This was my second RunDisney race and I had signed-up for the Goofy Challenge thinking that I would be considered a 'real runner' if I could do both a half-marathon AND a full! RunDisney races will always hold a special place in my heart and I am a forever Disney fan- it always makes me feel like a kid whenever I arrive at Magic Kingdom and this race was way more than I could have expected!
The race started out SO cold (and of-course I didn't bring any warm-weather gear from Colorado with me), luckily I had a throw-away sweatshirt, mittens, and hat that I purchased from Target. It was also slightly windy, which made me (a person who normally runs cold anyways) even more chilled. It started in Epcot, then we weaved out and made our way to Magic Kingdom, which was way more magical than an expectation I had! Seeing the castle sparkle in the still dark sky was amazing and I began to warm-up, so I dropped off my sweatshirt and hat off to the sidelines.
Once leaving the Kingdom, we headed to Animal Kingdom and I was so excited to see my mom and grandmother along the course (they planned to see my around mile 14). This is one of my favorite parks and it did NOT disappoint! It is so magical to run through the parks when they are quiet and it helps keep me distracted from my already tired legs and body.
From here, we weaved our way onward towards ESPN's Wide World of Sports. While we were on a small path for what seemed like a million years, I thought Disney did a great job of spacing out characters and keeping runners distracted from the fact that we are running a marathon!
Once hitting the Wide World of Sports (the most boring part of the race, in my opinion), terrain started to get more difficult (sometimes we were on a track or dirt-paths) and mileage was starting to hit me (although it was still only mid-30s and windy).
We left Wide World of Sports and headed back onto the interstate for a bit, which wasn't terrible as you knew you were headed to Hollywood Studios! This stretch had my absolute FAVORITE part of any race I have ever participated in- one of Toy Story's soldiers shouting and encouraging runners up and over a hill. It was amazing and exactly what I needed!
Hollywood Studios didn't disappoint and it is so cool to be able to run through sections and have so many great spectators cheering us along! They were even handing out candy along this section- hello chocolate at mile 22ish!
It was here that we left our 3rd park and headed back to Epcot and the finish line! How can the board walk around Epcot seem so short when you are walking it, but when you are running a marathon it seems like it never ends?!? Spectators were sparse along the beginning parts of the Boardwalk of Epcot, but when I began to hear the cheers from the finish line it was every bit as magical as I dreamed of! I was SO proud of this accomplishment that I didn't think I could do, that (happy) tears started filling my eyes!
While the half marathon was cancelled due to the threat of severe thunderstorms, I still got my 39.3 magical miles in and truly felt like a "runner" after completing the Goofy Challenge. I had no expectations going into these races, besides 1. to finish and 2. have fun. It was SO much fun and I am planning out when I can sign up for the Dopey Challenge. While the races are pricey and travel in January from Colorado isn't ideal, the magical memories (and amount of Mickey Waffles consumed) are worth it!