All About Jacob
Loves to Run: 5k-Marathon
How did you decide to sign up for the Dopey Challenge?
It is a buck-list race. I signed up in Disney Land for the Dumbo Double Dare. I love Disney and I love running. Afterwards, I wanted to run more Disney races and found the Dopey Challenge.
How did you prepare?
Everyday I run, sometimes I take rest days depending on how I feel. During high school cross-country, I would run 45-60 miles a week and I like to stick with that distance every week.
I was training so long for the Dopey Challenge. I had so many thoughts going through my head training and doing the race by myself. The Dopey Challenge is a very accomplishing race.
Were you nervous about running all those races?
Yes. During training all year, I was excited to run it. Then, I started doubting myself thinking it was too much to do a marathon after all these races. In the end, I decided I would finish the Dopey Challenge even if I have to crawl.
How was traveling to Disney?
The plane ride was smooth, landing and navigating to Disney itself was good. It is completely different than Disney Land. Disney World, is hard because you see one sign and take the train. Then, all of the sudden there are more unexpected turns to take. It was a family trip with me and my parents. The Dopey Challenge was my Christmas and birthday gift. I was very happy and thankful.
How was the race expo?
The expo was in the ESPN World Wide Sports Complex, it was very big and had three parts. One building was for packet pick-up, then you go across to a different building for venders, and then there was another building for official merchandise. I bought a lot of race merchandise. My favorite is my new Disney World Marathon jacket, it is red with Mickey Mouse and the phrase, “running around the world in 26.2 miles.”
Where were your favorite places in Disney?
After the 5k and 10k, I went into the parks. Epcot was my favorite. I loved all the countries, because it was all so different. I loved Germany! Only Disney World can make me like sauerkraut and bratwurst.
Do you have special memories from the 5k?
Seeing the park for the first time. I did not go to Epcot before the Dopey Challenge. It was special the first time I could see all of it, running at night. The Fireworks were awesome, I could see them from my hotel room every night.
Do you have special memories from the 10k?
Running through the castle, it was very nice. I must admit, I like Frozen. I loved seeing Elsa and Anna in the castle waving at everybody. Then, I met almost every Disney Character along the race course. My favorite was meeting Chip and Dale. I also loved seeing Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Donald Duck outside the Hall of Presidents wearing their colonial outfits.
Do you have any special memories from the half-marathon?
The half-marathon was cancelled, it was unfortunate, but what happened afterwards was amazing. They had to cancel because of thunderstorms, now I realize safety is more important than running. However, I was determined to run when the rain calmed down.
Every resort has a one mile race course in Disney. Despite the canceled race, there were hundreds of runners still racing and cheering each other on. Truly amazing determination in the running community, everyone still racing in the rain.
Do you have special memories from the marathon?
The 5k and 10k were awesome, the weather was great. The half-marathon was canceled and, the race-coordinator said everything for the marathon would be fine except it was going be below 40 with high winds. Coming from California, I am not used to that type of weather. I stepped out of the car for the start-line, felt the winds and cold, and then told my dad to get back in the car. My mom asked, “What is wrong?” I said, “I do not think I can do this. I know I run a lot, but I do not see how anyone can do this.” So, I had to sit in the car and get mentally prepared. Seeing people walk to the starting-line, thousands and thousands of people, I thought I could do it too!
The 5k and 10k starting-lines were in the same place, but for the marathon they have you walk almost a mile out somewhere else. I was thinking, “Where is the start line?” We eventually made it there but the corrals were going all ready. They were on Corral E and I was supposed to be in Corral C. I told myself, “It is too cold to worry about corrals, just get there!” I made it to Corral H.
Yes, I made it to the start and started. Yes, it was cold. Once I started, I never stopped. It was not a race to go fast in, I went 9 minute pace. Normally, I stop at mile 20 if I have to, but I kept going. This was the first marathon I ran the entire 26.2. It was a great race once everything started.
What did you bring running?
I had my Cal State sweatshirt on, wanted to take it off, but did not want to lose it. I tied it around my neck, which kept my neck warm and I had gloves.
No food or anything, just took what they supplied like bananas. A very nice lady was giving out cookies at mile 12. I was getting a little tired, she said just take one and I accidently took 3! I ate those and I swear, I felt so much better. Thank you to the lady giving out cookies!
How did you feel crossing the finish-lines?
The 5K and 10K were good!
The marathon was the one that definitely counted the most. All the people were watching, there were Disney characters and announcers. Crossing the Disney Marathon finish-line felt magical.
Do you love all of your medals?!
There are 6 medals for 4 races: 5k, 10k half-marathon and full-marathon. I like the 5k medal, because it has Pluto on it. The 10k medal is nice, it is very different. The half-marathon medal is nice, with Donald Duck. My Disney Marathon medal looks very unique, and my Dopey Challenge medal is unique. I love them all equally.
I have my Fear No Distance medal rack with all the medals from racing. A year ago my parents surprised me for my birthday with a Magic Miles medal rack, all of my Disney medals go there. I love it.
What is your most memorable Disney experience?
Probably not a specific moment, but just being with all the other racers at the time. I talked to all different kinds of runners from all different kinds of places. Even in the parks you see everyone wearing medals and say congratulations to each other. Runners are the nicest people to talk to!
Did you go on the rides?
I loved the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride. This was the one ride I wanted, because it is new and they do not have it at Disney Land.
Do you have advice for everyone who wants to run the Dopey Challenge?
Even though the distance is long and seems tough, do it anyway. The Dopey Challenge is worth doing, a goal worth setting and definitely a buck-list race, you have to do it!
Photography, courtesy of Jacob Abrego!
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That Pretty Runner