Lisa Crockford started off 2023 with a bang by running the Walt Disney World Dopey Challenge in Bay Lake, Florida from Thursday, January 5, 2023 - Sunday, January 8, 2023. This multi-day stage running event has runners running four races on four days in a row. In order, they run a 5K, 10K, half marathon, and marathon - a total of 48.6 miles over the course of the four days!
Lisa has actually done the Walt Disney World Dopey Challenge before; she ran it back in 2016. (Coincidentally, that is the same year that I ran it, though I didn’t know Lisa at the time!) Lisa loved it so much that she decided to return to do it again seven years later for the tenth anniversary of the Walt Disney World Dopey Challenge.
The challenge weekend started off with the 5K on Thursday. Conditions felt hot and humid to Lisa (who hails from Upstate New York). This is definitely a part of the challenge for northern-based athletes; race day conditions in Florida for Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend are never comparable to what athletes train in at home. Thus, it always makes the weekend a bit tougher! For the 5K, Lisa ran in a running costume inspired by Winnie the Pooh!
Friday was 10K day, and conditions were less muggy and slightly cooler for this race. Lisa raced in a provincial Belle running costume, carrying a book the entire 6.2 miles to complete the ensemble!
On Saturday, Lisa knew the real work was about to begin with the half marathon. In the first two races, Lisa had been seeded in a corral that was a bit further up. For the half marathon and marathon, she was seeded in the final corral. Knowing what her average pace would likely be for these events, we knew that she would have to keep moving in order to stay below the pace threshold.
Walt Disney World strictly enforces their pace limits at their events. They even have a group (we call them The Balloon Ladies) who run with balloons attached to them at the end of the race exactly at the pace limit. If any runner falls behind them, they are scooped up by buses that follow The Balloon Ladies and their race is over. This is an experience we did NOT want Lisa to have.
Dressed as Daisy Duck, Lisa was able to hold off The Balloon Ladies, and actually ended up pacing/leading a group of runners through a particularly boring and desolate section of the course.
Sunday dawned, and the marathon was all that was left for Lisa! Dressed as Minnie Mouse, she took on the 26.2 miles, once again successfully avoiding The Balloon Ladies. She felt great up until the final miles, when the cumulative effect of the week (both the racing and walking around Walt Disney World) caught up to her and she started to feel really achy in her feet. She still finished with a smile, earning all six finisher medals!
Congratulations, Lisa! What a magical weekend!
On Saturday, January 7, 2023, Jacquie Craggett ran the Hotcake Hustle 5K in Plano, Texas.
Jacquie is currently on a Custom-Built Training Plan. (After 4+ years of being on Performance Coaching, she switched coaching services for this season of her life, and it was the right choice for her!) She ran this race both for fun and as a test of her current running fitness. Jacquie enjoys endurance sports for so many reasons, but she especially enjoys the fun factor. She’s been active her entire life, and even now (late in her 60s) she keeps getting stronger and better!
Jacquie felt strong on race day…so strong that she negative split the race and finished first (out of 15 people!) in her age group! Her husband, Mark, ran the 10K and also won his age group! It was a great day for the Craggett family!
Coach Laura Henry
Laura Henry is a Syracuse, NY-based coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II Long Course and Level II Paratriathlon Certified Coach, USA Cycling Level 2 Certified Coach, VFS Certified Bike Fitter, and has successfully completed NASM's Certified Personal Trainer course. Coach Laura is passionate about helping athletes of all ability levels reach their goals and has coached many athletes to success.