Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Disney's Expedition Everest Challenge 2012

Saturday was the '5th Adventure' of Disney's Expedition Everest Challenge.  Annette & I teamed up once again as "All About the Medal".  Last year we finished 15th for the All Female teams, so naturally this year we wanted to do better.  Top 10 was our goal.
So how did we do...
 We came in 11th!
 We finished the course (which is a 5K with obstacles and then a scavenger hunt) in 50:21.
The winning team finished in 42:08.  There were 701 All Female teams.
We were super happy with our time and we even finished five minutes faster than last year!
I really want to place next year :)

As always, it was a great event.
It started off with pack pick-up at ESPN's Wide World of Sports on Saturday morning.  There is no expo, just packet pick-up and course talks.  It is cute though, since they set it up like base camp.
The race itself started at 9:30pm at the Animal Kingdom in the Butterfly parking lot.  You can do Expedition Everest as part of a 2-person team or as an individual.
There are 8 wave starts, 6 minutes apart.
Unfortunately the waves are not time based.  They never have been, but in my old age this just bothers me more :)
The individuals start out first, then the All Male teams, then the Co-Ed teams, then the All Female teams.  While this makes sense as men are naturally faster runners than women, there are just soooo many walkers at this event, I really, really hope runDisney changes this next year.  All we did was dodge people the entire time.  I understand walkers are welcomed at this event, it would just be so much better to separate the runners from the walkers.

The start was fantastic this year!  They did things a little differently from the previous two years  Instead of having everyone wait in corrals for up to an hour before their wave was to start, they just had everyone relax in the parking lot and they would call up the next wave to the starting line and then the wave after would be "on deck" at the back of the start line chute.  
With only 5,100 participates, Expedition Everest is one of the smaller runDisney events, so this worked out perfectly.  Since we were last, we went over to the 5K finish line (also in the Butterfly Lot) to watch the runners finish from the earlier waves.  

The race started about 5 minutes late, so we were off and running at just about 10:20pm.
The first mile is entirely in the Animal Kingdom parking lot.  During this mile you get to the first obstacle - jumping over bails of hay.  Once past that, you enter into the park, run through Discovery Island, through Africa and then take a left into a backstage area, along the Wildlife Express Train route.  Here in mile 2 is the next obstacle - running through the tires.  
Making our way back into the park, we run through Discovery Island again (on the other side of the Tree of Life) and then out of the park through another backstage area. Once back in the parking lot there is the third, and last, obstacle - rope crawl.
Teammates are suppose to cross the 5K timing mats together in order to continue onto the scavenger hunt portion.  Due to my slow running we finished about 30 seconds slower than last year.  32:04.  This is what needs to be improved upon for next year!  And yes, I am directing this at myself :)

Once we were done with the 5K, the volunteers hand us a clue card, marker, and mini flashlight/whistle combo.
Can I please tell you the whistle was AWESOME for getting through the walking crowds.  I have no doubt it was annoying to some, but we freakin' loved those things!

That clue cards told us which "Land" to go to and which volunteer to look for.  In each Animal Kingdom "Land" there are 5 volunteers each with different signs.
For example, our first clue said "Oasis" for the Land and the sign we needed to look for was Mirage. 
All runners go to the different Lands in the same order (Oasis, Camp Minnie-Mickey, Africa and Asia), but there are five different versions of clues.  Hence the five different signs.
On your way to each location you need to figure out the clue card.  Once at the correct volunteer, you need to tell them your answer and if you are correct they will give you the next card.  Overall, the clues are pretty manageable, but if you are having a hard time, the volunteers will give you hints.
Once you have been to all 4 Lands, the answer to the fifth and final clue is your "password" to cross the finish line and enter the post race party.  The "password" is a word made up of letters from the 4 previous clues.  Solve that, tell your password to the volunteers and cross the finish line!
The scavenger hunt was where we made up time this year and we finished that portion in 18:18.

After crossing the finish line we got our awesome medals...
 Then we headed over to Dinoland USA to collect our checked bags and grab a beer.
Unfortunately the line for bag check was kind of long, so we decided to go back later.  Luckily our friend Dave was there so we could bum money off of him for the beers.  We had to adequately hydrate after :)
We waited for Annette's husband, Brian, and Dave's girlfriend, Wendy, to finish.  They were a team this year and they were called "Where's Dave?".  I thought that was pretty funny :)
We got in a few rides - Everest (obviously!), Dinosaur and Primeval Whirl, which I have declared myself officially too old to ever ride that thing again... Can't handle the jerkiness, ugh.
I really love the night time runDisney events with the post race parties.  Even though you could tell it was more crowded this year, it was still fun and we will definitely be back next year!


  1. This looks like so much fun!! Why does WDW have to be so far away?!

  2. OMG, I am definitely doing this race next year! That medal is awesome!! Congrats on placing so well - that is pretty bad ass :)

  3. That looks like SO much fun!! Great job and congrats!!

  4. What a great event. Those medals are fantastic. Nice recap.

  5. Yeah, I'm jealous. I had so much fun over Princess weekend, I can only imagine this was a blast too! I would totally need someone to figure out the clues for me though...I'm definitely not good at that sort of thing!

  6. That sounds like fun! The medals are cool. I have never done a race like that; it sounds interesting!

  7. Also, in your list of blogs it says I haven't updated my blog for more than 3 months...what the heck? I'm sad your blog is sabotaging my blog ;)

  8. That sounds like such a blats!! Congratulations on doing so well - #11 is HUGE!! Great job!!

    And I am totally with you about Primeval Whirl. They should just get rid of that ride all together, in my opinion. But if you are over 12 years old - don't go on it. Too damn painful without very much fun!