On April 9th, Run Disney will open registration for the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. The event itself starts January 9th and there will be a 5k, 10K, Half-Marathon, Marathon and kids races plus a Health and Fitness Expo at ESPN/Disney's Wide World of Sports.
You can sign up for any of the races you wish of course, but there are also some extra perks and challenges that Disney adds to make the deal even sweeter. If you finish the race you signed up for, you get a medal. From what I've seen and heard, they are very special. Not your regular race bling. But there are several chances to increase the amount of bling if you are up to the challenge.
For several years now Run Disney has recognized the Goofy Challenge. If you sign up for this, you run the Half-Marathon on Saturday then the Full Marathon on Sunday. A total of 39.3 miles over two days. The prize? Three medals: One for each race plus the coveted Goofy medal.
This year, Run Disney went beyond Goofy... how much beyond? Well, they went Dopey! Last week they announced the brand new Dopey Challenge. With the introduction of the 10K in 2014, Disney is challenging those brave enough to run the 5K, 10K, Half and Full in consecutive days. That means running 48.6 miles from Thursday to Sunday! Assuming you finish, you get six medals. That's right, six. One for each race plus the Goofy medal AND the new Dopey medal.
Here is the video they released announcing the Dopey Challenge.
Not enough bling you say? Well there is more! An even rarer medal exists. Those who have won the Coast to Coast medal are among elite company. Disney gives this medal to those who have run a Disney race in both Florida and California within the same calendar year.
And all this, plus the fact that you get to run in the actual Disney parks - all four of them in the case of the full Marathon - and enjoy all sorts of Disney magic along the courses.
I wouldn't even dream of running any of those challenges. I'm still trying to figure out if I can run 10 miles, let alone 48.6. But that's one of the main things I love about Run Disney events: They are organized in a way that makes you plan ahead. You set a goal (the 2014 Marathon in my case) and gradually work your way up. This of course helps Disney to get people to come back but it's a win-win scenario because you are always looking for the next challenge, which keeps you setting new goals, which keeps you running, which is a very good thing.
I have my mind set on the Marathon right now but you can bet the Goofy and Coast to Coast medals are in the back of my mind. It's always good to look ahead. It sure worked for Walt Disney.
If you are interested in learning more about Run Disney events, you can check out their website here.