Dopey Challenge 2014: Half Marathon Recap

My alarm went off….again…at 2:45. I was beginning to feel a bit like Groundhog Day! I put on my Dopey costume, ate a banana and a clif bar, and we were ready to go tackle the runDisney half marathon.

half marathon recap


Note: I originally was going to wear this outfit for the full but switched when I found out today, for the half, it was going to be the warmer of the two days, and since my other costume had arm and leg sleeves, I wanted to wear it on the cooler day.

Bobby loved his new Under Armor shirt!


We hopped on a bus right at 4:00, and headed to EPCOT. It was nice not being freezing cold walking to the corrals like I have done before, but that also meant it would be a warmer race. We made it into corral K and waited. We sat down because we knew we wouldn’t start until about 35 minutes after the gun went off and I wanted to save my legs.


it was finally our turn!


The beginning of the race, if I am being perfectly honest…was a nightmare. Because they placed Dopey runners in corrals based on their MARATHON time then tacked time onto that, everyone was pushed back that did Dopey. I am a much faster half runner than full runner, so for the half I was in a corral with people who had never even run a half marathon before. Again, I am NOT trying to sound like I should have been in front, no way, but based on my half finish times, I should have been in C or D, not K. I wanted to cry the first mile and a half. We literally came to a standstill a few times and I ran on the grass as much as I could where it was safe. So many bottle necks, I just wanted to get out in front of the congestion and have some breathing room.

Finally, when we got almost to the Magic Kingdom signs, the crowds thinned, but unfortunately I would face many more bottle necks to come.


I love this guy they put on top of the bridge, he is always so much fun yelling to all the runners.


We finally made it to the Magic Kingdom, and I was bummed that the icicle lights were not on the castle.





We stopped at the bathrooms in Tomorrowland where I ran into these two!

unnamed (8)

Linzie and Kat




We made our way through a very crowded Magic Kingdom, and were soon back out onto the road. My IT band had started twinging during the 10k the day before, so I wasn’t surprised when it started to bug me here. I stopped at the med tent after Magic Kingdom and got some Tylenol.

We went through more crowded areas heading down the road towards the Grand Floridian and ran mostly in the grass. It opened up again near the speedway, and we saw this fun guy, which was very hard to get a good picture of due to the wind.


We kept on trucking, doing run walk intervals at a comfortable pace, and made it to the mile ten marker, just a 5k to go….oh and then a marathon haha. We tried to conserve energy so we took it easy going up the overpasses, and were finally in EPCOT!

I picked up the pace because I was so excited and like to finish strong, but Bobby was wanting to hold back. It was so hard for me to slow down, but I’m sure it helped us the next day.



We made it to mile 13, and I could hear the finish line, woo hoo!



We crossed at 2:43, 3 races down, one really big one to go! (and mileage wise, we still were not half way, yikes!)



I celebrated with a post race mimosa, of course.



We actually stayed until the very last person crossed the finish line, which was surprisingly way after the 16:00 per mile sweeper pace. Either way, it was really fun to see and cheer on everyone to the very end. I screamed my lungs out, and shed a few tears along with the runners that were crying as the crossed the finish line. It was so inspiring and so much fun!

We chose not to go to a park this day, and instead opted for a nap and hanging out at the hotel. It was a good decision!

Final thoughts: I LOVE this course, and running through the Magic Kingdom is my favorite. 9Secretly hoping they change it up a bit to run through new Fantasyland though!) There were plenty of aid stations, amazing volunteers, med tents, and bathrooms. The actual race was put on very well. I did notice a lack of characters though, which led to even longer lines at the ones that were out (we didn’t stop for any).

I do hope they will either reduce the number of runners, or give Dopey’s a bib for the half and a bib for the full so they can be in the correct corral for each (I was in the correct corral for the full, but I’m terrible at fulls so the time they based my half placement off of was my estimated finishing time for the full, yikes). Coming to a standstill during a race is never fun. I also heard that a lot of people were dishonest about their finishing times, and that track shack did not actually verify the times, hence a lot of people in places they did not belong which I’m sure made the problem even worse. I felt bad for the people in the alter corrals who wanted character pictures, because the lines were so long since there were not many characters out.

Overall this race holds a special place in my heart because it was my very first half marathon in 2010, and it is my favorite course so I know I will come back and run it, just not as a Dopey.

QOTD: Have you ever watched the very end of a race?

*Winner of my Under Armour giveaway is Rachel V! Please email me with your address so I can get your prize to you!





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  1. I really, really, really hope runDisney fixes the corral system for Dopeys next year. I have a feeling they won’t though because when I deferred it was the same application as 2014, meaning they only asked for your anticipated full finishing time. This is going to lead to a lot of people lying to be placed in earlier corrals, and a lot of honest runners frustrated, like you were.

    Your costume was adorable and glad you guys had fun despite the crowding!

  2. I completely agree about the Corral thing, it was VERY frustrating. I run a 1:41 half and I started in M (originally was meant to be in P)… I wasn’t hoping to run the half quickly, but it was very frustrating. I was frustrated every day when I hate to wait so long to cross the start line – especially as its the multiple early wake ups AND then waiting for so long.

    After waiting so long to cross the start line for the half I actually decided there was no way I was going to do that for the full, I was aiming on running a 3:45 marathon and I knew that wouldn’t happen if I started in M… so I spoke to a few people in A and they told me to loiter by the toilets and jump into a corral closer when the race started. I know this is completely frowned upon, and it would be hectic if everyone did it, but it was so necessary.

    Loved the dopey outfit!

  3. I was so disappointed the castle wasn’t lit up, and that they took down all the Christmas decorations before race weekend. Eveyone in the past has talked about rounding the Christmas tree in EPCOT before heading towards the finish.

  4. I think staying until the end of the race was a great idea! I want to do that when I do the Dopey Challenge next year. I doubt I’ll go to the parks at all during that race weekend, so cheering everyone else on would be awesome!!

    That is really disappointing that so many people were dishonest about their time. I really hope track shack does better at verifying times in the future to help eliminate that issue.

    Love your Dopey costume! :0)

  5. So sorry about the crowd and congestion. I’m thinking we got bumped for GSC, too…my bib number is 20,000 something! So wish they wouldn’t do that….

    Great recap! I love that you stayed and watched until the end!!

  6. Congrats! I have been reading many bloggers recaps that have been saying the races were crowded and that placement in corrals was wrong. I hope they fix that! I love that you stayed till the end of the race. I have never done that before but I am sure it is fun and emotional to do!

  7. I definitely had al the same challenges you did, the corral placement was terrible and made the half really unenjoyable for me. I really hope that enough people are providing feedback to TarckShack and runDisney so that they make some changes for the future – they can even keep it as 1 bib if they don’t want to spend the extra $ and put the half corral on the top left and the full corral on the top right or something.

  8. Great recap, and love your costume! Hopefully they take all of our complaints into consideration for next year; the crowding really can be dangerous, and it really does put a damper on your overall experience when you’re in the wrong corral and can’t even run! It was definitely a fun race, though, no matter what, and it looks like you guys had a fabulous time! 🙂

  9. I was sad the icicle lights were on on the castle too! And I was super disappointed with how crowded the race was. I couldn’t even run through the castle. It was so congested and everyone around me was walking. Hopefully they will get all of this fixed for future races. Congrats girl! Your dopey costume was super cute!!!

  10. How many times have you ran through Disney now? you know exactly where the cameras are – you take great race pictures!

  11. Jessica @ pugrunaholic says

    Love the pictures!! Congrats! 🙂

  12. says

    LOVE your Dopey costume. Definitely sounds like a fun (albeit frustrating at times) race!

  13. Love your Dopey costume! It’s like we ran two different races, you being a Dopey, me being a non-Dopey. My guess is TrackShack and runDisney are getting lots of feedback. But all your photos came out great! Fun that you stayed until the end. I did that at the NYC Marathon in 2006. Watched people finish even as they were cleaning up and it was getting dark. It was SO inspiring that it inspired me to run the race in 2007 as my first marathon!

  14. Stacie @ SImplySouthernStacie says

    I love your costume! I did the marathon this year and was thinking about trying the Dopey next year. I’m sad to hear that you wouldn’t do it again though. Would you say your main complaint is the corral system?

  15. Love the picture of your husband and you running through the castle 🙂

  16. Loved reading your review! I had to defer/spectate this year due to an injury, so it is fun to read everyone’s reviews since I didn’t get to experience it in the same way. I really hope they fix the corral issue by next year though. I am planning to do Goofy and guessing they will do the same thing with that. Do you HAVE to submit a full time? I wonder what would happen if you just register with a half for proof of time?

  17. My daughter and I are running our first 1/2 marathon this weekend in New Orleans…the Rock and Roll. Our 2nd 1/2 marathon is going to be the Disney Princess 2015 :):) Our goal for this weekend is simply to finish…we’ve got some serious training to do before we’ll be considered competitors :p

Mentioned elsewhere:

  1. runningwithsass says:

    Dopey Challenge 2014: Half Marathon Recap

    My alarm went off….again…at 2:45. I was beginning to feel a bit like Groundhog Day! I put on my Dopey

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