Dopey Challenge 2017: 5k

Before the Race

The morning of the 5k, the first race of the Dopey Challenge, began plenty early, as I didn’t get much sleep the night before. Even though I didn’t have to head out to the buses until 4am, I wound up going out early and left my room around 3:45. After hearing how much everyone emphasized getting to the buses on time, I figured I would be my traditional early. Well, I really didn’t need to.

I was able to get on a bus right away, so I relaxed as we pulled into the Epcot parking lot almost exactly at 4am. But then I realized my mistake – what the hell was I going to do to kill the two hours until the first corral got released?

I sat around a lot, to be honest.

There was a DJ playing some music and trying to hype up the crowd, but it was a little too early in the morning to get pumped up. I just kind of sat on some of the bleachers set up there for about an hour, listening to the conversations around me. Then, when the corrals opened up, I headed for C. I wound up at the front of the corral, sitting on the ground and just chatting with some of the people around me. There were some really awesome costumes around me, so I spent some time admiring them all.

It seemed like it took forever to start, but finally the corrals starting being brought forward. A and B went, then we waited for a while. I got to be at the front when we started moving forward, but I meandered back a little further into the pack so as not to go out too fast. Plus there was some little girl (who am I kidding, she was probably like 14) who kept staring me down as we waited for our corral to be released, so I wanted to pull back from her.

Finally, we were lined up at the start line after the first two corrals had been released. There was a brief countdown, and we were off!

The 5k

We headed down a stretch, then made an immediate right turn to head down the road on the edge of the Epcot parking lot. It was a pretty quiet stretch, but it was awesome to be around all the other runners and to hear everything going on at the start line. There was one character stop in the first mile, but I wasn’t all that into it – I honestly don’t even remember what characters were there.

Mile one came right around the sanitation plant or something at Epcot, because it smelled pretty funky. I realized that I had been running straight through without taking my walk breaks, so I began actually keeping my intervals. We went under the rail for Test Track, so that was pretty cool. We were in some more of the backstage area, then emerged onto the World Showcase. Yay World Showcase! It was so awesome running through there with Disney music playing through the speakers and the torches all illuminated in the pre-dawn light.


Mile two was right around the France pavilion, and I began to lay off the gas (not to say I was going very fast, but I was pushing myself pretty hard) since I had three more races during the weekend. When we went towards the Land pavilion, I stopped to drink from a water fountain and use an actual bathroom. It was a pretty low-key finish, and I really enjoyed running past the Epcot ball with it all lit up.

Out to the right side of the park, down a straightaway, and to the finish line! My first race of Marathon Weekend and the Dopey Challenge was complete in 40:30!

After the Race

I hopped on the bus back to Pop Century and went back to our room, where Mom was still sleeping. I showered and laid down for a brief nap, since I was pretty tired from the early-morning wakeup call. Wound up being the best choice I could’ve made.

Thursday was our intense Magic Kingdom day. Lunch at Be Our Guest (amazing!!!), Mine Train, and my first time on several rides like It’s a Small World and Hall of Presidents. We rode plenty of other rides there, and then went back to our hotel to relax for a little while in the late afternoon. We had reservations at the France pavilion at around 8:30 (bad choice on my part, because I was already quite tired), so we put on more layers and headed for Epcot. On our bus ride over, I mentioned how awesome it would be to be seated beside the window to see Illuminations. My mom laughed and said that it was too bad we couldn’t request that. The universe must have been making up for me leaving my license in Pennsylvania, because when we got seated at the restaurant, right by the window we went!

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All in all, my first race and first full day at Disney was great! We headed back to the hotel plenty later than I would have liked, but I really enjoy the bus back from Epcot after dark – some pretty great adults on that bus. When we got back, I quickly showered and laid down to get ready for another early alarm for the 10k.

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