Racing Disney: Dopey Day 4 The Marathon

Racing Disney: Dopey Day 4 The Marathon 1

Hey there Main Streeters! Tonight we finish up Catie’s recap of her Dopey 3-peat. I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have. Maybe it’s even inspired a few of you…I know it has me!


Marathon morning started out much like the rest of the previous race days, except this morning we had 3 of us to get ready. Our friend Catherine joined us to run the full marathon. We had our pre-race dance party, and gathered up all of our supplies and hit the bus stop to head to the race.
At the race, we all checked into the race retreat to eat breakfast and mentally prep for the race. We checked our bags, made our last minute pit stops at the private port-a-lets, snapped a few quick pictures and then headed towards the start line. Along the trek to the start, we posed for a few more pictures with the MarathonFoto photographers. We got to the fork in the road where Catherine and I had to separate from Mom. We gave good luck hugs all around and then Catherine and I made our way up to our corral.
We jumped into the port-a-let line one last time before heading into the corral. To get into our corral, Catherine and I had to trek through a serious muddy patch. Then our corral was so filled that we couldn’t even enter it. We had to wait outside the gates until the corral began to move forward before we could really srtep into it and push forward a bit in the corral so we weren’t the last two. (We did watch quite a few people climb over the barriers but we voted that we voted better to be safe and wait than to make the climb and be sorry!)
We waited as the first few corrals took off and then before we knew it we heard those magic words and we began our 26.2 mile magical journey! We decided to run with my cell phone in airplane mode to use it as a glorified camera for the race to conserve battery life and to have it at the end to contact our families. We decided we would alternate which one of us carried the phone and we would attempt to run the entire race carrying the phone instead of wasting time pulling it in and out of our race belts.
We took the first couple of miles pretty easy and just soaked in the magic of the race. When we found characters we liked, we stopped for pictures and we would debate over which ones we wanted to skip! Before we knew it, we were at the Magic Kingdom and running down Main Street U.S.A. We made the loop through Tomorrowland and then the course took on a new path and they looped us through New Fantasyland. Catherine and I looked over to our right in front of the Little Mermaid ride to see Ariel and Sebastian out posing for pictures. We originally ran past them, but then we decided to turn around and go back to get a picture with them! While we were waiting, we kept being warned that Sebastian would have to be taking a break momentarily, but luckily that break occurred AFTER our picture!
We then kept trucking through New Fantasyland towards the castle. We stopped for the Castle Picture, then took off through Liberty Square towards Frontierland. Here was where they added another new piece of course as they had us loop up and make a tight turn in front of Big Thunder Mountain and ran us past the front of Splash Mountain and then out of the park into the back stage area. Here we stopped for a pretty awesome picture with the Maleficent float from the Festival of Fantasy parade! It was pretty awesome to see the gorgeous float up close and personal!


We looped through the backstage area and then back on the highway out towards where the Speedway used to be, then they looped us down a back road to head us towards Animal Kingdom. Along this road we got some pretty cool pictures of some villains. We also had a nice out and back loop that entertained us with the RV people – if you haven’t run the Marathon, then these are characters that are on their vacation in their RV and they are HYSTERICAL! After this moment of levity we kept putting one foot in front of the other to head into Animal Kingdom.
This is also the time frame where you run past the water treatment plant, it’s not exactly a pleasant smell, but luckily race day wasn’t too warm so the stench wasn’t completely unbearable. They have some pretty sweet stats about how much water Disney World actually helps save by having their own water treatment plant. It’s pretty wild!
Now we started to approach Animal Kingdom through a backstage area. You are greeted by fictional and ACTUAL animals as you loop into the park. Some of the animals even have their own personalized marathon bibs. After all of this, you finally enter into the park proper and loop your way through. Along the way you go in front of Expedition Everest. IF you are lucky enough, you actually catch a thrill by riding the ride. Catherine and I were in the park about 45 minutes too early to catch a ride; however, my awesome mother was able to get on the coaster and greeted me at the finish line of the marathon reciting her photo number so we could go back to get it. Yeah – my mom is the coolest!
As you exit Animal Kingdom you are officially half way there. And I won’t lie, the next few miles are torturous and feel like they are never going to end. You have to climb up from Animal Kingdom and head towards ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Disney tries to entertain you with a few character stops – this is actually the last picture we have on the phone during the race as we decided at this point to put the phone into a race belt. We were both over carrying it. Disney also has a few of those giant screens playing ReMicks – unfortunately as Catherine and I were running through one of the speakers was having a terrible time and it sounded AWFUL! It did make me run slightly faster up a hill though because I just wanted AWAY from the awful sound!
Mile 17 is when you enter the lovely ESPN WWOS Complex. At this point, my running buddy was just feeling over the race. She hit the wall pretty hard so we voted at this point to just enjoy the rest of the race and make it through. We started doing more of an interval of run/walk to make it to the finish. There are a few picture ops in ESPN WWOS and you get to run through the Stadium which is pretty cool – especially if you’re a Braves fan because it’s where they have their Spring Training. The Stadium has quite a few spectators in it and they have an announcer who calls out your names. My full name is Catherine as well so when we ran through the stadium we got a shout out as “A couple of Catherines!”

IMG_8976As you leave ESPN WWOS you have finished 20 miles of the race. I realized at this point that I was starting to have some serious chafing on my arms. I looked at Catherine and told her I needed to run ahead to the medical tent to grab some Vaseline to relieve the horrific burn I had under my arms. (I always forget to glide this part of my body before a race, you think I would learn!)
We then looped up an on ramp and headed towards Hollywood Studios. When we entered Hollywood Studios Catherine started picking up some steam. At this point, the toll of the added miles I had run the previous days were starting to wear on me. I would often motion for Catherine to keep running while I would jump in for a quick photo op with a character. As we ran down the main street of Hollywood Studios we both really fed off the crowd (yes, the park is open at this time and a lot of park goers are totally confused but still cheer you on anyway) and got into a nice rhythm together.
Then we started on my least favorite part of the entire race, the pathway from Hollywood Studios to EPCOT. This pathway is a sidewalk, so obviously it’s made of concrete plus it’s pretty narrow. It is not very fun and most people at this point are grouchy, I mean hey, you’ve been running for 23+ miles – the RUNGER (running hunger) is real. The cool thing during this trip down the hateful sidewalk was this precious dog who by command of his owner would bark at you to cheer you on your way. It was awesome!
Next you enter the Boardwalk. There are quite a few spectators along this part of the course as they come out from the various hotels to cheer on their specific runners and stay to root on the rest of us complete strangers as well. To any of you who were there, thank you. You guys are awesome and are such a support system for the runners, in reality, anyone on the course who cheers on runners are a huge support.
Finally we saw mile 25. Kid you not, I swear mile 25 into 26 is the longest mile I have ever run in my entire life. Yet, you spend the whole mile looping through EPCOT’s World Showcase and Future World. As we were running by Canada and into France, a very famous Olympian, Jeff Galloway was pretty close to Catherine and I! He’s the runDisney consultant and it’s always nice to see him out on the course. He looked like he had way more energy than the 2 of us and he is quite a few years older than us. Needless to say, we decided to dig deep and push on to the finish. We did stop for a few more pictures, I mean c’mon it is Disney, OK?
We debated purchasing a Margarita to cross the finish line with, but Catherine had that determined look in her eye that told me we would not be making any further detours at this time. We rounded the corner out of EPCOT and heard that beautiful Gospel choir. We picked up speed, saw mile 26 and heard the crowd calling us to the finish. Catherine and I put in our final kick and crossed that finish line with our arms held up high!


We made our way down the finisher chute and picked up our marathon medals. We snapped a few quick pictures together and then I had to go through the Dopey tent to get both my Dopey & Goofy medals. We met up on the other side and then made our way back to the race retreat tent. The post-race food is the reason I love the race retreat. I need to eat pretty quickly following a race or I start to feel pretty gross. The race retreat provides just the right amount of food that I always feel good until we can go get a real meal following the race. It also provides a nice, weatherproof area to wait while my mom finishes her race. Catherine and I took advantage of taking pictures with Pinocchio and friends and then did some foam rolling to loosen up some tight and sore muscles from the race. We then knew Mom would be close to finishing and went out watch Mom cross the finish line.
After we all met up, we headed back into the race retreat to let Mom get her post-marathon feast on. Then we made our way back to the buses to head back to the hotel to enjoy some more Disney magic. My one tip after finishing Dopey, is that no matter how tired you think you are, take a quick nap but then KEEP MOVING! You won’t realize how much keeping moving will help keep you loose and keep the soreness at bay.
Plus, after finishing Dopey you HAVE to wear that awesome bling out into the parks for some well deserved congratulations!


Looking forward to seeing some of you guys out there in 2017 – Dopey 4-Peat for me!

 Thanks for all your hard work Catie! I’ll see you there in 2018!!!


TMSM is very excited to publish the “Racing Disney” runDisney series by Addie Clark, Catie Neal and Tali McPike. Please keep an eye out for more of their amazing and informative articles! If you missed of the articles in this series make sure you check them at
If you are planning on running in a runDisney event and have questions, or have participated and want to talk about your experiences make sure you visit our runDisney Forum at



Racing Disney: Dopey Day 4 The Marathon 2

Author: Addie Clark

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