I’ll admit it. I’m intrigued.
Much of me wants to run the inaugural runDisney Dopey Challenge in 2014, which was announced last week. That’s four races totaling 48.6 miles over four days of the annual Walt Disney World Marathon weekend in January.
The challenge includes a 5k race on Thursday, a new 10K race on Friday, a half-marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday.
I’d like to run it. But should I?
My concern – training.
Yes, some runners will simply register for Dopey because they adore runDisney events and its accompanying medals. Dopey will reward finishers with six medals. Six. That’s a lot of bling for a long weekend.
But runners will also need to log a lot of miles to gain that prize.
But all runners – novice through experienced distance runners – must do one thing to prepare for such a mission. They must respect the distance. They must prepare properly for the race.
Earlier this year, I ran the Goofy Challenge – a marathon and a half over two days. The experience was just that – a challenge. But I trained for months. I ran slowly. And I walked far more of the course than ever before.
And it was fabulous. 39.3 miles followed by another half-marathon one week later. I wouldn’t trade my experience for the world.
I don’t know if I should say the same about 48.6. I’d like to. But should I?
Former Olympian and distance runner Jeff Galloway, who is also a marathon and endurance training consultant for runDisney, said he is creating a training plan for runners wishing to attempt the new series of races.
“While almost anyone can adapt to this series of runs, it helps to have been running regularly, starting April 1,” he said.
Galloway said his Dopey training plan will alternate between minimal running one week and four running days in a row the subsequent week.
Minimal: This week will include 30 minutes of running on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and 30 to 45 minutes on one weekend day.
Four-day prep week: Mileage will start with minimal amounts and build every two or three weeks, to race distances in December. The first three days of these weeks will be mostly walking.
“The Dopey has created an amazing response,” Galloway said. “I’m already looking forward to the weekend.”
Runners considering Dopey should also consider whether they can finish each race within the challenge within the allotted time frame. Disney races give runners a more generous cushion than most distance events of up to 16-minute miles.
Galloway offered a training tool, his magic mile formula, to help a runner to determine his or her predicted race times, based on a one-mile run. While obviously the tool does not factor in stops to pose with dozens of Disney characters along the course, it gives runners a basic idea of her or her finish time – and a glimpse at whether or not the runner should attempt the challenge.
Upon running the Goofy Challenge in January, Galloway offered some advice: Walk as much as possible, drink lots of water, and slow down.
It’s not about speed, he said. It’s about completing all 39.3 miles.
The same is true for Dopey.
Registration opens April 9 and Dopey’s registration fees starts at $495.
Will you be participating in the new Dopey Challenge? Why or why not?