Disney Marathon Weekend: My “Unofficial” Goofy Challenge

I know many of you are anxiously awaiting my recap of Disney Marathon Weekend (My Unofficial Goofy Challenge) and may be wondering how I did.  Well, after running 39.3 miles, the good news is I can still walk and climb the stairs in my home without falling!

Of course, my legs were sore, but I was not in agonizing pain simply because I took each race at a moderate pace.  At the beginning of each race, it was difficult to find a pace faster than 12 minute miles due to the sheer volume of runners and speed walkers but I was grateful for the forced slow pace to reserve my energy for the long haul.

Thrilled to be part of an amazing experience, I learned several things:

1.  True athletes are the most supportive and encouraging people you will ever meet.  Before the race weekend, I arranged to meet Lindsay of Chasing the Kenyans.  She is a dedicated runner who thought I was full of energy!  It was such a pleasure to meet her!


Another runner blogger, Becelisa, also offered her encouraging words via text messages.  Although we missed each other this race, I am sure I will see her at Gasparilla.  Both Lindsay and Becelisa finished with excellent times.  (Be sure to visit their blogs to read about their Disney experience.)

I also met a pair of father and son marathoners.  The son attempted his first marathon.  Dad faced marathon #9 and strived for a time around 4:40.  Yet, both gentlemen wished Tiffany and I success on our first marathon.

Then, I met the most supportive athlete out of the pack.  This runner overheard me telling Lori that I needed to remove my sweatshirt after our first couple of miles in the half marathon.  Hoping for another type of entertainment outside of the usual Disney productions, he encouraged me to run topless, if necessary.  I happened across him in the Tomorrowland restrooms during our marathon on Sunday and on our second encounter, he happily posed for a picture hoping once again for a free peek at my pups.


2.  It really is a small world after all!  While walking to the start line of the marathon, another runner commented on Tiffany’s hideous hieroglyphic mocha explosion colored blanket that she wrapped around herself to combat the cold.  After chatting a bit, I realized that I had stumbled across Chloe from Running with a Bottle of Wine!  Although we started the race together, she took off and finished in record speed.  Chloe was as adorable as I expected and I am so happy for our chance encounter!

3.  Runners are highly driven, goal-oriented people.  During this race weekend, there were blind runners, competitors in wheelchairs and runners with prosthetics.  I met one woman who decided to run after surviving a stroke and another woman who ran after surviving a brain aneurysm.  I also spotted two pregnant mommas running in the marathon.  I am in awe in what drives these athletes.


4.  Sport gels pack an amazing amount of energy boost!  Although I like to believe the magic of Disney carried me through to the finish line, it was more likely the Clif Shots.  I highly recommend Vanilla.

5.  Clif Shots make you gassy and may even cause you to shit yourself diarrhea.  Thankfully, I did not experience the latter, but I would like to publicly apologize to anyone who may have been standing in line near me at any number of rides at Magic Kingdom or Epcot.  No, Walt Disney World does not smell like that.

6.  Black pepper makes you gassy.  A new bit of knowledge shared in passing by this gentleman.


Let me clarify.  He did not pass gas nor did I run through an unpleasant cloud produced by his bowels, rather I overheard a conversation he shared with his friend.  Thanks for the tip!

7.  And most importantly, I CAN RUN A MARATHON!  Correction, I can run a HALF marathon and a FULL marathon the next day!  That’s 39.3 miles, BABY!  Like Lori said to me throughout the race, “It’s not about the time, but the experience.  Worry about your time at Gasparilla.  There are way too many distractions at Disney.”  And when you see my video slideshow of the weekend, you will see why I was easily distracted!

Run DMT Disney Marathon 2009

Epcot-Run DMT Disney Marathon 2009 #runDisney

I mostly ran each race, with some walking at the water stations/snack stops and occasionally posing for pictures.  I also danced when the mood hit me.  I finished each race strong and sprinted across the finish line like a Kenyan!  Crossing the finish at the end of the marathon, I cranked my arm in the air and encouraged the crowd “To make some noise!” all while still smiling.

Disney Marathon 2009 #runDisney

When a volunteer placed my Mickey medal around my neck, I cried.

Run DMT - RunDisney DisneyMarathon 2009

Like I said before, there were a lot of Disney distractions during the race, which is reflected in my time.  But when you do ever get the opportunity to pose with Mickey Mouse during a race?  For kicks and grins and a good laugh, here are my stats for both races:

Half Marathon

Clock Time 3:09:42
Chip Time 2:45:42
Overall Place 7621 / 12434
Gender Place 3746 / 7181
Division Place 756 / 1326
Age Grade 40.6%
5K Split 38:20
10K Split 1:26:23
15K Split 2:03:0


Distance MAR
Clock Time 6:07:24
Chip Time 5:59:30
Overall Place 11729 / 14940
Gender Place 5118 / 7139
Division Place 980 / 1317
Age Grade 38.6%
5 Mile 1:09:20
10 Mile 2:06:37
Half Split 2:58:29
20 Mile 4:39:30

I captured both races in pictures and I have complied a video of the whole experience.

After the marathon, my family and Lori’s family met me at Epcot to celebrate.  Allan and I celebrated my accomplishment with some beer, of course!



  1. morethananelectrician says:

    That is amazing. Both what you accomplished in two days and all of the good people that you met. I do like the race starts and finishes and all of the good people that are there.

    I am usually too nervous to strike up conversations with strangers, but the buzz in the air is incredible. The lines at the toilets are always the most interesting places…especially for those people who ate a little TOO early that morning.

  2. Brian says:

    Congrats on finishing the Goofy, even if it was unofficial. It’s a huge accomplishment. I made it through the half marathon then slept in the next morning (as planned – I’m not Goofy :P).

    Vanilla is my favorite Clif shot flavor too. I was forced to try an Apple Pie clif shot during last year’s Disney marathon since they were out of Vanilla at the station. It was quite excellent as well.

    How is Gasparilla? I’m giving serious thought to running the full there in 2010, but I’ll probably run the 5K this year to check out the organization.

  3. dwyatt64 says:

    Woo hoo! Go Denise! See girl, you had a good time, and a good finish. I loved your blog about your observations on race day. So many of them are true at triathlons, too. When Jeff did Switzerland, there was a blind man who did the full ironman with a “seer” to lead him. What fortitude and bravery. Can’t wait to see all the pics.

  4. Run DMT says:

    @MTAE- I am usually the one who strikes up the conversation. Heck, most of the time I am talking to myself! LOL

    Funny you mention the port-o-potties! That is where I met the father and his son!

    As for the potties, I had this really great strategy. Since the lines were so long (about a 20 minute wait), I suggested to Lori that we wait in line and then after we pee, get back in line, because you know you your nerves get the best of you before a race. Waiting in line killed the better part of an hour.

    The best part of running in Disney in the bathrooms through out the park!

  5. becelisa says:

    what a great accomplishment! not sure i’d ever have the guts to tackle the goofy. just making it through the full was enough for me. too bad we didn’t connect this time but i’ll see you soon i’m sure. i’m actually considering skipping gasparilla and opting for the “thrills in the hills” half in winder georgia that same weekend. it’s a small trail run and i’m partial to trails. but gasparilla is such a good race … decisions, decisions. i’m also planning to do the sarasota half on feb. 15 and possibly dances with dirt on feb. 7 so if you happen to come out for those let me know! congrats again on an amazing weekend!

  6. Chloe says:

    It was so great to run into you! I think it’s a sign. A sign that you need to come up here in March to run the Seaside half marathon!! 🙂

    That is so amazing that you did the 1/2 and the full AND is was your first!!! But seriously, how amazing was the race? So much support and awesome music. There was one part of the race where we just jammed out to sweet 80’s rock – and the next thing you knew, there was freaking winnie the poo. I think we did an exellent job of making this race out first marathon!

    So – what’s next? 🙂

    Congrats again!! Chloe

  7. lindsay says:

    congrats on your ‘unofficial’ goofy! it was so cool to meet you in real life. i love your recap and mini-stories about all the people you met. it is definitely inspiring to see people with all kinds of challenges finish a marathon. i didn’t know this was your first full! congrats on that feat alone! goofy was so much fun, i’d love to do it again next year but i’m not ready to part with another $250 in race fees just yet. (especially now that i see just how much i spent over the rest of the weekend!) hope the recovery and running is going well.

  8. Kent says:

    Denise, Congrats on finishing the Goofy Challange! Your Awsome! I noticed you included a small bit about me and my Dad. We ran together for about 18mi and then he dropped back because of a bad cramp in his quad. I kept going and finished my first in 4:38 and felt awsome! I am ready for my next and am looking forward to tackling the Goofy next year. Good luck in your future marathons.

    Oh yea, thanks for the laugh about the energy gels…I totally agree…

    Congrats Again,


  9. Lori says:

    I had the best time running the race with. you. You are the best running partner. One of these days I WILL be able to run and dance at the same time. She really does dance while running. It truly was about the experience and gathering memories. I am so glad you made me run this race. BTW who wants to be serious at Disney.

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