our excitement, and concerns.
Price Tag. runDisney events are expensive. The 5K alone begins at $65! When you are running multiple events, that price tag only increases. For example, the Glass Slipper Challenge starts at $305, the Goofy Challenge is $360 and the Dopey Challenge is $550. (Note: These prices were as of late 2015.) And that doesn’t even include travel expenses like flights, hotel and meals. These prices continue to rise and we have to wonder – when will it become too much?
Quick Decision. As the popularity of runDisney events continues to rise, the races sell out at even faster rates. That means that runners need to decide on whether or not they want to register for the event over 8 months in advance! That is a lot of money to put down, not to mention all the issues that could arise between registration and race day. In the past, runDisney announced a new challenge just a few weeks prior to registration – making the decision turn-around time very fast. This has resulted in many runners signing up, before really taking a good hard look as to whether or not it was a wise choice.
Risk of Injury/Burnout. These challenges are no joke. Running two (or more) events back-to-back requires a lot of training, and possibly quite intense training. Preparing your body to run a longer distance on tired legs, not to mention running multiple days in a row, means a lot of time on the road for many months leading up to the event. Even experienced runners have a risk of injury with the training involved, so it’s important to know how your body may react to the training involved.
Planning Issues. With multiple early mornings involved with these challenges, there are scheduling issues to consider. (The first possibly being how you are going to wake up at 2 AM up to four mornings in a row!) With Marathon Weekend, you are adding another day or two onto your race plans. This requires checking your work and travel schedules. With all of these challenges, you need to consider extra days at the hotels, time on your feet at the parks, childcare, meals and much more. These considerations bring a whole new aspect to race weekends – one that may be difficult to plan.
More Bling. It’s no secret that the runDisney medals are fantastic, so the chance to get even MORE medals is very alluring! Everyone is very excited to see what these new medals will entail. In the case of new challenges, the challenge medals will be the inaugural version and having the ‘first’ of something is always exciting. Not to mention all the tech shirts you’ll have!
New Distance Offerings. It is very exciting to see new distances offered as part of runDisney race weekends. The addition of the 10K is something runners have been asking for, especially since it’s a great bridge between the 5K and half marathon distances. Also, creating challenges like Dumbo Double Dare and the Glass Slipper Challenge offer an opportunity for those runners who are not quite ready to tackle the Goofy Challenge. Having multiple distances to consider makes the race weekends even more exciting!
Multiple Race Opportunities. When the Disneyland 10K and Dumbo Double Dare were announced (the first of the “shorter” challenges), they sold out very fast. By offering 10K events and challenges to other race weekends, there are now many other opportunities to enjoy these new distances and challenges! If you missed out on one registration, there are others to choose from. And for those who are fortunate (and in shape) enough, you can take advantage of the multiple offerings and run them all!
Many Magical Moments. Walking into the Expo and getting your bib. Getting to the start line. Enjoying the enthusiasm from the runners around you. Taking photos with your favorite characters. Crossing the finish line with a smile on your face. There are MANY magical moments throughout a runDisney event, and these challenges offer multiple opportunities for you to experience them again and again!
While these new challenges offer a great opportunity, there are definitely things to consider before signing up. As long as you are making a decision that fits with your goals, training plan, family schedule and vacation – anything is possible!