Ahoy! Castaway Cay Challenge 2015 Recap by Tania Lamb

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Sunny skies and beaches. Breakfast buffet beforehand. Two medals. Characters aplenty. Silly friends who make you laugh. Walt Disney World , runDisney, and Disney Cruise Line together. It is no surprise that I loved runDisney’s Castaway Cay Challenge so much! A little hefty in price when you factor everything in, but it was worth every penny for the cruise and Princess Half Marathon, plus the fee for the 5K.

Race bibs and t-shirts were provided at the expo during Princess Half Marathon Weekend. It was a separate line than the other Princess Half races, but was quick and easy. Princess Half Marathon was a blast as usual, then it was time to board the Disney Dream on Monday and let the fun begin!

All the runners (about 400 or so) met in the Walt Disney Theatre on the ship on Wednesday (Castaway Day, yippee!) at 5:45 a.m. There was a breakfast provided in Cabanas for the runners early in the morning, which was very kind. A chocolate croissant is really the perfect way to start any day or run. We were then divided into 2 corrals – A and B – and led off the ship that way. What a gorgeous sight to see the Disney Dream before sunrise.

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Photo by Diane Watkins

We walked to the corral start and there was a real bathroom on the way just in case you needed one (Patty). Then it felt like a party where we all met up together again with music and a greeting by Princess Minnie.

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Photo by Diane Watkins

We even got to mingle with the rich and famous. Hey Jeff Galloway! Seriously, he’s the nicest man ever.

Photo provided by Diane Watkins
Photo provided by Diane Watkins

My partners in crimes were Diane and Patty, and I wanted to hang with them in Corral B for some dancing and mingling. Costumes? Of course. We #DisneySide it anytime we can! At the last second we decided I would start in A, and run ahead and wait for them for character photos in case there was a line.

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Photo provided by Diane Watkins

Yeah, silly plan. There were no lines. I was so used to other runDisney races that I didn’t put my Captain thinking hat on. And this race wasn’t timed…so, yeah. I think the heavenly weather was messing with my head.

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While the crowd support was small, it was mighty. Those Cast Members gave it their all! Also you saw plenty of fellow runners cheering each other on. It just had a very laid back, tropical, magical feel. The course was pretty much a run down an air strip, an out and back with some lovely sandy, tropical views, and a loop at the end. This is different than typical Castaway Cay 5K course, and I felt time just flew by. I was never wishing for the race to end. There was one bottled water stop along the way, and we received a runner’s box of typical runDisney race snacks. I have to say the crackers or tortilla chips and cheese spread are always my favorite.

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After we finished we got our bling! Oh that beautiful medal! In fact, we got two medals. The rubber Castaway Cay 5K medal and the shiny Castaway Cay Challenge medal. There was even a photo op with my pal Mickey Mouse at the end.

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Everyone had to return to the ship before disembarking again to enjoy Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, but that’s another blog post.
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The runDisney fun did not end there! The next day we were invited to a runner’s reception on the ship. I was really impressed by the food offerings, runner ice sculptures, and photo opportunity with Cinderella. I’m sure I ate my weight in fruit tarts. We were able to mingle with other runners, runDisney coordinators, and of course, Jeff Galloway. Did I mention Jeff Galloway was on this cruise 🙂
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This race was my Cinderella moment. The ultimate girls’ weekend during Princess Half Marathon followed by a fantastic race on Castaway Cay and continued celebrations and relaxation on the Disney Dream with girlfriends was perfection. You could even take you family if you wanted 🙂 I sincerely hope they continue these challenges. The logistics can sometimes prove difficult, but it is well worth it! So we’re all registering next year, right?