It's Marathon Weekend again at Walt Disney World, and Lee and I are back here again to fill our suitcases with bling and race shirts. :-)
Disney has added a new race and a new race challenge this year. On Friday, the Inaugural WDW 10K will take place. Like the other three races, it also starts and ends at Epcot.
And now that there's a fourth race, Disney has again thrown down the gauntlet (or Mickey glove) and challenged those of us crazy enough to do all four. It's beyond Goofy to want to do that, so this one is appropriately called The Dopey Challenge. And there are 7,567 or so of us signed up to do it. (Thanks Chris Mushrush for that info!)
It's four races, on four consecutive (very early) mornings. 5K on Thursday, 10K on Friday, half marathon on Saturday, and marathon on Sunday. A total of 48.6 miles of race courses. Those who successfully complete it take home *six* medals - one for each race, one for completing the Goofy Challenge, and one for the Dopey Challenge. Even by my standards, that's a LOT of bling!
Because the first race is on Thursday, the Race Expo began a day earlier, on Wednesday. We arrived at Wide World of Sports this morning just about 10:00. The Expo was scheduled to open at 10:00, but they opened early - very nice for those who were waiting!
On the walkway to Wide World of Sports they have banners for each of the races set up, which makes for a very nice photo.
We walked right in when we arrived. The last two Disney race expos I attended (Disneyland and Princess) were nightmares, but today I didn't experience any problems. I don't know if there were fewer people there early because the races are spread out over four days, or if they just learned from some of last year's mistakes (probably a bit of both), but we didn't encounter much in the way of lines at all. Though there was a VERY long line, and long wait, for those trying to buy the New Balance Disney shoes.
Almost all of the packet pick-up is in the Field House - the exception is the pick-up for the kids' races, which is at the stadium. Goodie bag pickup varies, depending on what races you are doing - for Goofy and Dopey it's also in the Field House, though for Dopey we still had to go to the Josten Center to pick up our 5K shirt. Odd - I don't know why they wouldn't put it in the bag with the rest of them.
I really like the shirts this year! The designs and colors are great. And they have FINALLY given us a women's cut shirt - so a small actually fits me! The fabric is a lighter weight tech fabric, and they got rid of those awful gusseted sleeves which were so tight. My only complaint (you knew I had to have one, right?) is that they are still long sleeve. Now, I know I'm from California, where we rarely need long sleeves, but even in other parts of the country most runners don't wear long sleeves more than a few months out of the year...and we hardly ever need them for the races here in Florida. I'm going to cut the sleeves off and turn them into short sleeve shirts.
I'd pre-ordered a Dopey pin - so I had to go to the "commemorative items" line to get that...that was the longest line I had.
There was a small merchandise area in the Field House, but it had a pretty good selection of items - most importantly I was able to get a Dopey magnet to add to my collection (still bummed that I missed out on the Dumbo Double Dare magnet). There were actually several designs of Dopey magnets.
I think this was my favorite shirt - it's more of a generic Marathon Weekend shirt, but it has the five medals on the back. (I guess the 5K medallion, since it isn't metal, doesn't count. Poor Pluto.)
The merchandise area in the Field House wasn't too crowded, and the checkout line moved very fast (but if there's one thing Disney knows how to do, it's take money).
Next we went over to the Josten's Center, which is where goodie bag/shirt pickup is for most of the races. There's also a much bigger Disney merchandise area there, as well as all of the non-Disney vendors. It was more crowded, but not totally jammed.
The I Did It shirts for all the races were over in the Josten Center. The Dopey shirts are tech shirts and not cotton t-shirts - I'd rather have cotton. They came in a men's and women's cut, but the women's cut are PINK...so I have a men's shirt. My favorite part of the I Did It shirts is the map on the back.
It seemed like there was quite a bit more Goofy merchandise this year than in the past, and a nice selection for the new 10K, also.
It seemed like this year they had the same types of merchandise available for all of the races (except the 5K). Shirts, magnets, headbands, mugs and glasses, and pins. Cast members were standing by to replenish it, so I hope they won't run out of Dopey/Goofy merchandise the first day, which is what has happened in the past.
I was disappointed in this year's Coast-to-Coast shirts - in addition to being a tech shirt, I just don't like the design - it seems pretty generic.
We checked out the runDisney booth, and saw the selection of medals - we should have almost all of these by the end of next weekend! (The Tinker Bell 1/2 and new Tinker Bell 10K medals are on the right.) We asked if they were signing people up for the Disneyland Half, like they were last year, but no, registration opens at the end of January.
There were lots of other vendors and we wandered around and spent some more money. It's my tradition to buy new sunglasses here, and I did, and Lee got a new race belt.
Near the exit, Florida Hospital was doing a body composition analysis, with a device that measures weight, skeletal muscle mass, and fat mass, and they compute your body fat percentage. Didn't take long, and it was kind of interesting.
We saw a number of our fellow Team AllEars folks wandering around - like our Team captains, Mike and Michelle.
And MaryJean and Nancy, who were picking up bags for teammates whose arrival has been delayed by the horrible weather. (We also saw Joe, who was doing the same thing.) We were concerned that some of those running Dopey might not make it for the 5K tomorrow, but as I write this, I believe we've heard that everyone is either here or on a plane. Whew.
Tomorrow starts our first of four VERY early mornings...though the 5K doesn't start until 6:15, unlike the others that all start at 5:30! We're looking forward to getting the Challenge started!
The previous post in this blog was Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/04/13.
The next post in this blog is WDW 2014 Marathon Weekend - Inaugural Dopey Challenge, Part 2.