I am not a runner. I traditionally believe that running should be reserved for chasing my kids and escaping from bears. However, leading up to my 30th birthday cruise on the Disney Dream I started to write a bucket list of all sorts full of things that I wanted to accomplish by my birthday. There was a lot of variety on that list, and one of the more
ridiculous ambitious items was to run a 5K. This idea was bordering on hysterical, because at that point I had never run more than a mile, and the last time I did that I was a freshman in high school.
Running on Vacation?
If you ever needed proof that Disney is magic, know that Disney inspired me to run over three times farther than I had ever run before…while I was ON VACATION.
Disney’s Castaway Cay is one of the most beautiful and relaxing places I’ve ever been. Before the relaxing starts, the first group of visitors off the ship is those who choose to run the Castaway Cay 5K. This is a lot more laid back than typical runDisney events. We registered for the race when we boarded the ship—there’s no extra charge to participate. There were a lot of tough kiddos that ran, but you have to be at least 10 years old. For those who wanted to run that were traveling with younger kids, they had the chance to check them into their respective kid-approved areas before the race.
Preparing for the Race
The morning of the race my husband and I opted to stop at Cabanas for some yogurt, toast, and fruit before we met in one of the lounges (the location will be specified on your ticket when you register) to pick up our bibs and get acquainted with the path the race takes on the island. There were people who you could tell were serious runners, but a lot of people who planned to walk, too. After a quick explanation of the race, including the cast members mentioning if we were to “forget” to do the second loop before returning to the start/finish line they wouldn’t judge us, we debarked and walked across the island to the starting point (luckily with several restrooms along the way) and stored our backpacks in the bins provided.
Castaway Cay 5K
There are no starting corrals for the race, so when they started the clock there was quite the mass of humanity that took off. The path is wide though, and the pack quickly spread out comfortably. The course runs along the airstrip, takes a loop on the bike path with the observation tower, then continues down the airstrip to Serenity Bay before you turn around and repeat the path in reverse. There is almost no elevation change at all (giving me a false sense of security), and water stations are at the entrance/exit to the loop and the turning point at Serenity Bay.
To show you that I’m not a runner, it didn’t occur to me to bring along extra water for in between the water stations—let me tell you, you should. A hat, sunglasses, small towel, and a layer of sunscreen are also a pretty good idea. We did the run in November, on a day that was comfortably in the mid 70’s, and I have never been so sweaty in my entire life. As a gentleman next to us jokingly remarked “I’m so glad we didn’t pay extra for this!” all I could do was nod my dripping head in agreement.
I finished just a few seconds over forty minutes, doing both loops thank-you-very-much, which was my (somewhat pitiful) goal. This included a decent amount of walking, particularly along the brutally sunny airstrip that was the hottest portion of the race. When we finally we made it to the finish we were met by smiling Cast Members with our non-metal medals that are now proudly displayed in my study as evidence that I can do something that goes completely against my nature when I put my mind to it. We snapped some truly unflattering photos of our gross selves at the finish line, because such things must be documented for posterity.
And then my husband (who is a runner) turned to smile at me and said one of the most insane things that he has ever uttered in my general direction: “So, where do we pick up our bike rentals?”