Dopey Challenge 2014: Marathon Race Recap

The fourth and final installment is finally here!

rundisney marathon recap

The marathon was the only thing standing in the way of me getting three beautiful new  runDisney medals. I knew this would be the hardest day of all, and I was nervous. I felt undertrained, tired, injured, and just wanted to be done!



We hopped on a bus for the fourth and final time, and made the long walk to our corrals after meeting up with a  few team runDisney friends before the race. We sat again again, conserving energy, and waited for our turn.


We inched closer to the start, and I just couldn’t believe I was about to run 26.2 miles after already racing for three days.


The fireworks went off, and it was finally our turn! Luckily, the congestion wasn’t near as bad as the day before at the half. There were still a few bottlenecks going over bridges and around turns, but it cleared up a lot better than before. We made it to the Magic Kingdom sign…wasn’t I already here once?


I was feeling pretty good. We were walking through water stations and for about one minute every five or six minutes as well.


Those first few miles were kind of “just keep swimming” for me, I knew we had a long way to go, and it was still dark so I was focusing on my feet and how I was feeling and not what was around me. The big crowd at the TTC was a nice boost, and I was going to stop ad use a “real” bathroom there, but the line was out the door, nevermind! We kept going and finally made it into the Magic Kingdom. I was bummed it was already daylight, I love running down Main street in the dark. I did get to see a couple familiar faces cheering us on though, thanks for coming out Kelly and Meghann!






I decided to stop at the Tomorrowland bathrooms, huge line again, drat! I finally found an empty one where Tomorrowland meets Fantasyland, so we also stopped for a picture with this guy.


I wanted to get a good castle picture of the both of us, so we stopped off on the side next to the castle to take a selfie.

unnamed (3)

A super sweet girl saw what we were doing and asked if she could take the picture for us. Sure!

unnamed (2)

Bobby took one of me, and mid photo a reader called out to me, which resulted in this photo:

unnamed (5)

unnamed (6)


We made our way through the rest of the Magic Kingdom, and I took some Tylenol at the same med stop as the day before. Soon we were back out on the tiny road going to the Grand Floridian that is always crowded, and I saw more friends cheering for me at the wedding pavilion.


We also had to get a photo with this duck.

unnamed (1)

I was glad when we got to the speedway, having new ground to cover proved to be more entertaining.


(looking like I’m running but actually at a standstill trying to turn onto the speedway!)





Saw this lovely lady about this time, always good to see her on the course! Also, I have no idea what I am looking at here.


An odd thing happened about this time, my feet started THROBBING. Not from my injury, but just the bottoms of both feet were killing me with every step. Luckily I remembered there was a med tent up ahead, so I stopped for more Tylenol. I was very thankful that the rest of my body felt fine, but wow my feet made me want to cry, and I wasn’t even halfway yet, or even close to it.

We trudged on to one of the two more boring stretches. (one is from the speedway to Animal Kingdom, the other is Animal Kingdom to the Sports Complex.) Several readers recognized me, and it was so much fun to chat with everyone! It lifted my spirits and kept my mind off the race, too!


We were finally nearing Animal Kingdom, and I knew on the other side of it was the halfway mark, woo hoo! We love animals and were excited to see so many going into the park.


The pig was wearing a bib! Adorbs.



As I was in line, I saw a familiar face….but I thought nah, just coincidence. Then someone ran up and asked to take a photo with her. It WAS her! Yup I was right behind Tara from the Biggest Loser! She let me take a photo with her and we ended up running about the same pace back and forth for the rest of the race, and she finished just before me.


We went on into the park, and Bobby said he had to go to the bathroom, so I nodded and kept running and stayed to the right, which is what we were doing any time one of us had to stop so the other could catch up and not get lost.



Well…I kept going and going…ran into Dave Mari….kept going…and still nothing so I stopped after Everest and waited about two minutes…then he calls me…he was WAITING outside the bathroom! So we were both just standing still for several minutes ug! I told him I was going to keep going and he could catch me.


I made it out the other side of the park and hallelujah I reached mile 13!


Bobby finally caught me after this, and we headed out towards the Sports Complex. Bobby wanted to stretch his legs so several times he would run ahead of me, then stop on the side to stretch until I caught up with him, and this worked well for us for several miles. I didn’t want him to cramp up because he was shortening his gait to run with me. We made it to the sports complex, still doing our stop and go/not run with each other the whole time thing. I also took a bathroom break here (there was a line but I had to go!)

We rounded Champion Stadium, and headed out again back onto the road.



Coming out of the complex Bobby said he was going to run ahead again and told me to stay on the LEFT, which I did. I was approaching mile 20 and the DJ was playing “Roar” and I started singing, and I have no idea why but I started crying during the chorus. I started thinking about this whole journey that I was so not prepared for, and how it definitely takes a fighter to do this, and no matter my time in the end I was going to be a champion. Running 48.6 miles in four days is awesome, and I couldn’t believe I was a 10k away from my goal. I had been SO nervous about this race, about how my body would hold up, and here I was, mile 20, and feeling pretty good. it just all hit me at once, and I was SO proud of myself. No matter what life throws at me, no one can take this accomplishment away from me. The little high school track sprinter who hated running was competing in a crazy race challenge, what a dream come true for me.


The moment passed, I kept running for a good ten minutes, still no Bobby. I crossed over to the other side of the road about to exit towards Hollywood Studios, and my phone rings “did you cross over the road yet””?” Uh…yeah…about 7 minutes ago…. Bobby had somehow missed me and was way behind me. I told him I would run walk but I couldn’t just stop, he would have to catch up. Apparently I was REALLY far ahead because it took him until we almost turned into the Park to catch me!

We grabbed some chocolate and I knew the worst of the race was behind us. The parks were entertaining, and I knew I was going to make it from here.




If you have read my first marathon recap you know exactly what these two pictures are for. Smile



I surprisingly wasn’t that emotional going around this turn, I think I used up all my sappy emotion back at mile 20. I was just focused on finishing at this point. Bobby was happy and feeling great which I was SO thankful for since the last two marathons we ran here, Hollywood Studios is when his hamstrings would start to cramp.

It was a tight squeeze going along the path to the boardwalk, but we made it to the bridge going over the water. Fun story: during the 10k when we ran over that same bridge I told Bobby I could not WAIT until crossing this same point on Sunday. We would be so close to DONE and I would be so, so happy. Well, Bobby remembered this, and stopped and took my picture.


I saw some more friends cheering outside the Beach Club, it’s always great to see familiar faces! We made our way to EPCOT. We saw the line for a photo with Dopey and decided to pass, I just wanted to be done and off my feet.


We made it around World Showcase, and it was so great to see so many spectators calling out our names, it was just the push I needed that final mile and helped so, so much.


Holy moley we were almost there!



I couldn’t believe it was almost over. I was trying to soak it all in, this was it, the moment I couldn’t wait to arrive. The triumphant finish. We earned it. Turning that final corner is always such a rush for me, seeing the people, hearing the shouts, and that beautiful finish line straight ahead.


I grabbed Bobby’s hand, and we finished the race, together. We started this challenge that way, and it was the best way imaginable to finish.


We finished in 6:06, just eight minutes slower than last year when we were only running two of the four races. I was very pleased considering all of our stops, and even more pleased at how “ok” I felt. Sure I wanted to sit down and eat a cheeseburger (that would come!) But I wasn’t dying either. A win! My goal for Dopey was to finish in an upright position, and that I did. God totally got me through that race, I have NO IDEA how my foot and knee hurt during the shorter races but not this one. Yes my feet ached very badly, but my recurring injuries stayed away. Amazing.

I knew a friend of mine was handing out marathon medals, so I was super excited when I was able to get mine from her. How special!



We headed over to get out Goofy and Dopey medals. FINALLY MINE!




We didn’t stick around. I wanted a shower ASAP and needed some food. Right onto a bus we went.


Then this happened:


It was glorious, and I was ready for a nap. I think I deserved it.

QOTD: Do your feet hurt when you run long distances? Who is ready to tackle Dopey?

Get Your Free Printable Set!

Goal and fitness

Sign up to get my free printables on goal setting & fitness tracking.

Powered by ConvertKit


  1. Amazing – congratulations!!

  2. I really want to go run dopey in 2015. I was buying new sneakers yesterday and meet someone for here who ran. They too said it was amazing.

  3. So proud of you! Truly an amazing accomplishment. I had to laugh at all the times Bobby didn’t listen to you on the course — thank goodness for cell phones!

  4. Jess @ PugRunAholic says

    Love it! Some day I would love to do this, although I’m not that great when it comes to running in large crowds. I may have to work on that part haha. I don’t think I would have been able to do that many races back to back… okay I know I wouldn’t. I’ve never done a marathon before, just a half. Some day 😉 Love your recap! So many great pictures!

  5. Bridie Rist says

    I was getting emotional reading about you getting emotional while thinking about my very first coming up so soon! You should be very proud! What accomplishment! Thank you for writing about your experiences.

  6. Congratulations Heather! What an accomplishment! I know you have to be so proud of yourself. And when I cross my first half marathon finish line at Princess, I’ll be crying too!

  7. Way to go Heather! I loved reading your recap! I never knew when I started running last year how emotional running could be, but it can be so overwhelming at times to see just how much we can put our bodies through. The half last month was quite an emotional experience for me as well.

  8. Awesome recap, Heather! Congrats to you and Bobby on such a huge accomplishment! Love inspiration point…and Tara…and that you were able to get your medal from Jaclyn….and the cheeseburger. 😀

  9. What a recap! I teared up reading this! So proud of you and Bobby for this amazing accomplishment!!! And so amazing that you get to pass that same place that it all started for you!

  10. Congratulations!! Glad you had a great race after the half. Looks like you had fun!

  11. The bottom of my feet killed during the half marathon. I have no idea why, but actual injury didn’t bother me until mile 12. My feet were fine in the parks, but the bottom of my feet just plain hurt during the race.

  12. Awesome recap! Congrats. I did Dopey as my first full, which seemed crazy at the time (and, um, it definitely WAS), but it also happened to be an absolutely amazing experience. So glad I did it! You guys did an incredible job, and you got some fabulous pictures along the way! Congratulations, again! 🙂

  13. I’ve had issues with the arch of my left foot since I got this new pair of shoes, but inserts have cleared that up!

    Congrats on your HUGE accomplishment! I don’t know that I can ever do Dopey but I won’t rule it out just yet. Your recaps and other posts are always so honest and do not sugar-coat anything and I think that’s why I enjoy reading them so much. It makes a goal seem more attainable when you know that someone who has accomplished it also had their fair share of struggles along the way, so thank you for your honesty!

  14. AWESOME recap, Heather!! Love it! Reading this makes me so excited for next year. I can only imagine the emotion a challenge like this could bring. I am currently training for my first full marathon (it’s on March 1st), and I know just that race alone will probably make me emotional haha! :0)

    Great job!!

  15. ChristineB says

    Congratulations! This is such a huge accomplishment. You should be very proud of yourself for making it through all 4 races.

    I’m not sure I could ever do the Dopey challenge, but then again, just a few years ago I had no desire to run a half marathon, and last week I signed up for my first one for later this year, so I guess I should never say never.

  16. My feet, especially the ball of my left foot, hurt like crazy during the marathon. You know, when I passed by your special spot at the entrance to DHS, I did a little “nod to Heather” remembering that recap that I’m sure many people look at with fondness. Congratulations on an amazing achievement.

  17. OMG! I am so jealous of you!! I want to do this challenge so badly, even more so now that I read all your recaps! Holy Moly, great job girl! I just did my first Full Marathon at the Chevron Houston Marathon…it was incredible and I need another fun to do. This one is on my bucket list. I am very curious what hotel you stayed at and also roughly what your weekend cost in the long run so I can save for this.

    • Congrats to you!
      My numbers won’t really help you b/c I get certain discounts as a travel agent. I would love to give you a quote though/estimate on some different hotels (the range is so great it would be hard to tell you an average) just shoot me an email

  18. Congrats to you and Bobby for completing the Dopey Challenge! Great recap of this last leg of that challenge! It was awesome to meet you and Bobby before the race and to see you guys coming out of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. It almost seems surreal. About a year ago, I was reading your blog post about your 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon and it was one of the blogs I read that inspired me to sign up to run in this year’s marathon (and finish my first full marathon). So, thank you for sharing your story. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who has been inspired to dream of long distances after reading your story.

    It’s interesting that you ask about feet hurting on long distances. For my training runs of 17 miles or longer, my feet hurt like crazy. On the day of the marathon, they didn’t hurt at all. That was such a happy surprise. I will probably never attempt the Dopey Challenge because waking up 4 mornings in a row at that unGodly hour is just too much for me wrap my mind around. I might attempt the Goofy’s Race and a Half challenge at some point, though.

  19. Heather, I totally teared up! YAYYYYYY!!!! I am s proud of you!!!! So inspiring <3

  20. How fun! This one is on my bucket list!

  21. The feet thing, I was wondering how you guys dealt with that. My feet hurt after 5 miles sometimes. I just started taping the ball of my foot and all the way around and that has helped with what was hurting me, but man! That is a lot of pounding on the pavement! I am so happy for you with your accomplishment in Dopey! Thanks for the great review! I think I will tackle Goofy first.

    Oh and the pix of the sign in the ground is what my tank will say for my costume, I thought it was appropriate since I am running 13.1 miles while 28.5 weeks pregnant! Less than 3 weeks till my first 1/2 and getting excited and nervous!

  22. I cried reading your “Roar” story!! I hope I can accomplish even one Disney race! Wine and Dine this year is my first step! I love reading your blog and much congratulations to you and Bobby for all you have accomplished!!

  23. says

    Great recap! I don’t know if I could ever do a full marathon, but this certainly makes it tempting!

  24. Kimberly Thurston says

    Congrats!! What an accomplishment! Thanks for sharing your story. I am all teary and….inspired!!! 😀

  25. Congrats and glad we ran into you that night! I love that you and Bobby run together, I am really looking forward to training for and running my husbands first marathon with him this fall!

  26. Are you gonna do the any of the Disneyland marathons this year?

  27. I’m signed up for my first race EVER next May. I’m doing the Neverland 5k at Disneyland and I’m so excited. Thanks for these blogs, I’m now thinking that I can do so much more than just the 5k after this. Maybe I’ll sign up for the 5 and 10k in 2016. Or maybe I’ll do another set of races towards the end of 2015. Who knows? I just know that a runDisney race seems like the best way to go. Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  28. OH I LOVED reading this!!!! I’m running the Disney Full in just a few weeks!!! If you have special tips or tricks or words of advice I’d love to hear!!

  29. Jovonsia Guidry says

    Thank you for the info! I signed up for Dopey Challenge 2017 and am so nervous.

Mentioned elsewhere:

  1. runningwithsass says:

    Dopey Challenge 2014: Marathon Race Recap

    The fourth and final installment is finally here! The marathon was the only thing standing in the way

  2. […] finished my race recaps from marathon weekend this week, but wanted to give a few final thoughts on my experience with the runDisney Dopey Challenge and […]

  3. Disney’s Dopey Challenge (Guest Post) | PugRunAholic says:

    […] finished my race recaps from marathon weekend this week, but wanted to give a few final thoughts on my experience with the runDisney Dopey Challenge and […]

%d bloggers like this: