I have participated in all of the east coast runDisney races. Up until this year, I had done them all except the runDisney Expedition Everest Challenge.
The Everest Challenge has always been somewhat of a mystery to me….”So you run..and there are clues…and it’s a scavenger hunt…and there are obstacles?” All super confusing and there isn’t a lot of information out there about it. I decided to record us running parts of the race to help explain it better. Sadly though, this was the last year they did the race so it’s kind of a moo point now (any FRIENDS fans in the house? The point is MOO!)
Anyway, Here is a recap, video, and then my final thoughts at the bottom.
Jen and I were staying at Caribbean Beach resort which was a host hotel for the event. The race started at 10:00, so we hopped on a bus about 8:30ish. We arrived at Animal Kingdom around 9:00, and there were a bunch of folks milling about in the parking lot. We decided to not check our bags just yet since we had so much time, and asked a friendly runner to take a photo of us.
I was checking my phone and reading Facebook when I saw there was an earthquake very close to my house. Huh? I quickly called Bobby to see what was going on. He said he felt several rumbles but had no idea it was an earthquake. Crazy! Never have we felt one in Mississippi before. Luckily, Emma Kate had slept through it.
Anyway, after hanging out a bit longer we decided to check our bags and hit the bathrooms before getting into our corral. Bag check was easy and smooth, and we even found port-o-potties with no line. Always an amazing thing to find at a runDisney race, and a very rare one at that! We made our way over to corral B and listened to the DJ and hung out until it was time to start.
We were waiting on our corral’s turn to go when one of the announcers came down into the crowd. I was thinking “please don’t come talk to me” in my head when of course he walks right over to us, asks our names etc. and if we were running as a team.
It was finally time for us to go, and off we went through the parking lot. I didn’t take a lot of pictures because I was busy taking videos.
The hay bales were the first obstacle and they were in the parking lot. We made it over those and headed into the park. The second obstacle was crawling under a net, and this was right near the turn around in the park. Going back out into the parking lot, we found the last obstacle, and ran through the tires before making it to the finish line. The course was short, around 2.8 miles. We were given water and cooling towels along with our first clue. We also got a sharpie and a mini flashlight. We walked to the next clue station as we tried to figure out clue number one. It was a tough on!
We got it though then headed to clue two, which we TOTALLY were overthinking. Once we asked a volunteer about it, she helped us make sense of it and NOT overthink it, and we were able to solve it and continue on.
We got three and four pretty quickly, and then got our final clue. It was a word search that involved the answers to all the previous clues, and told us to find the hidden yeti on a clue card. Again, we were over thinking it and COULD NOT figure it out! We were getting really frustrated and then I finally found the little guy. We ended up mainly walking from clue to clue because we weren’t trying to place or anything.
You had to hold up your final answer at the last checkpoint in order to make it through to the finish line.
Here we are sitting on the ground trying to solve the last clue.
We finished the race, and got our really cool medals.
We headed all the way back into the park for the after party, it was tricky trying to get to the party when there were still runners and hunters on the course.
There were food stands and the like open, and there was a DJ and some characters out dancing. Some of the rides were open too, but we were really tired so we took a couple of pictures and headed to the bus.
Who recognizes Slim? I had never seen him out before!
We also saw this guy who was a dance machine!
Leaving the park was very difficult because the path was narrow, and most people were just coming INTO the party as we were leaving, so it was like trying to swim upstream trying to get around all the people going in the opposite direction. We made it back to the resort after midnight and hit the hay. Another race complete!
As I mentioned before, I had always been so curious about this race. I have been thinking a lot about what to say about it so I will do my best to put it into words. The race was a GREAT idea in theory, but I felt like it was seriously lacking in execution. Because everyone is running at a different pace and the corrals are staggered out, when we came through with our first clue there were still runners going by. Everyone was running into each other and it was kind of chaotic. They had signage telling runners to stay to one side etc. but people were not following directions. There was one point we literally had to cross over the lane of runners to get to the other side and it was like playing Frogger. That coupled with the darkness in the park and people reading the clues as they were walking and not paying attention to where they were going, it was kind of dangerous.
The volunteers were great, they even had some characters on the course, but I just feel like it could be done in a different way. I’m not saying I have any idea how to change it for the better, but it just didn’t flow very smoothly if that makes sense. Some people were confused about running the 5k first then doing the hunt, and were trying to get clues the first time around the park. Also, with the after party being in Dinoland, we ended up having to enter the park three separate times that night. Also, like I said, it was confusing trying to walk to the party while there were still runners coming through.
I hate that they got rid of the only family/scavenger hunt event because I can see how kids would be all over this thing, it had a fun family atmosphere for sure. Maybe a different park? Maybe in the daylight? Maybe not have the 5k cross paths with the hunt portion? I’m not sure what the answer is, but I do hope they introduce something similar for families with better logistics. Oh, also some of the clues were really hard, and one was even written incorrectly and was throwing people off.
I loved running through the part, the volunteers were great, there were two water stops, and the medal is really really fun, but I can see why it is being discontinued. Oh, also the obstacles were optional, so for the people “racing” to place, they could have skipped them and gained several minutes (the net obstacle took a while to get through). We were in corral B so there were no lines at the obstacles, but I can imagine in the further back corrals there would be a back up of people.
If anyone has any questions about the event I would be happy to answer. I am so glad I finally had the chance to participate and get the compass medal! I hope you enjoy my video and I hope it helps explain the race a little better.
QOTD: Have you ever run a scavenger hunt race? Thoughts on this one? Do you hope they reintroduce something similar?
For more information on runDisney races, visit runDisney.com