Walt Disney World 5k Race Report from 2018

RunDisney’s 25th annual Walt Disney World Marathon weekend started in grand style on Thursday, January 4th with the Pluto-themed 5k. 13,000 runners participated in this family fun run, kicking off the first of the four races in my Dopey Challenge Journey.

Vital stats: 5:30 am start (alarm went off at 2:00), 35 degrees at race start. Character Stops: Chip & Dale, Jiminy Cricket, Koda and Kenai (Brother Bear), Horace Horsecollar, Finish time 1:21:42

My whole goal from start to finish was not to shiver, which meant I had to stay layered and warm enough that my body would not need to expend the extra energy to keep me warm. Now going into this race series I had already planned on what I was wearing, and unfortunately, all of it was for warm-weather. With a little creative thinking (and a productive trip to Goodwill), I was able to keep my Running Disneybounds recognizable, but still stay warm enough in the corrals.

For this race, I ran with the Joyful Miles crew of Rob, Laura, and Jackey, plus several others who joined in on the fun. We all dressed as the aliens from Toy Story, except for one who dressed as the “Claw.” My plan for this race was to stay with the group for most of the run, stopping for characters and photo stops along the way. I’ve run with Joyful Miles before, and I know they like to stop for a lot of fun pictures and have a great time along their race. While it’s not always the way I like to run, this is a great way to conserve energy for a multi-day event like the Dopey Challenge…and let’s face it…this was CRAZY fun!

However for the race itself, I got separated from the group at the start, so I stopped before Mile 1 and stood in line for Chip and Dale to watch for the group. We found each other (ended up not stopping for Chip and Dale), then continued on our way. We found quite a few non-character photo stops, and sang and danced our way around World Showcase.

RunDisney made this weekend very special by pulling out some very rare characters. The Norway vikings are always out, but Jiminy Cricket was out for the 5k. He is so rarely seen in the parks, and his line was very long (we stopped anyway). The Brother Bears were out as well — Koda and Kenai — so we stopped in the Canada Pavillion for them. Looking at my data, you see how long these lines were, and I loved that I could spend some time with this crew. However, since we had plans for the rest of the day, I decided at about mile 2.5 to leave the group, and high-tail it to the finish.

Looking back on the race itself, I don’t feel it was really a run. More of a leisurely jog.  This suited me fine for the rest of the weekend.

Post-race though, I was an absolute mess. 3 days of little and restless sleep and a very early and cold morning finally caught up to me by the time I made it back to the hotel. I had hoped to get back to the Expo, but after a shower, I got in bed and couldn’t move. I slept for 90 minutes while my husband grabbed a couple of things from the Expo (to this day I submit that me not going to the RunDisney Merchandise Store saved us from total financial ruin). The nap was a requirement. My body was not going to let me do anything else.

Adrenaline got me to the start line. I was running on fumes after several late nights, early mornings, and only a handful of hours of sleep. This 5k was a success in that I could check my “runner brain” at the door and just enjoy this event with my friends. I conserved energy for the rest of the weekend, knowing that I was only 6% done with the miles. Pre-race fueling included a banana, half a bagel, and a Luna Bar. Since the only real chance you have to eat is on the bus from the hotel and in the corral, this was plenty to get me through. Post-race, we had no major time-sensitive plans until the afternoon, so I was able to catch up on sleep and recover from the cold early morning.

The race kit included (from head to toe): Fleece running hat, “Alien” ears, Long sleeved hooded henley, insulated zippered vest, v-neck t-shirt, Saucony Bullet capris, Sparkle Skirt, CEP full length compression socks, and Saucony Guide 10 shoes. Plus a “ditchable” fleece jacket that I dropped right after race start. 

Please enjoy the video recap, with special thanks to Joyful Miles for sharing their photos and video. This was really a collaborative effort.

Heather Jergensen

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