2017 started off with a bang! My daughter, Summer, and I, along with 10 of my closest friends, arrived in Orlando, Florida to complete the Dopey Challenge. This is a 78 kilometre run over four days, starting with 5km, 10km, 21km, and finishing off with a full 42km marathon on the fourth day.
The first day began bright and early at 6:30 a.m., with my guide Kory, our friend Richard, and Kory’s husband Pedro who was guiding Richard, heading to Disney World to wait for the starting gun of the 5km race. This course takes you through Epcot, and was a nice start to the week.
Friday was an earlier start of 5:30 a.m. This time Kory, Pedro, Richard and I were joined by my 23 year old daughter, Summer, and Kory and Pedro’s three daughters ranging in age from 11 to 13. Since there were eight of us all together, we dressed up as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. It was around the 5km mark that Summer asked Kory if she could take over guiding me for a while. We had so much fun together! We were singing and dancing through the run to our favorite Disney songs. It reminded me of how we used to dance and sing together when she was little. We all crossed the finish line together and it made me so proud to have Summer guide me across that line.
The next day, the 21km race was cancelled due to lightning. Apparently, it isn’t a good idea to have 22,000 people running on a highway with no shelter in a lightning storm. I was disappointed because I felt like I was cheating. I know it wasn’t my decision, but how was I going to prove to myself that I could really do it. Kory pointed out to me that we had been walking around the four Disney parks for days and probably walked several marathons so that made me feel better
Sunday was the big day. It was cold at 5:00 a.m. in the corrals. It took about an hour to get us across the start line but once we crossed it, we were off and running. What an exciting race! There was music, acrobats on stilts, videos, and magic kingdoms. We even stopped to ride the roller-coaster half way through the run. At the 26km mark I took stock of how I felt. I didn’t have any pain or discomfort and felt strong. I decided that I definitely could have done the 21km the day before.
We crossed the finish line with our family and friends cheering us on. Having my daughter there to see me finish meant so much to me.
This was a fun but great challenge. However it is nothing compared to the challenges that the children in Rwanda face every day with the lack of access to books. We raised over $5,000 from this run which will give the gift of reading to the children at the Blessing school for the Visually Impaired. Thanks to everyone who donated! A special thanks to my guide Kory who has dedicated so much of her time to go on this crazy journey with me. As for Summer, well you my dear made this trip more magical than even Disney could create!
If you have any questions or comments, you can reach Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org.