Expedition Everest Challenge

May 3, 2014

After participating in the Family Challenge this morning, I’m not going to lie, I was a bit nervous about the scavenger hunt portion of the Expedition Everest Challenge. I’m worried that the clues aren’t going to make sense and that I’m not going to be able to figure them out. I don’t want to not finish the challenge.

It’s also rainy again and it’s turned off quite cool. I wasn’t prepared for rain much less cool weather. But thankfully, my partner brought me a jacket this morning so I have a windbreaker to keep me semi-dry and warm. My shoes however, are not completely dried out from this morning’s event.

We hop the bus to Animal Kingdom. It’s warm on the bus and I might be OK with just staying here until it’s time for me to run. But, that can’t happen so we get off the bus and head over to the staging area. It’s windy and cold and I keep hopping around and dancing just trying to stay warm. My partner is laughing at me and making fun of me. I don’t care.

It’s starts raining again; not hard rain, but like this morning, enough to make you damp and cold. I don’t like it. I like the cool weather because it’s nice to run in cool weather. I don’t like to be cold and wet though.

The first corral is sent off. There are about five minutes between corrals so it isn’t long before my corral is being sent on its way. I have my intervals set on my Garmin but I run a good portion of the first mile. This is only a 5k and there is a small obstacle at roughly each mile. The first obstacle is jumping over small bales of hay. These are easy to jump over (or even step over). I’m over them quickly and easily.

Race bib for 2014 Expedition Everest Challenge.

Race bib for 2014 Expedition Everest Challenge.

Now we’re heading into the park. Some of the earlier corral runners are already heading into their scavenger hunt. The walkway is roped off so that runners are on one side and the other part of the walkway is for scavenger hunters. We continue through the park and into the backlot where we encounter the second obstacle: running through the tires. The tires are laying flat, like you often see football players or boot camp style training. I kind of walk through this obstacle because it’s a bit crowded. I walk in a straight line putting my foot in the tire directly in front of me rather than alternating tires side to side. This is probably a better idea for me anyhow as I realized I also have an untied shoe!

After I finish the tires, I move to the side and tie my shoe. Then I get back to running the last stretch. The final obstacle is a belly crawl under some ropes. My phone actually falls out of my pocket in this obstacle but the guy behind me picked it up and gave it back to me (thank heavens I didn’t lose that!). After this obstacle, it’s a quick run to the finish line where I am given my first clue and a pen and flashlight for the scavenger hunt. I also get a bottle of water.

At this point, I find my partner. He’s waiting right along the side of the runner’s chute. The chute leads us back into the park for the scavenger hunt. I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to do this so we’re chatting for a minute and he decides to come into the park with me. He doesn’t have anything else to do and maybe he can help me figure out some of these clues faster.

The clues aren’t terribly hard to figure out and the ones that were tougher, the volunteers gave hints and explained what I didn’t understand. This took a lot of the self-imposed pressure off. I had been very worried about not being able to figure everything out and it was all for naught.

Once I got the last clue, there was a long stretch of open road to run to get to the finish line. As I am heading through that stretch, I am running along the same path as other runners coming in from the 5k. These runners still have their scavenger hunt to do.

I pick up my pace and run the last 100 yards or so to the finish line. I make sure to show my clue card and point to the appropriate spot so that I can collect my medal. I get some refreshments and stop for a photo.

Finisher's medal for the Expedition Everest Challenge. It opens and is a compass.

Finisher’s medal for the Expedition Everest Challenge. It opens and is a compass.

By this point, I’m cold and wet. Although it stopped raining, I didn’t dry out and I didn’t really warm up. I want to get out of my wet clothes and more specifically, my wet socks and shoes. I hate wet socks more than anything!

We decide to skip the after party and head back to the room. While I wanted to take advantage of riding some rides, I just don’t want to be in wet clothes anymore. I’m also afraid that I’ll end up getting sick (I get congested easily thanks to severe allergies). It will be nice to take a warm shower as well.

My official finish time for the race; 5k and scavenger hunt; was 1:41:43. I didn’t really know what to expect from this race so I’m pretty happy with my time (although my clock and net times are the same; impossible since I was NOT in the first corral). The scavenger hunt wasn’t as bad as I had made it out to be in my head. I knew the obstacles wouldn’t be too difficult and they weren’t. I really enjoyed the 5k with the obstacles. It was an easy run and the obstacles were fun. I think this is the kind of race a family could easily do together and everyone could enjoy it. I probably could get my nephews to do this one with me and they would enjoy it. Especially with the appeal of being able to ride some rides after the race!

I think if I do this race again, I’ll get my partner to do the race with me. It is definitely more fun with a partner, especially during the scavenger hunt. He isn’t a runner like me but he would enjoy this shorter, more fun-oriented type of race. It isn’t a long run that would require training (really no training for him since he has a good base of fitness) and it is more of a fun run with the obstacles and scavenger hunt. Overall though, it’s certainly a must-do at least once if you’re a running or runDisney fan.

Expedition Everest expenditures:

Registration: ~$203 (challenge and family edition team)
Hotel: ~$365 (two nights and I booked LATE)
Souvenirs: ~$36 (pins and vinylmation medal)
After Party Ticket: ~$52
Gas: ~$20
Food: ~$150 (two people)
Kennel: ~$100
Total: ~$926

Gotta run.

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