Dopey Challenge Race Courses Revealed!

As many of you know, I’ve spent the past several months training for the Disney Dopey Challenge.  It’s 4 straight days of racing.  Thurs: 5k, Fri: 10k, Sat: 13.1, Sun: 26.2.  I’ve been waiting patiently for them to release the course maps…they finally have!


Here’s the 5k and 10k routes…

The warm-up runs.

The warm-up runs.

The first few miles of the 10k ain’t all that exciting, but I’m glad that at least both races follow somewhat different routes (in the same area).  I love variety in my running!  I’m also happy that the start and finish are near each other.  That way any spectators we have can at least see us twice!

Next up is the half marathon…

Half of the most magical place on Earth.

Half of the most magical place on Earth.

Basically a jaunt up to the Magic Kingdom and back from EPCOT.  Only thing that concerns me is the round-a-bout at mile 10.  I’ve been there before and it is a man made hill.  It’s a swirly overpass of road, and it. is. very. angled.  You can’t take two even steps because of the slant.  I’ve had several friends get injured at that overpass.  At least I know what to expect and can try to be safe there.

Finally is the main event, the full marathon…

26.2 magical miles.  Or so they claim... :)

26.2 magical miles. Or so they claim… 🙂

I really like this course.  You get to see most of the main attractions of Disney World.  I only wish there was a way they could mix in Downtown Disney.

As you can see, they take us through all 4 major parks – EPCOT, Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, & Hollywood Studios.  In addition, we also get to do a lap on their race car track (1 mile around) and through their Boardwalk resort.

In between we pass by various other “attractions”.  Running past the golf course is cool, but in years past running past the waste water management plant didn’t smell too pleasant.  But I guess you gotta take the good with the not so good, right?

I also really like how that now have us going through the Sports Complex.  There we get to run through the training soccer and football and baseball fields.  We also get to do a lap on the track!  And the highlight is running thru the baseball field where the Atlanta Braves do their spring training.  Last year, that was coolio because there was a big crowd in the stands cheering for us (and they had cameras putting us on the big screen on the outfield wall).

It all ends up back at EPCOT.  Which, if you look at the map, is over a mile in itself.  That just goes to show you how big the parks actually are.  I can say this from experience:  there’s not much more deflating than entering the final park, thinking you’re almost done, then turning a corner and seeing the “mile 25 marker”.  Ugh, another 1.2 to go, all in the same theme park!!!

But it’s all good.  I’ve done the Disney Marathon 3 times now, and I know how the game is played.  In the coming weeks I’ll offer my tips from experience for anyone else who happens to be running at Disney Marathon Weekend.

What about you?  Do you obsess over course maps before a race, or do you care?  Have you run at Disney?  Any tips?  What do you think of the courses?

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24 thoughts on “Dopey Challenge Race Courses Revealed!

  1. Ahh shi# just got real!

  2. Cool! A girl from where I live is doing the Dopey Challenge too! My advice to her was to eat lots so I’ll pass the same advice along to you – eat lots. I never really look at course maps, just the elevation gains/losses. I’m obsessed with hills.

    • Ah, cool! Tell her good luck and to look for me!
      I am looking forward to all the eating!!
      Luckily this course is pretty flat. Only a couple man made hills. Advantage of racing in swamp land.

  3. I feel like I obsess over the maps and then promptly forget everything once the race starts and just follow the crowd. I usually remember the hill situation though.

    If I were doing this race series, I’d kind of wish that the shorter races were betwen the long runs rather than a progression in length. Yikes.

    • Yeah, I originally thought I’d prefer it if it went in reverse order. But in my training I’ve realized that this is probably the best way to go, as marathons are hard and so I’m glad we don’t have to run AFTER doing one!

  4. Ahhhh so excited for you! This looks like so much fun!! So cool that you run throughout all the parks! Are you bringing the fam for fun Disney time?

    • Yes, it’s very cool! We even get to run through Cinderella’s castle. I also had a friend last year who left the course to ride a roller coaster at one park!
      I’m bringing the 4 year old (he’s doing the kid’s race), and my mom and sis will be there, but sadly nobody else.

  5. PaulSmuts

    The course looks fun (and hard)! I usually check out the course a few weeks before a race just to start preparing myself mentally.

  6. Jane Likes to Run

    Good luck! It looks like an amazing race. The Disney marathon is on my bucket list. I really don’t look at race maps that well (which is probably a bad thing!) except to find the elevation. And the location of the start and finish lines. Those are important too of course!

  7. All the courses look awesome!! I love that they run through the parks!
    The marathon was so fun; it looks likey they changed the course a bit since I did it. My favourite parts were running through the castle and behind the scenes in Animal Kingdom.

    • Yes, they changed it last year for the 20th anniversary. I really like the changes – they took out the loop of EPCOT at the beginning, so you go straight to Magic Kingdom. And since it’s still dark then, they have main street and the castle completely lit up – it’s really cool! They also added the NASCAR track and the Wide World of Sports complex. Very cool!

  8. That is going to be one epic running weekend! I’ve never run a Disney race, but I’m sure it would be a blast. I don’t obsess over maps, but I do obsess over elevation charts. I want to know what I’m getting in to before I race 🙂

    • They do a good job with their races – LOTS of entertainment on the course – and plenty of photo ops with characters (if you’re not worried about time).
      Luckily this race is really flat, so not much to worry about hill-wise.

  9. TartanJogger

    Aaaargh! So exciting! 😀

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