Race Report: runDisney’s Inaugural Castaway Cay Challenge

Disney Dream in port at Castaway Cay

Disney Dream in port at Castaway Cay

Sometimes it is not possible to #runalltheraces!  This was the case with the scheduling of the Inaugural Castaway Cay 5K and the Inaugural Star Wars 5K.  The Castaway Cay challenge was announced and sold out in record time.  A week later, the runDisney Star Wars races were also announced and we soon realized the boat would arrive back in port in Florida the same day and time the 5k would be starting in California.  Gail & I decided to forgo the cruise in order to #runalltheraces at Star Wars Weekend and asked our friend, Carol Smith, to fill in #runningalltheraces and #drinkingallthedrinks aboard the Disney Dream.  Here’s her report of the Inaugural Castaway Cay 5K:  

Both the Castaway Cay 5K medallion and Challenge Medal

Both the Castaway Cay 5K medallion and Challenge Medal

Go on a cruise after running 48.6 miles and do a 5K? I’m in! Get more bling? I’m really in! With even more Disney? I’m definitely in! I’m Carol Smith, and Kimberly asked me to blog about Disney’s Inaugural Castaway Cay Challenge 5K which was held after the Disney Marathon weekend in January 2015. Thanks Kimberly for letting me do my first ever blog post! To learn more about Kimberly and me see her post of the 2014 Disney Marathon. I’m the one whose name she couldn’t remember!

Fish extender is hung and ready for goodies...

Fish extender is hung and ready for goodies…

To participate in this Disney Castaway Cay Challenge 5K you had to participate in at least one of the races during Disney Marathon weekend, register for this race, and then sail on the Disney Dream cruise that left the day after the Marathon. For doing the Challenge you got the new Castaway Challenge 5K plastic medal and a spiffy inaugural Challenge medal.  I did the Dopey Challenge, so I earned 8 medals for the 5 races. There will be another cruise after Princess weekend. I don’t know if the Challenge medal will be the same, but the plastic medal will be. Disney hasn’t announced any additional special Castaway Challenge events, but the regular 5K will still occur on cruises that go to Castaway Cay.

The line to purchase the official merchandise.

The line to purchase the official merchandise.

Before I get into the race itself I want to share more information about the cruise and onboard shopping for the Challenge.

 

shirt 3 shirt 4 shirt 2

Disney Cruise is a Dream

The cruise was on the Disney Dream, one of the newer of Disney’s cruise ships. As this specific cruise was geared towards people who had run at least one race during the Marathon weekend, there were a lot more adults on the cruise than usual. The crew seemed ready for the “older” crowd with a lot of chairs in the adult pool and staff in the spa, as well as bartenders for beverages. As with other Disney cruises, people decorated their doors to celebrate the cruise and their running. I cruised with a cruise veteran who did the Goofy. The baskets hanging from our door number are for little gifts or swaps (“Fish Extenders”) that we traded with other pre-arranged cruisers. Doing Fish Extender gifts was a great way to meet other cruisers ahead of time and on the cruise. I highly recommend finding a Fish Extender group if you go on a Disney cruise.

bondiband2

Bondi Bands

 

During the four-day cruise we spent most of the first day at sea, a day in Nassau, The Bahamas, a day on Castaway Cay, and a day at sea. This length was enough time to relax and enjoy the cruise without being gone too long from work or other obligations. Onboard there were tons of activities, from bingo and scavenger hunts to massages and movies. We even watched the National Championship football game on the big screen by the main pool. (Go Buckeyes!)

 

Magnet

Magnet

Shopping! (“Expo”)

Since we had picked up our bibs and t shirt at the Marathon weekend, there wasn’t a full expo on the cruise. One of the stores on this ship had exclusive Castaway Cay 5K merchandise for this cruise. Many of the cruisers were afraid that there would not be enough merchandise, so we lined up an hour before the store opened to make sure to get our items.  Our fears were unfounded, however, as there was plenty of everything. There were a few different t-shirts, a medal pin, head bands, and a magnet. The store staff saw the crowd and quickly brought up more merchandise and staff before opening the store. They did an excellent job handling the crowd and ensuring everyone was able to purchase what they wanted. I bought a t-shirt, pin, and car magnet.

Over 700 runners assemble in the theater pre-race...

Over 700 runners assemble in the theater pre-race…

Race itself

After a day at sea and a day in Nassau we had to be in one of the theaters at 5:45am for the race, which started at 7. Compared to the other races during the Marathon weekend this was sleeping late! There were 3 corrals, and each one was in a separate section of the theater. On the screens were pictures of the course map and other race information. A cruise cast member told us what the process was to get off the ship – we needed an ID (driver’s license) and our room key to get onto the island. They were well-organized. runDisney people had come down on the cruise to help run the event, which was needed since there were over 700 runners!

At about 6:15 each corral got to get off the ship to walk to the start.

The sunrise when we got off the boat was spectacular.

The sunrise when we got off the boat was spectacular.

We had to walk about ¾ of a mile to the starting line from where the boat docked. For runners who had done the half or full marathon this walk felt shorter than the walk to the starting corrals of those races, but for the runners who had only done the 5K or 10K during Marathon weekend the walk seemed long. With the sun coming up and the boat in the background, however, the walk was nice and a good way to warm up for the run. The boat is docked to the right of the picture. This was a new route for the 5K and it seems that this is the new route going forward. It is flat, so if you wanted to go really fast you could. For the rest of us, the race had a race clock but no chip timing. They wanted us done in the 16-minute time-frame so we could get back to the boat to change before they let everyone else off the boat, but weren’t strict about it. Thanks to The Kessel Runner for this map.

The NEW course

The NEW course

Since the race was small (for Disney) I got to do things I never get to do. I was in Corral B! I’m never that close! Here I am with Angela Austin Rubright, who had also done the Dopey and was going to California for Star Wars weekend after the cruise!  I got to see actual corral tape!  I was close to the starting line at the actual start of the race! For a true middle of the pack runner these experiences were awesome.

corralsstart

The race was announced not by Rudy, but by one of the ship’s officers. He’s the one who also stars in many of the safety and information videos on the ship’s TV. Mickey was also there! There weren’t any fireworks for the corral starts and no national anthem, but we were in the Bahamas. I don’t think we would have recognized the Bahamas national anthem if it were played.

mickey

After working up the crowd the first corral went and then we were off! There were a few characters on the course. I’ve never run a Disney 5K where I’ve been able to take pictures so I took full advantage this time!  The cruise director and another cast member were also on the course “cheering” us on.    The “balloon ladies” were in the first corral instead of the back of the race and tried to take me off the course! But at the end I got my medals! We also got water, Powerade, and runDisney snackboxes. Then back to the ship for a shower and to change into beach attire for the day. The race backdrop was available that evening (pirate night) for pictures.

balloons bondi band

Overall the race was well run, the cruise was fabulous, and everyone seemed to have fun. I certainly did. I’m jealous of everyone going on the cruise after Princess weekend. Maybe Kimberly will let me stowaway in her suitcase.

pulto

Carol

alltheraces

Did you run the Inaugural Castaway Cay 5K?  What was YOUR experience?

Virtual Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend Blog Hop: Race Costuming or You’re going to run…in THAT?!?!

Charlie's Storm Troopers

Charlie’s Storm Troopers

2014 Princess Half Marathon Weekend Enchanted 10K

2014 Princess Half Marathon Weekend Enchanted 10K

Okay, I’ll admit it.  I am a recent covert to running in costume.

THE jump photo to end ALL jump photos - and my VERY FIRST time running in costume.

THE jump photo to end ALL jump photos – and my VERY FIRST time running in costume.

What finally made me make the leap?

Last year’s Disneyland Half Marathon was the race where I earned my 50th runDisney medal and I wanted to mark this running milestone with “something different.”

All my previous runs were focused on time – with no room in my race plan for costumes or photo stops.  This had worked well for me and I enjoyed racing myself and always striving for a PR – BUT – trolling around on Facebook opened my eyes to another kind of fun on the run…COSTUMES!

Most of these AMAZING costumes were made with technical material!

Most of these AMAZING costumes were made with technical material!

From Mild to WILD…

I started out mild – the Mad Hatter for the 2013 Disneyland 10K and a Mouseketeer for the 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon.  My “costumes” consisted of my normal running shorts and sports bra dressed up with simple pre-made add ons.  The Mad Hatter was based around a Raw Threads bamboo technical shirt, an orange tutu, knee socks, and a Mad Hatter headband.

NOTE:  This was also my first – and still most EPIC – jumping photo!

The Mouseketeer included a Sparkle Athletic skirt, technical shirt with my first name, and child’s mouse ears (the child’s ears have an elastic strap which, when placed behind my ponytail, made sure they stayed put for the entire race – so much so, I forgot I even had them on…).

MILD is a great “gateway” to begin running in costume.

Like any gateway, I got HOOKED pretty quickly – AND had a number of friends that not only dressed up as well, but were (and continue to be) excellent enablers 😉

A little costuming peer pressure can go a long way...far enough to get your male friend to run in a skirt during the Princess Half Marathon ;)

A little costuming peer pressure can go a long way…far enough to get your male friend to run in a skirt during the Princess Half Marathon 😉

Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend 5K.  Great crochet Tinker Bell hair hat and a tutu so big it had it's own gravitational pull.

Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend 5K. Great crochet Tinker Bell hair hat and a tutu so big it had it’s own gravitational pull.

2014 Walt Disneyl World Marathon Weekend Dopey Challenge Day 4...yep - this is exactly how I felt.  Having an easy race costume was a great decision for me for this race.

2014 Walt Disneyl World Marathon Weekend Dopey Challenge Day 4…yep – this is exactly how I felt. Having an easy race costume was a great decision for me for this race.

In the matter of year, I ramped up BIG TIME – culminating in the biggest and craziest costume to date during the the 2014 Disneyland 5K.  Kimberly was getting HER 50th runDisney medal at the Disneyland Half Marathon and we decided to celebrate her running milestone by going BIG.

We planned the Cheshire Cat and Caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland for the Disneyland 5K, Alice in Wonderland Card Soldiers with our running pals Rebecca and Pammy for the Disneyland 10K, and Dumbo and the Circus Master for the Disneyland Half Marathon.

runDisney Tweeted our photo at the Disneyland 5K finish line, interviewed us for the Disneyland 10K race recap video, and we made the office runDisney race album on Facebook for the Disneyland Half Marathon.

runDisney media trifecta - Twitter for Disneyland 5K, race video for Disneyland 10K, and race album on Facebook for Disneyland Half Marathon.  Mission accomplished!

runDisney media trifecta – Twitter for Disneyland 5K, race video for Disneyland 10K, and race album on Facebook for Disneyland Half Marathon. Mission accomplished!

Hunka-hunka burning costumes...

Hunka-hunka burning costumes…

WILD can be AWESOME – as long as you take race length and temperature into consideration.

Tips for a Successful Race Costume:IMG_4198

  • Take the race length and temperature into consideration. [Shorter race and/or cooler temperatures = the chance to ramp up the costume!]
  • If you are traveling, think about the logistics of getting your costume to the race location. [I had to search for smaller hula hoops for my Cheshire Cat so 1 would fit in my suitcase and 1 would fit in the airplane overhead bin :D]
  • Take what race you are running into consideration. [runDisney races brings LOTS of people in costumes.  Some other races – not so much.  Determine your comfort level being dressed up on the run.]
  • IMG_5438Take your completed costume out for a trial run. [Make sure all the parts stay on when you are running and NOTHING rubs you the wrong way]
  • Think outside the box. [Doing a little research about secondary characters can enable you to have a unique costume and stand out among many Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Anna and Elsa outfits]
  • Race costumes can be awesome whether they are mild or wild. [Don’t not run in costume just because you don’t want to go huge – subtle can be just as wonderful and memorable as crazy.]
  • Great costumes can be had even if you are not a seamstress. [There are lots of companies that make costume pieces in technical material and cater specifically to runners – including those that do not sew and/or don’t have time to make something themselves]
  • HAVE FUN with it! [If you are going to run in costume, bring some fellow dressed up friends, take photos to commemorate your crazy, and enjoy the run!]

We have some great stuff planned for the Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend races!  Keep an eye out for some “happy haunts” as we “stretch” our costuming skills…

Check out the rest of the AMAZING posts that are part of our Virtual Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend Blog Hop HERE.

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Dumbo Double Dare - Half MarathonHave you run a race in costume?  We’d LOVE to see your photos!

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @RunAllTheRaces and like us on Facebook/runalltheraces.

Perfect Goofy Gail & (soon to be Delightful Dopey) Kimberly

Flip Side: runDisney’s Race Retreat

Race Retreat 2009

Race Retreat 2009

FLIP SIDE: Spirited Discussion

While there are multiple things that we agree on – like our love of Jeff Galloway and runDisney – there are other running topics where we at RunAllTheRaces have a difference of opinion.

The great thing is, we use it as a way to open a discussion and never let it get in the way of our friendship.

Hearing both sides of a running issue enables our readers to think about things from multiple view points and make the decisions that are right for them.

In the spirit of a good debate, RunAllTheRaces will occasionally post under the “Flip Side” banner. These posts will address a running topic that that keeps us talking and we hope it gets you talking too.

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runDisney offers Race Retreat for Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend races.  Race Retreat is a special an add-on to your weekend.  It is basically a special climate controlled tent where there’s seating, television, computers, food and Race Retreat only port a potties.  There are also photo opportunities with characters.  Prices range from $125 to $225 for this service.

Race Retreat 2009 - See in the back door to Women's & Men's potties

Race Retreat 2009 – See in the back door to Women’s & Men’s potties

In this The Flip Side post we will plead our case – is Race Retreat worth it?

Here’s the official runDisney information on Race Retreat:

Pre-Race Amenities

  • Pre-race bagels and fruit, plus coffee, water and PowerAde
  • Temperature-controlled tent with lounges
  • Private restrooms and bag check
  • Padded stretching area
  • Disney character Meet & Greets
  • Self-treatment and First Aid station
  • Breakfast (Half)
  • Brunch (Full)
Race Retreat 2009

Race Retreat 2009

Post-Race Amenities

  • Internet access to check live results
  • Brunch with hot and cold beverages
  • Changing tents
  • Self-treatment and First Aid station
  • 10-minute massage for only $10 (based on availability)
  • Designated location to meet friends and family to celebrate your accomplishment!*
  • Disney character Meet & Greets

Other Amenities:

  • Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend commemorative giveaway items
  • Disney Character meet & greets
  • Live video feed from the Finish Line
  • Information Station
2009

2009

Race Retreat Pricing

  • Walt Disney World® Marathon – $120
  • Walt Disney World® Half Marathon – $120
  • Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge or Dopey Challenge – $225
  • 2015 Princess Race Retreat has not be posted to date

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Kimberly:  The Flip Side:  NO, Race Retreat is NOT worth it

I have been running runDisney’s Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend every year since 2009.  My only experience of Race Retreat, the last 6 years, has been my first WDW Marathon in 2009.  I also believe 2009 was the 1st year of Race Retreat.  I chose to purchase Race Retreat because:

  • It was my 1st marathon experience
  • I was intimated by the enormously of the event
  • Was racing alone
  • Wanted breakfast and post race snacks
  • Wanted a comfortable area to sit and rest prior to the race
  • Easy access to the facilities
  • Easy bag check
2009

2009

When I picked up my race package I also received a Race Retreat bracelet.  The bracelet was my ticket in and out of Race Retreat.  I felt like a VIP when led into the Race Retreat heated tent.  Inside was a breakfast buffet, banquet tables, leather sofas, mats for stretching and then a door which lead to our own port a potties.  Note, these are the regular run of the mill port a potties, but since they are only for Race Retreat, the lines are shorter.

Prior to the race I did not eat from the buffet.  I brought my own breakfast because I live by “nothing new on race day”- a banana and a bar (this is still my go-to breakfast).  I did sit and relax, but mostly spent my time in Race Retreat going to the bathroom.  I did use the Race Retreat bag check.  In 2009, we were given a special bag with flip-flops.

Post race I picked at the food from the buffet, I took my character photos with Mickey and Minnie, picked up my bag and took the Expo bus back to Disney’s Saratoga Springs.  All in all – I feel I didn’t use the service enough to warrant the additional cost.

Before the 2010 WDW Half and I did see snow

Before the 2010 WDW Half and I did see snow

When I returned to WDW Marathon Weekend in 2010 to run my first Goofy Challenge, I decided to secure a studio at Disney’s Old Key West, skip the bus and walk to the corrals (please note – you are not allowed to do this anymore and will be disqualified).  It was the coldest WDW Marathon Weekend I have experienced thus far.  It was so cold in Florida the weather in Connecticut was warmer.

I was the 1st person in my corral at 5am and yes, I did see snow and yes it was freezing.  During the Half it was freezing rain with water stops of ice and the during the full it was freezing, but sunny.  Both days, I didn’t miss the Race Retreat at all.  We had scheduled ADR’s for breakfast right after the races and that’s where I chose to spend my money.  In 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 I walked to the start of the races.  In 2014, with new No Walking rule, I took the bus.  However, I thought long and hard about registering for the Race Retreat, but couldn’t justify the additional cost – especially traveling with my family and my jam-packed race calendar.

Before the 2010 WDW Marathon

Before the 2010 WDW Marathon

If it is ever as cold as it was in 2010, I will drive myself to the Epcot and sit in the heated car until it is time to walk to the corrals.  Even if I were to win Powerball tomorrow, I don’t think I would purchase Race Retreat for my runDisney races, however, I would love to have to make that decision!

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Perfectly Goofy Gail:  The Flip Side:  Yes, Race Retreat is ABSOLUTELY worth it!

2008 Walt Disney World Goofy Challenge. This was a VERY hot year and, as a result, I signed up in 2009 for the Inaugural Race Retreat.

2008 Walt Disney World Goofy Challenge. This was a VERY hot year and, as a result, I signed up in 2009 for the Inaugural Race Retreat.

As with most of my feelings on all things running (and in life, if I’m being honest), this is not “YES – you HAVE to get Race Retreat EVERY SINGLE TIME you runDisney!” post.  I have purchased Race Retreat 4 -5 times (only for WDW Marathon Weekend, not Princess Weekend) since it’s inception in 2009. I’ve purchased just the Marathon Package, the Goofy Challenge Package, and twice experiences Race Retreat as part of the Runner’s World Challenge Package (which we will cover in a later post).  Several of those times WERE absolutely worth it, others maybe not so much (although all the “extras” never totally suck!).

Do I purchase it for every runDisney race in which I participate? No. But I do always consider it.

SO – what makes Race Retreat worth it or not worth it in my eyes?  A lot if it has to do with what my situation is going into the race: am I running alone or with friends, do I feel like I’m totally prepared for the race, do I have my own car where I can hang out prior to the race, am I looking for that “extra special” experience, is the Central Florida weather cooperating…

In cases where I’m running alone, I feel I need some extra support or pampering before and after the race, I don’t have my own car, and when the weather is awful in either extreme (I’ve seen sleet and snow and pre-5:00am 80 degree starts) I say YES, Race Retreat is ABSOLUTELY worth it.  While you can’t control all the items I’ve mentioned – especially the weather – if any of these have a tendency to impact your running or how you feel about your running on any given day, you should definitely consider Race Retreat.

2010 Full Marathon_8

2010 Walt Disney World Marathon: The COLD Year. This is almost 13 miles in and I Just Volunteer Now Melissa and I still have ALL our throwaway clothes on. DEFINITELY wish I had purchased the Race Retreat this year!

I’m also a big advocate of Race Retreat when you plan a “one and done” for that particular runDisney race.  Now, if you know anything about Kimberly and I, we are most definitely NOT “one and done” kinda gals.  That being said, the perks that come with Race Retreat can totally make for a over-the-top race day experience and if you don’t think you’ll be back, GO BIG OR GO HOME I say!

When I LOVE the Race Retreat:

  • When I was new to running and was intimidated about going into a big race weekend. The big white tents provide a bit of a sanctuary before the race.  They are well lit and, I feel, it’s easier to walk up and talk to people in the tent than it is in the dark corrals where everyone seems to be uber-focused on the race.
  • When I have traveled to WDW Marathon Weekend by myself.  Having a place to hang out and meet other runners definitely adds to the experience for me – especially prior to the social media explosion when you couldn’t “find” like-minded runners online.
  • When it was pouring rain before and/or after the race. I MOST DEFINITELY regret not having purchased Race Retreat in 2010 (known in runDisney circles as “The COLD year”), but who’d have thought it would snow?!?!
  • When I was able to get a Diet Coke, scrambled eggs, and bacon after the race.  BACON!
  • When I moved to Arizona, traveled to WDW, and just missed the “full Disney” experience.
  • When I was part of the Runner’s World Challenge. It was SUPER AWESOME to hang out with the folks from Runner’s World before the races and get expert tips right before you hit the pavement.
Disney Mom's Panel runDisney Mom Faith and I hanging out in the 2014 Runner's World Challenge area of the Race Retreat.

Disney Mom’s Panel runDisney Mom Faith and I hanging out in the 2014 Runner’s World Challenge area of the Race Retreat.

When I thought I did not take the best advantage of Race Retreat:

  • When I was running with friends who had not purchased Race Retreat.  It’s an all-in or all-out kinda thing if you are traveling with others.
  • When I lived in Central Florida and I could visit WDW often and runDisney were my “local” races.
  • When I had a bad race day and just wanted to leave right after the race. NOTE: I still enjoyed the pre-race part 😉
  • When the numbers of Race Retreat packages offered increased and the tent began to feel over-crowded.  If it feels just as crowded as the general pre-race area and corrals, I would just rather hang out in the areas that cost me no extra money.

I totally suggest giving Race Retreat a consideration for your next runDisney race.

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Have you purchased runDisney Race Retreat?  What were your experiences?

Be sure to follow us on Twitter @RunAllTheRaces and like us on Facebook/runalltheraces.

Perfect Goofy Gail & (soon to be Delightful Dopey) Kimberly

You’re IN for the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend….Now What?!?!

Kimberly during her first Walt Disney World Marathon in

Kimberly during her first Walt Disney World Marathon in 2009.

You’ve made the leap.

You got in!

You signed up for the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.

We decided to launch our blog, Run All The Races, in recognition of Perfect Goofy Gail’s 10th Goofy Challenge and Kimberly’s first runDisney WDW Marathon Weekend after beating breast cancer’s a$$.

Whether this is your 1st runDisney race, your 2nd Dopey Challenge (along with Kimberly and Gail), your 10th Goofy Challenge (along with Perfect Goofy Gail), or your 21st runDisney marathon, it’s supercalifragilistic you’re in and we can’t wait to spend the weekend with you.

As our blog name suggests, you’ll NEVER get a “should you/should you not register” post from us about races.  We may be broke from all the race registrations.  We may be desperately trying to convince our spouses to not leave us for a non-runner. But we are ALWAYS…ALL IN!

So –  if you are already as crazy as we are, working up to our level of crazy, or just like to watch crazy online – thanks for joining us.

No, seriously, we dress like this EVERY day...

No, seriously, we dress like this EVERY day…

With over 100 runDisney races between us (and 13+ Walt Disney World Cast Member years), we’ll take the rest of 2014 sharing our experiences and expertise with you via YouTube Videos, Twitter and Facebook posts, Pinterest pinning, and blogging.

Perfect Goofy Gail during her first Walt Disney World Marathon in 2006.

Perfect Goofy Gail during her first Walt Disney World Marathon in 2006.

In our next several posts, we’ll cover:

  • Our 2014 runDisney Race Experiences to date
    • Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend: Inaugural Dopey Challenge for both of us! (5K, 10K, Half, Full)
      • Oh by the way, did we tell you about Kimberly and her ROCK STAR performance 2 weeks after finishing chemotherapy for breast cancer? She’s kind of a big deal (at least to Perfect Goofy Gail)!
    • Disneyland Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend (5K, 10K, Half)
  • Charity Running
    • What charity is right for you?
    • Fund raising: You CAN do this

And…if there are any other topics you’d like us to discuss, please let us know!

We hope you’ll join us and Run All The Races!

Perfect Goofy Gail and (soon to be Delightfully Dopey) Kimberly!