Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge
Dedicated athletes seeing double to get a special
Friday, May 13, 2005
by Lani Teshima, staff editor
When Disney's Wide World of Sports officials announced that
they were splitting the 2006 Walt Disney World HalfMarathon and Marathon
events into two separate days back to back over a weekend, some individuals
complained that this would cause some inconvenience. There is one group,
however, that cheered about the change. These individuals have decided
to make the most of the new format by registering for both events to participate
in the first ever Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge.
Yes, you read right. There is currently a group of approximately 200
to 300 individuals who have registered for both Saturday's halfmarathon
and Sunday's full marathon events. By Sunday afternoon on January 8, 2006,
these people will have officially run or walked 39.3 in the preceding
Such incredible feats are not unknown among the marathon event circuit;
the Rock 'N Roll Marathon and Country Music Marathon series of events
(organized by the same group), for example, offer various medal incentives
that are available only to those who run a combination of halves and fulls.
And to provide incentive, Disney is doing something similar: It is offering
a special third medal for those who finish both. Those who have asked
Disney race officials about this mysterious third medal have received
the following response:
Yes, that is true.
We think that doing something like that; running a Half Marathon for
a Donald Duck on Saturday and a Full Marathon for a Mickey
Mouse on Sunday, sounds kind of Goofy. If you know
what I mean. So if they finish both, people deserve a third special
Have a magical day!
Individuals who have already officially registered for one of the events
recently received email from Disney Sports: If you run both events, you
not only get your Donald and Mickey medals, but you also get a special
Goofy medal, never before available for the WDW Marathon event.
Are you an experienced runner or racewalker who is ready to go beyond
a marathon, to add a halfmarathon to your weekend plans next January?
Why not sign up for both, and do the Disney Double?
Does the concept of running a halfmarathon and marathon back to back
seem completely unfeasible and daunting to you? Not all the Disney Double
participants are experienced ultramarathoners. Some are marathoners who
are ready to push on with the additional miles, while some are triathletes
who are accustomed to doing more than just one distance activity during
Kurt Jensen of Long Island, New York, has registered for both events
and plans to continue crosstraining about 15 hours a week, because
he races in triathlons. I think it is very important to crosstrain
in order to stay injury free and healthy. And the endurance that you pick
up from swimming and biking carries over into running.
Another participant who has registered for both events is Vicky Merry,
from the Pensacola area of Florida. Unlike Jensen, Merry is strictly a
racewalker, and does not run. She has, however, successfully completed
over 20 half marathons and just as many full marathons since the 1980s.
Merry is contemplating entering a 50mile event in Houston in early December,
and believes that she can build up her ultradistance training for both
Some participants, like Adam Rojas of Duluth, Georgia, have not
officially run ultra distances. However, Rojas ended up running more than
26.2 miles for a previous Disney Marathon, anyway. After completing
the marathon, my motherinlaw informed me that my fatherinlaw was struggling.
I went back on the course about 6 miles, found him, and helped him finish
According to marathon expert and trainer Hal Higdon, the concept of running
backtoback long runs on Saturday and Sunday is not at all farfetched
for someone who is training for an ultra distance (anything over a marathon
distance of 26.2 miles). Higdon said: In my ultramarathon training
programs (available on halhigdon.com), I prescribe backtoback long runs
on Saturday and Sunday as the best way to develop endurance for races
over 26 miles. And when you follow a half marathon with a marathon the
next day, you essentially are doing an ultra. Even my Intermediate marathon
training programs feature a pace run on Saturday followed by an easy long
run on Sunday, at peak a 10miler followed by a 20miler. Someone following
one of my Intermediate schedules would be well prepared for the Disney
Unlike an ultramarathon, however, doing the Disney Double entails taking
a significant break on Saturday. Higdon suggests taking it real easy after
the halfmarathon on Saturday, and scheduling a massage for the late afternoon.
If you promote this approach, I hope Disney has enough massage therapists
to satisfy everybody's needs, he said. He also recommends an ice
bath and a nap, but discourages participants from taking Ibuprofen (which
may hinder recovery) or visiting the parks on Saturday.
Not everyone thinks they should waste a perfectly good day on resting.
After all, the reason many of these marathoners continue to return to
do the Walt Disney World Marathon every year is to have an excuse to visit
the resort. For example, triathlete Jensen plans on visiting a park on
Saturday. Merry doesn't plan on just resting, either, although she is
not quite as ambitious as Jensen. I'll be there with several friends,
so we'll talk and maybe visit the [Fitness] Expo again. Downtown Disney
is a great place to go that doesn't cost anything to get in. However,
I accept I'll have to make a few purchases!
Those we spoke to, however, for the most part just plan on taking it
easy, making sure to rehydrate their bodies in preparation for the second
In addition to hydration, food will play a pretty important part of the
participants' Saturday plans. Although everyone we spoke to specifically
mentioned pasta, Higdon provided more specifics: I don't wait to
Saturday night. I sit down to a late lunch featuring carbohydrates several
hours after the race, as soon as your stomach has time to settle. I would
stay away from soft drinks and alcohol. Then another carb meal later that
evening in addition to whatever you might eat before the marathon in the
Looks like pasta all day Saturday for the Disney Doublers!
Because the Disney events start so early in the morning, getting enough
sleep may be particularly important for those planning on doing both events.
Higdon notes, however, that since most runners are nervous before a marathon
and don't sleep well, anyway, he recommends just relaxing and resting
even if you cannot fall asleep. Charles Wait of Richmond, Texas, agrees
that not resting enough on Saturday could lead to a Sunday failure. He
plans to do his serious park visiting after the marathon. The best
thing about Disney is that the parks are there to walk through on Sunday
afternoon and Monday. What other marathon has such an inviting open area
to allow you to hobble/walk at your heart's content? At most other marathons,
all you do is go home or to the hotel, and you're at work the next day.
Higdon covers the subject of postultra marathon recovery in Mile
27 a chapter in his book Marathon: The Ultimate Training Guide.
In it, he suggests replacing fluids immediately after crossing the finish
line, then eating as soon as your stomach settles.
In contrast to what you eat before a marathon, some protein afterwards
will aid recovery. If using an energy bar, read the label to see if there
is at least 20 percent protein for recovery. Then begin eating to replace glycogen,
the same types of meals you might have eaten in the three days before
the race, Higdon said, The best time for a postmarathon
massage is 48 to 72 hours afterwards. Schedule one before you board the
plane to Orlando.
To prevent injury, Higdon tells runners to do no running (or much of
anything else) for the first 72 hours after the event.
Although some participants plan to return to work immediately after marathon
weekend, some plan to spend the postmarathon days visiting the parks
and showing off their medals. Charles Wait cannot wait to visit the parks
after the marathon. In addition to the bragging one does with the
medal, it's probably the best way to work through the soreness.
In his case, he will have the option of wearing all three medals, or wearing
just the Goofy medal alone, since Goofy will be the rarest of all medal
types in the parks.
Then there are those who may actually end up with four medals because
they plan to also participate in the 5Kbecause for the first time,
Disney is expanding its offering of a finisher's medal for the 5K to adults
as well as children. Mark Druckenmiller, from Pennsylvania, has registered
for all three events. This year the plan is to have four medals,
the Fun Run, Donald, Mickey, and Goofy. It will be like a Mr. T starter
set with all that jewelry.
The most unusual thing about Druckenmiller is not that he has plunged
head first into registering for three events, but that he does not follow
a regimented marathon training plan. Instead, he stays fit from a variety
of sports. When the marathon arrives, he puts his running shoes and simply
heads out the door. Thing is, I don't train. When I say that, I
mean it; not like others say they don't train. I literally get up on
marathon morning, not having run except in other sports and stuff since
the previous year's race. I do a mixture of running and walking. Basically
I run until I get tired or feel like stopping and then walk until I feel
like running again. I don't go by time or distance or anything, just
when I feel like switching. Anyway, I finished my first marathon that
year ahead of both of my sisters in around 5 hours and 38 minutes.
Mark's sytem is highly unorthodox and strongly discouraged, since it
invites injuryalthough it does to some extent depend on how much
of a workout a person gets in other sports. For Mark, the run several
minutes, then walk system developed by Jeff Galloway seems to have
Registering for both the full and half events does not give you a discount,
but you do get all the accoutrements of each individual event, such as
the finisher's medal and race Tshirt. At $95 for the marathon and $85
for the half (not including processing fees), this is not an event for
Most of all, however, is that those who complete both and who receive
a Goofy medal will have the kind of bragging rights not even the Mickey
medalwearers will be able to boast next year.
Registration for both events are still open
but they won't be for
long. Traditionally, registration for both events fill up by the summer.
By splitting the two events to two separate days, Disney plans to allow
upwards of 18,000 participants in each event. While this may be the reason
for the events not filling up yet, if you are considering entering, you
probably should not wait much longer.
Registration is available online through an interactive form (link),
although it may require that you register for the two events separately.
If you choose to mail in your registration using a printout of their
PDF form (link),
also available from their Web site, that form has a checkbox for specifying
that you wish to register for both events. The price for both events,
either registered online or by mail, is $180.
Thoughts, questions, or comments? Contact Lani here.