Dopey Challenge: The Half Marathon

Day 3 and another 3am wake up call.

Honestly by this time when my alarm went off I was about ready to throw it across the room.  I’m not a morning person to begin with (not that this was morning so much as middle of the night…), and it certainly didn’t help that I wasn’t particularly thrilled with the course crowding and lack of characters during the first two legs of the Dopey Challenge.

But, up I got!  Today was half marathon day!

I met my running crew at the start area and we began the LONG trek to the corrals (if you’ve never done the half or full at WDW Marathon Weekend it’s about a 20 minute walk to the corrals!).

When we finally did make it to corral “I” it was overflowing and we could barely squeeze in…

Half Corrals

Corral “I” Overflowing

…we finally did make our way in (after basically being attacked by the corral bib checkers – man were they aggressive!) and took our usual pre-race corral selfie!

Half Corral Selfie

Me, Roy, Jenn and Daniel

Starting at 5:30am we waited for the 8 corrals ahead of us (yes, 8!) to go and finally we were off!

Half Fireworks

The only way to describe the beginning of this race is SLOW and CROWDED.  And if I wasn’t already upset about the corral placement for the Dopey Challengers (see my Angry Corral Rant HERE) let me tell you I just about lost it when around mile 2 I realized the 2:45 pace group was in our corral!!

Now please understand that I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with anyone who runs a 2:45 half marathon.  If you’re off the couch and doing something (anything!) I’m happy/ proud/ excited for you!  But, having submitted a 1:59 half proof of time, I don’t exactly agree with my placement in the same corral as the 2:45 pace group.

That is all I’m going to say about that (for this post at least).

My anger subsided when we got to the Transportation and Ticket Center and Jenn‘s dad, for the 2nd year in a row, handed us THE WORLD’S BEST RACE SNACK – A DOLE WHIP!

And then, we proceeded to take THE WORLD’S BEST RACE PHOTO!

Half Dole Whip 1

Roy, Jenn and I running and eating our mid-race Dole Whip!
Photo by Daniel Wanderman

Roy clearly has yet to learn that you don’t come between Jenn and I and a Dole Whip!

(**RACE TIP: These mid-race Dole Whips come from the Polynesian, find yourself a loyal race spectator and have them bring you one!)

Fueled with pineapple goodness we made our way into the Magic Kingdom…

Half Castle

Photo by Daniel Wanderman

…through Tomorrowland and the castle and made a quick stop for a picture with Woody before we headed out of the park.

(**This would pretty much be our only character stop since all the lines were so long!)

Half Woody Pic

Coming out of the Magic Kingdom we ran by the Grand Floridian and the Polynesian where Jenn’s dad met us with…ANOTHER DOLE WHIP!

Half Dole Whip Danielle

Photo by Daniel Wanderman

After a second round of Dole Whip there was just a few miles of highway between us and the finish line!

Well, a few miles and a few pushups of course!

Half Push Ups 2

Photo by Daniel Wanderman

I continued the mid-race pushup tradition by dropping and giving the green army man 5! (I stopped at 5 so I didn’t hold up the photo line.  Ha!  Who am I kidding, 5 pushups is totally all I can do!)

The green army man was pretty psyched about it, gave me a big high five and sent me on my way!


So, I’m not sure why, but for some reason Dan and I kept thinking that the half marathon went through Hollywood Studios…clearly not because we got to mile 12 and realized we were heading in to Epcot and were just about to the finish!  (Too many races to keep straight!)

Half Running Through Epcot

Running through Epcot!
Photo by Daniel Wanderman

We headed under Spaceship Earth and out towards the finish line in the Epcot parking lot!

Half Finish

3 races, 3 early mornings and still smiling!
Photo by Daniel Wanderman

My overall thoughts on this race?  It was crowded basically from start to finish for me and I definitely think there were less characters than last year.  I heard from others in corrals ahead of me that they didn’t find the course crowded at all so I’m chalking it up to being in a corral of runners running at a slower pace than I was trying to run at – definitely made for a lot bobbing and weaving!

Half Medal

22.4 miles down, 26.2 to go!

If you missed my recaps of the 5k and 10k be sure to check them out!

Dopey Challenge: The Expo & 5k

Dopey Challenge: The 10k

**Special thanks to Daniel Wanderman for all the awesome race photos!**

28 thoughts on “Dopey Challenge: The Half Marathon

  1. My group got to the corrals early and no one asked to see our bibs. It definitely took time to get from “I” to the start, and I did feel the course was congested the entire time. rD still needs to address the congestion but I don’t know how

    • Wow, I can’t believe they weren’t checking bibs when you got there, we basically got attacked! And yes, I agree, I don’t think the corral issues are solved yet!

  2. All weekend, I saw TWO people who had clearly had their corrals changed–the stickers were blue with the running Mickey on them and a new letter. I’m not sure how they got them, but a lot of people were REALLY angry about their corrals-especially people who were in P because they forgot to submit proof of time. It was a riveting drama.

    • Exactly, I don’t really appreciate being lied to, they swore up and down there were absolutely NO corral changes, which clearly was not true. I don’t necessarily think my corral should have been changed so much as they shouldn’t stick the challenge runners in the same corral for the half and full…it just doesn’t line up correctly.

      • I think a lot of people thought they were placed in the wrong corral, but the biggest anger was from people who never submitted a proof of time and ended up in P. There were some really enraged people.

    • I may be a terrible person, but as far as I’m concerned if you don’t submit a proof of time that’s your own fault, you had plenty of time to do so. (Is that terrible???!)

  3. I was hoping you’d have Dole Whip and Green Army man pics! I was up front and it wasn’t crowded at all (though a few character lines were still long). I’ve done enough RD races that I’ve found that when you’re moving at the pace of the runners around you, they feel less crowded. If you’re further back and passing a lot of people, it feels more crowded (wait for my 10K recap!). Also, if you’re further back, but moving at the same pace as the people around you, it doesn’t feel crowded (my 5K w/my mom). I’ve started everywhere in these races–from the first corral to somewhere in the middle to the last and that’s definitely true.

  4. First off, I am SO JEALOUS that you got to enjoy a TWO Dole Whips during your race! I. am. obsessed. with those. So awesome! The course was definitely congested, and I started in G (which, I know you’ve covered it already, but WTF kind of sense does that make? I submitted a 2:03 half with no estimated finish time). In any case, the course was DEFINITELY crowded, and trying to weave around walls of walkers is never a treat. Of course, I know I can’t complain because I also choose to stand in those ridiculous character lines, putting me further and further back every time I stop, haha.

    • Haha yes the Dole Whips are an AWESOME mid-race snack! And I can go on and on and on and on about the corrals…I’m trying to not let it get to me any more though because it’s over and done with. I just hope they make some changes for the future.

  5. I’ll be interested to hear what the final word was from RunDisney on the corrals. It sounds like it was such a mess!!

    It looks like you had an awesome half marathon running around Disney World though. Two Dole Whips?? That would be heaven! Congratulations!

    • Me too, I’m really interested in seeing if they make any changes to the corrals for next year. And yes, as much as I hated the course crowding and lack of characters I really did have a good time, it’s always fun running with friends!

  6. I’ve never heard of the Polynesian Whips! I’ll have to get them next time! That is a great spot for spectators because they can see us at the transfer station and the Polynesian! I agree that there were less characters all around this year. What gives?!?!
    My sis lives there (works at Animal Kingdom) and runs most of their races, she told me that when you see the Green Man you know you’re close to the finish!

    • Yes! Captain Cooks, the quick service place at the Poly, has a Dole Whip machine! And yes, whenever I hear the green army men I know a) there’s a hill (they always put them on a hill) and b) the end is near!

  7. mmmm dole whips 🙂 And I’m just going to say ditto with everything you said about the corrals. You already know how annoyed we all were that morning 🙂

  8. I’ll have to try the dole whip option one of these days. I agree with the corrals (fellow Dopey). I was in K with a 2:18 submission and I was less than thrilled to see the 3 hour group was in the corral ahead of me. It makes for a lot of bobbing and weaving in races.

    • Yup, bobbing, weaving, grass running…not exactly what I was hoping for the day before a full marathon! And YES! Dole Whips are the perfect race fuel! Maybe one day runDisney will catch on and have a Dole Whip stop on the course!

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  12. Unfortunately these are issues I experience at most of the Disney races. I read the recaps and see all the characters and am envious because I never get to stop for any of them because the lines are always so long. Don’t get me wrong…I am in no way shape or form implying that I’m even remotely as fast as you (because we both know I’m not), but the corrals they shove me in are always crowded and filled with people that probably could/should be in a different corral (don’t even get me started with how they figured I should start in the same corral as my 60 year old dad – I mean, I would’ve ran with him anyway, but still! SIGNIFICANTLY different running times (and his was a guess) and a 30 year age difference! Sorry. My rant is over. I’m sorry this was not as enjoyable as usual, but hey, at least you got Dole Whips…TWICE! 🙂

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