Wednesday, March 18, 2015

2015 runDisney Castaway Challenge

The following is part one a two part Castaway Challenge recap on board the Disney Dream!

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    After completing the Glass Slipper Challenge a few weeks ago, my husband and I boarded the Disney Dream for an epic adventure….runDisney’s Castaway Challenge!

    Our specific Castaway Challenge took place after the Princess Half Marathon Weekend – the Inaugural also took place this year  but was after Marathon Weekend in January. (If you’d like to read more about the inaugural event, my friend Megan has great information to share!)

    Please note: This event is completely separate from the regular Castaway Cay 5K that’s held on Castaway Cay on a regular basis. This challenge was strictly for those who registered for a race during Princess Half Marathon weekend and were on the specific “Castaway Challenge cruise” the Monday after the Princess Half Marathon.

    Disney transportation picked us up at our hotel around noon and we were at the port by 1 p.m. We checked in and were informed by an awesome cast member that Anna and Elsa greetings were being held throughout the week, but we had to obtain special tickets in order to see them. Since I dressed as Anna for the Princess 10K and didn’t get to take any pictures with her and my medal at WDW, our first stop when boarding the ship was the Port Adventures desk.

    While waiting in line, I browsed through our cruise facebook page and discovered that runDisney was allowing runners to register for the Castaway Challenge that day! Say what?! You see, prior to leaving home, I didn’t read the fine print…..Jason completed the Princess 5K and was eligible for the Castaway Challenge. I was under the impression that it was only for those who completed the Princess Half. WHOOPS.

    After a little confusion (no one knew the difference between the “Castaway Challenge” and the “Castaway Cay 5K”), we finally found the little runDisney room that was tucked away in a corner on deck 5K!

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    …and just like that, Jason was registered for the Challenge!

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    (Please note: I know for a fact that this event was not “sold out” like it was for the inaugural event….which is why I’m thinking they allowed onboard registration for the Castaway Challenge after the Princess Half. The bibs went into the 300’s, but we were told that we had around 250 runners on the ship – the inaugural event had a whole lot more.)

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    We were in the adult club watching “Match Your Mate” when we felt the ship docking at Castaway Cay (around 11:30 p.m.). It was so strange to see the Island at night!

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    Race morning, runners were asked to arrive in the Walt Disney Theater no later than 5:45 a.m. Corral A was seated in the back and those in Corral B were seated in the front. We were also instructed to bring our Key to the World Cards AND our ID’s with us – if you forgot your ID, they made you go back to your room and get it! 

    Although it was early (yes, ANOTHER early morning), we were super excited and ready to go!

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    One of the major changes for this event was the new route….which I absolutely loved! 

    We didn’t wait in the theater long and before we knew it, Corral A was led off the ship first followed later by Corral B.

    Runners were also instructed to use the restroom before leaving the ship because there were no potties at the start line.

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    It was SO strange to see the ship lit up in he dark from the island! Definitely a first for me!

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    After the looooooooong walk to the start line, we were directed into our proper corral.

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    I loved the setup! A neat addition to this event was an “official” start and finish line!

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    Before long, we were joined by Corral B! We stood around for a long while, waiting for the race to start (another runDisney staple)!

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    Our Assistant Cruise Director was our MC for the event…with a little help from Princess Minnie!

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    Words of wisdom were also given out by Jeff Galloway! :)

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    The race officially began at 7:00 a.m. The sun was just beginning to rise and the island was still a little cool from the night before. Thankfully, I never noticed the scorching heat of the island like I’ve noticed in previous years (this was my third time running this event). I definitely loved the early start time!

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    …and they’re off!

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    Our first character stop was Daisy! I loved her Princess attire!!

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    This path was super shaded and was one of my favorite parts of the race!

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    Hi Pluto!

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    Before I knew it, we hit mile 1!

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    Turn around #1…

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    See what I mean about the shade? I’m not sure how this path looked for the regular Castaway Cay 5K later in the morning, but it sure was nice for us!

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    Since Dasani was an official sponsor of the race, water was handed to us in mini Dasani water bottles! :) I downed the entire bottle, then kept on my way!

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    Mile 2 appeared soon and so did a lack of characters. Besides Daisy and Pluto, I never saw any more until the end.

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    As we made the turn off the airstrip, I realized that I was kind of alone….

    Flashbacks from my very first Castaway Challenge in 2009 began to fill my mind and I had to giggle. Its funny to think how far I’ve come in my running journey. In 2009, I was a brand new runner and this event was so small (seriously like 15 runners), I pretty much got smoked by everyone!

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    There’s Mile 3! Almost done!

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    Making the final turn for the finish line!

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    …and done!

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    A fun addition for this event….runDisney even handed out food boxes at the end!

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    I knew I had a little bit of time before my husband finished the race, so I jumped in line for a photo op with Mickey! :)

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    He was replaced shortly after that by Princess Minnie, so I (of course) jumped in the line for a photo with her, too!

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    There’s Jason!

    We took an official picture with the photographers at the finish line (these photos were later printed and ready for viewing in Shutters on board the ship), then we got in line for a finishers photo together with Minnie!

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    Inside contents of the food boxes!

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    One of runDisney’s/Castaway Cay’s stipulations was that if runners were finished with the race before 8:30 a.m., they had to head back to the ship to re-board.

    We were planning on doing that anyway (for breakfast and to change our clothes), so we began walking back towards the ship.

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    It was SO strange to see the island deserted!

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    We took our time walking back to the ship, enjoying the peace and quietness of the island before the bustle of the busy day began. (The trams WERE working, we just wanted to walk!)

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    With all our medals!

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    After a breakfast of Mickey waffles (of course) in Cabanas, we headed back out to the island. Our destination? Serenity Bay.

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    We saw Jack Sparrow stumbling down the beach, so we joined him for a photo. I figured he was going to say something about the “treasure” around our necks, but he didn’t – he was incredibly fascinated with the KT tape on my knee! I was told that it looked infected and we might have to amputate! (Uhoh)

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    We enjoyed relaxing, taking naps, eating BBQ, and swimming in the ocean off Serenity Bay. It was such a beautiful day!!

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    I was sad that the final race of our epic Glass Slipper Challenge and Castaway Challenge was complete! I had the absolute BEST time and would do it all over again in a heart beat!

    This is a super long post, so I’ll save my final thoughts for Part 2. If you made it this far, thanks for following along! :)

    Do you like to run while on vacation? Have you ever run the CC5K?

    24 comments:

    1. I'm going on the Disney Magic in October, and the group I'm talking to on FB have done the Castaway Cay 5k (probably not the challenge like you did), which I want to do. Do you get a medal for it? I was told yes, but now that I know there are two, I'm wondering if we were all misinformed?
      Still looks like an awesome time! Disney Cruises are the best!

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      1. Yes, you do get a medal for the CC5K. It's no longer the plastic "winner" medal, it's an official runDisney rubber medal! In the last photo on this post, it's the second to last medal. Have SO much fun!!! Let me know if you have any questions!

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      2. That is so cool! I'm even more excited for it now! Thanks, Karen! :-D

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    2. So much fun Karen!!!! I haven't been on a Disney cruise in sooo long! My first one was with my stepmom as a graduation present. My second one was on our honeymoon! I have to idea if they did the Castaway Cay 5K back then or not...I wasn't a runner then. But I'd definitely love to cruise again and run it. Congrats on an epic adventure! Can't wait to read more!

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      1. Thanks so much, Mindy! :) That's neat you spent two fun milestones on board a Disney ship!

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    3. SO FUN! I really hope they offer this again, and I wish they would let people know sooner in advance so they can register for the corresponding race. I love the shaded path! It's always so sunny and hot!

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      1. Same here...I hope they offer it again too!

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    4. I don't get how the event could be full. Nobody is there until the ship arrives, right? It's not new, so they have an idea of the percentage of people on each ship who'd want to do it. Why not just take everyone?

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      1. The Castaway Challenge is a pre-registered event. You had to participate in a race during princess half weekend AND pre-register for the Castaway Challenge.

        Apart from the Castaway Challenge is the regular Castaway Cay 5K that's held whenever the ship docks at CC. Runners have to register for that one once they board the ship - I don't know if there's a limit on how many can register for that one.

        Hope that helps!

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    5. Loved this!! I'm (hopefully) running Princess next year and hoping that they continue to do the Castaway Challenge so we can take our first cruise as well! Great recap!

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      1. Oooh that would be so much fun, Chelsea! Hope they offer the CC again! Thanks so much! :)

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    6. THAT IS A CRAZY IMPRESSIVE stack of medals!
      Seriously, I am incredibly jealous of all your medals.
      Good work and thanks for the fun reviews.

      Are you running the Wine and Dine next fall?

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      1. Thanks, Sarah! I'm not running W&D this year. :( Sad times. I would love to in the future, though! That's a fun one!

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    7. You have wonderful photos from the race Karen and it looks like the weather was perfect. I'm sad that runDisney has not announced whether they will continue the Castaway Cay challenge in 2016. I sure hope so because I would love to do that challenge!

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      1. Thanks so much, Pam! I'm sad, too...I hope they decide to continue it!

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    8. I do enjoy running on vacation. I'm soooo excited - my friends & I were lucky enough to get registered yesterday for the Wine & Dine Half! My very first Disney race!!

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      1. YAY! I'm so excited for you, Traci! You and your friends are going to have a blast!

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    9. I've been waiting for this recap!!! I'm so excited that you were able to experience it as well. It truly was a great way to celebrate a runDisney race weekend. We definitely need to share notes - I heard you guys got a few extra experiences, which I'm glad to hear! :)

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      1. I couldn't agree more! Yes, lets do that soon!

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    10. I was looking forward to this post. You were very detailed and got lots of great pics. I loved it! I'm hoping to do this next year!

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      1. Thanks so much, I hope they offer it again! :)

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