Goofy Challenge Results and Recap!

398888-R1-014-5A_007 First, I want to thank my Family for allowing me to train, and run this run.  Without their love and support there is no way I could have completed and enjoyed this challenge.  I also want to thank all the folks that followed these posts on Goofy.  Thank you for letting me share the story of training these posts really help keep me accountable to the distances I had to run.

So how was the Goofy Challenge?  In a word:


Overall the whole event run by Disney was superb.  From the registration process, to the exhibition speakers and to the run itself this was the most organized running event I have ever attended.  To begin with the speakers were fantastic, just to name drop for a second, I heard all of these folks speak:

  • Arturo Barrios, Former World Record holder at 10,000m and 20,000m runs, learn more about Arturo here: 
  • Jeff Galloway, ‘72 Olympian and after this run I became a believer in the Galloway method for running long distances
  • Dick and Rick Hoyt, by FAR the most inspirational talk, this father and son team’s story will simply humble and inspire you.  Learn more about these two fantastic people here: 
  • John Bingham, AKA, the Penguin.  Is a writer for Runners World Magazine, by far provided a very informational and entertaining presentation about running in Disney.  Check out his blog here: Ask the Penguin
  • Jenny Hadfield, also a writer for Runners World, she provided some additional insight and coaching for running overall.  Once again a great speaker! Check out her blog here: Ask Coach Jenny 
  • Tari Rose, is a health and fitness expert and she provided some great insight on nutrition and weight loss.  Check out her website here: Tari Rose Home Page 

All of them shared their experiences, insights on running and nutrition.  The amount of interaction that we were able to have with the speakers after their talks was even more fascinating.  I was very happy to get out and hear them speak.  The speakers provided a truly great way to begin the weekend and get me ready for the runs.

Before I get to the runs here were 3 great tips, I can remember from the Penguin and Coach Jenny about running Goofy:

  • Take a Camera, you will regret it if you do not.
  • Running Disney is not about setting your PR, it is about FUN
  • Do not let the thought of Sunday ruin your Saturday run, meaning if you feel good on Saturday run and enjoy.

398888-R1-032-14A_015 With that mindset I headed into the weekend, with my two Disposable cameras. After the early morning wake up I went to the starting area, at 4 am an 80’s cover band was a great way to get the day rolling.  Also seeing all the people and the energy was amazing.  The run itself was a lot of fun, and seeing all the people cheering and having fun was something I will not soon forget.  The first 5 miles of the 1/2 was filled with the, are we there yet, anticipation and really flew by.  Arriving at the Magic Kingdom, really blew me away and there is truly something magical about Disney.  If you have ever been to Disney you know what I am talking about.  When you first walk into the parks, you get overwhelmed by a child like enthusiasm, well guess what that happened on both days I ran, and I really did not expect it.  I remember thinking to myself, I did not even feel like I was running.  A cool moment came at the end of the run, I was in full sprint mode, and nearing the finish line when I spotted Lilo and Stitch.  Brakes applied, picture taken. What a way to begin the Goofy Challenge.

The second morning, as I headed to the marathon,  brought with it the same enthusiasm although it was a bit tempered.  It was tempered by the sense of Deja Vu, didn’t I just do this?  However, the build up was the same and the run had the same level of enjoyment.   Going through more parks really helped the grind of running a marathon and really did not seem like I was running 26.2.  I think in part was my strategy for the run.  Sunday to me was not about time but about feeling great, and after chatting with Jeff Galloway he gave me an a good ratio to follow.   I employed a walk run strategy of 3 minutes on and 1 minute off from the very beginning (Although during portions of the run I bumped it to 5 and 1).  Too me the Galloway method was very hard to get head around, until I did it, it seemed like a lot of walking and that it would just lengthen the agony and be slower than just running.  How wrong I was, not only was I running faster (until I started taking pictures 🙂 ) I felt stronger than I have ever felt running a marathon.  More importantly my recovery time was cut by half from previous runs, I am a believer now!

Overall the Goofy challenge was by FAR, the most fun running I have ever had!  If you are looking to do just one marathon or one 1/2 marathon in your life this would be at the very top of my list.  I normally do not consider doing runs again, but Disney is a run I could see myself do over and over again.  Simply too fun not to! 

As a matter of Fact I have already register for the DisneyLand 1/2 marathon in September, anyone want to join me?

So for a little fun here is Goofy by the numbers:

  • 3 am, the time I had to wake up each morning
  • 4 am, the time I had to be on the bus to the starting line
  • 6 am, the time the runs started
  • 1/2 Marathon Time: 02:28:25 Pace: 11:19
  • 12,443 1/2 Marathon Finishers
  • Marathon Time: 05:33:23:  Pace 12:42
  • 14,953 Marathon Finishers
  • 3,332 Goofy Finishers
  • Calories burned in the two days: 6000
  • Amount of Pictures taken during the runs: 54
  • Totals Miles Trained: 612 (see below)
Tuesday 72
Wednesday 125
Thursday 97
Saturday 113
Sunday 205



Places I could have gone that are 612 miles or less from my front door, as the crow flies:

    • Denver (Almost 620miles )
    • Omaha
    • Santa Fee
    • Saltillo, Mexico
    • Chihuahua, Mexico (Almost 640 miles)
    • Houston and back and I will still need to run 100 more miles
    • Mobile
    • Birmingham
    • St. Louis
    • Nashville

Again thank you for following these postings and if you have any questions about running, disney or even Goofy drop me an email:

Comments (12)

  1. Larry says:

    Very cool event.  Thanks for sharing it with us.

  2. jweston says:

    Congrats Matt!  Way to go. I have the Hoyts’ book and videos, what an inspiration to see them speak in person.  Now are you ready to tri Triathlons?

  3. David says:

    Congratulations on completing the Goofy challenge!  I ran the inaugural Disney marathon way back when.  I have been dying to go back for the past couple of years.  Keep up your enthusiasm.

  4. JP says:

    Congrats Matt!  I’m inspired to try in 2010 or 2011 latest.

  5. Matt Hester says:

    Thanks everyone! It was a great event and I look forward to hearing how you do JP, my advice is sign up now.  The Goofy fills up very quickly.  Triatholons are in my future if someone buys me a bike.  

  6. Steve Kign says:

    Congratulations Matt, I also ran the Goofy.  I share the feelings you had.  It was one of the most challenging, yet fun, things I have ever done.  Getting the medals, and being able to tell people that I am now certified "Goofy" is a thrill that doesn’t die.

  7. Gordon says:

    Simply Awesome!  Congrats on the race, but even more cudos to your dedicated work out plan.

  8. Matt Hester says:

    Thanks Gordon, and I agree with you Steve.  It is fun to tell people that you are goofy especially when you tell them what that means 39 miles in two days.  🙂

  9. Aimee says:

    Hey, man, I totally missed this post.  Congrats!  I had a great time reading your training posts.

  10. kittheo says:

    congrats to you.  I was looking around for some kind of hope and your input has helped.  

    I am signed up for Goofy — 2010 and kind of freaking out now and wondered what in the world I have gotten myself into…I have ran 3 fulls and bunch of 1/2s and have the mindset of "to finish" and run all of them via galloway method but I have a bad knee that gets sore after long races so back to back whoa.  Hoping I can do this…I am starting training way ahead of galloway schedule and cross training etc.  Still scared though

  11. Matt Hester says:

    Kittheo, you will be fine, just go slow and have fun Goofy was my official 3rd full marathon.

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