Some day the folks at runDisney are going to do the math. They’re going to realize that Disneyland charges runners the daily rate to park for the races and that they’re therefore leaving $30 a pop on the table every day of the events. And that might be the final straw that breaks this camel’s back. But in the meantime, I pay my money, I set my alarm, and I maintain my perfect Dopey status.
So it is for the 11th year in a row, I begin the Dopey Challenge. And for the 11th year in a row, I struggle with figuring out the right time to go to the race venue. I wound up getting to the parking lot around 2:50 AM… and the security checkpoint wound up not opening until 3:07 AM. While things moved quickly thereafter, the line was already stretching quite a ways when I got there ridiculously early. I really don’t have a plan for the massive crowds at these things. We all complain about the prices and the hassles… and yet they sell out every year and we throw a few elbows jockeying for position at the starting line.
I forgot how weird it is to be around runners as they discuss the varying lag times in getting a GPS signal for their Garmins or Coros or Polars or AppleWatches. They wax poetic about the “best way” to train or to carbo load or to not carbo load or their interval strategy or a million other things. It’s true of any subculture that there’s a specialized lingo, a proverbial secret handshake to separate the obsessed from the bandwagoneers. I can keep pace with some stats and figures but often times run out of steam when the rubber hits the road.
That said, I do look forward to catching up with some of the runner folks I’ve met over the years. As ever, it’s nice to have an annual meet up and see Nick from the earliest of Dopey Days… and I think maybe we first met as part of that (now defunct?) Team Pizza Racers group I wandered into way back when. Tip of the mouse ears to you, Nick! I need to grab a selfie with you the next few days.
This year’s theme for the Marathon Fest is 100 Years of Disney, part of the company wide celebration of a century of entertainment. The race announcers said they were trying to do things chronologically so today’s 5K was supposedly focused on the 1920s-1930s, the now public domain Steamboat Willie through to Snow White. And so while Clarabelle, the Big Bad Wolf, the Ugly Duckling and Clara Cluck all made a rare appearance, Mickey was not in Steamboat attire… and Clarice the Chipmunk, a would-be leg of a love triangle with Chip and Dale, must have fallen through a time portal since she wasn’t introduced until 1952 per Google. Maybe we err on the side of this week’s races are “a tribute to 100 years of Disney… with today’s 5K focused on the 1920s and 1930s… and also the 1950s… and a bit of today… ya know what? It’s just a celebration of Disney.”
To that end, the photo ops from the 2024 5K are below:
Fun fact per Google: “Pluto first appeared as a nameless bloodhound tracking the escaped convict Mickey in the film The Chain Gang, released on August 6, 1930.” Had “The Fugitive” come first, Pluto might have been a German Shepard named “Sam Gerard.”