Last weekend, BAMRbassador Kelyn Celesky of Norton Shores, Michigan, competed the daunting Dopey Challenge—that’s a 5K,10K, half-marathon, and marathon, all in a four-day span—during Disney Marathon Weekend, run throughout Disney World’s four parks. This was the first Dopey Challenge for Kelyn, but it may not be her last. Here, Kelyn shares some more behind-the-scenes details of her many magical miles. 

The Original Idea 

“My BRF and I daydreamed about Dopey during one long run. That quickly turned into figuring out if it was even possible, financially, and logistically. Over the months, it morphed into including a few others, lucking out with getting a registration, figuring out costumes and hotels. So when  we actually got to the start line of the 5k, it was such a triumphant moment. What took a year of planning and training actually happened!”

Kelyn and her best running friends getting ready to do Dopey!

The Training Plan

“ I used the Another Mother Runner Dopey+Goofy training plan, which is 24 weeks long. It went so well! Prior to that I had done an Ultra in June, and I am part of Many Happy Miles, so I had a pretty good base. The AMR training plan was such a help as I was training. I love that in addition to running there was also strength and access to coaches for questions. Training by heart rate was also very beneficial. I was able to keep my easy runs truly easy, and the hard runs truly hard, and that, I think, helped me stay injury free from start to finish. One other aspect I enjoyed about this plan was the slow progression to more back to back days of running with less cross training. I was intimidated by the lack of rest days/cross training days, but in hindsight it was exactly what my body needed to be able to finish strong.”

Costumes are all part of the fun during Disney Marathon weekend.

The Course

“We were in a low corral, and starting so far back was hard. There was quite a bit of bobbing and weaving to get through those who walked or did a walk/run pattern. And I struggled with the mental side of the marathon. I was so excited to run through all the parks, but I didn’t realize that to run through the parks, you had to run the highways between them. It’s emotionally draining. My friends were a big help in getting through it. We all seemed to hit a low at different points, and while one was low, the othert able to do or say something to help rally. Dopey is definitely more fun with friends. I couldn’t imagine taking this on solo!”

Peter Pan and crew getting into the spirit post-race!

The TMI 

“Once in our corral, there weren’t any porta potties. And on the course, the lines to the toilets were really long. I really had to go, so when I saw many men peeling off into the woods by the side of the highway and doing their business in the bushes, I joined them. I picked a tree, faced the race course so I could holler at anyone who thought my space wasn’t occupied, and squatted down. I got tons of cheers—and even a couple ‘yeah girl!’—as I made my way back up the hill.”

The Highlight 

“One of my favorite parts of the marathon was around mile 24, when, after a tougher stretch on the highway, we rounded the corner and ran into a wall of cheering people. To top it off, ‘I Can Go The Distance’ from Hercules was playing on the speakers….I’m not one to get emotional, but that got me a little teary. I thought, ‘We CAN do this…we CAN go the distance…we’re almost done!’. Super cheesy, but dang, it was perfect.”

The Aftermath

“Afterwards, my feet were sore, but by the next morning, I was just moderately stiff. I could go up and down stairs, sit on the toilet without groaning, and even had enough energy to go on a few brisk walks with my pup and husband when I got home. I’ve got an appointment lined up with my PT for next week just in case, but I’m pleasantly surprised at how I’m feeling.”

A triumphant finish for Kelyn and her friends.

The Takeaway 

“Will I do Dopey again? I’m not sure. It was a fun experience, but it was also an expensive one, and logistically it was hard to be away from family for that long. The marathon was also the hardest one I’ve done to date, but there were so many other fantastic aspects. The good far outweighs the bad.”

Have you done the Dopey or Goofy Challenge? Will you? 
Tell us about it in the comments!