In any event, today I want to talk about one of the most fun events I've run, Disney's Castaway Cay 5k!
There can be a whole blog dedicated to the Disney Cruise Line, and really one could go on and on about every aspect of every ship they have, and the service, and the attention to detail, and the fact that it's the best vacation ever!! But my favorite part of the Disney Cruise (including the sail away party see above), is, on the Bahamas itineraries, you get to stop at Disney's private island, Castaway Cay!
Castaway Cay is Disney's gorgeous private island in the Bahamas just for Disney Cruise Line guests. Activities range from doing nothing but lounge around on the beautiful clean beaches and swim in the pristine crystal clear water to bike rides, snorkeling, and ... something I decided to try this time around in April 2012, the Castaway Cay 5k run.
Now, as far as I know, the 5k run is held every time one of the disney ships docks at castaway cay. overall, it's pretty casual, laid back, and overall fun, but it appears over the years they made it more official. Here's how ours went:
The Navigator (schedule of the next day's events), showed the 5k starting at 9 or 9:30am I think, and instructed runners (12 and over) to meet at 8:30am at the 687 Lounge, a cool sports bar on the Disney Dream.
There, based on previous online reports of the 5k, I expected 5, maybe 10 other runners. But it got popular I guess because there were about 30 of us! Fellow cruiser runners ranged in age from late teens to I would guess 50. The official navigator had an age minimum of 12. I also expected more casual runners ... there were definitely casual runners who looked like they wanted to try it out, but I would say 60% or more at least looked like serious runners, with tech shirts, t-shirts from previous races, including marathons and half marathons, running shorts ... and they were stretching and warming up. But don't get me wrong, the overall atmosphere and mood was casual, and casual runners/walkers would feel very comfortable here.
Cast members Dan and Angela (great job guys) were there registering runners, and distributing bibs! (that's at least one new addition, there were no bibs before as far as I know.) They brought out a big map of the course route and showed us where we would be running on the island. (more details below).
We were all led out by the cast members through our own gangway (had to bring our key to the world card id thing), and guess who was waiting outside for us but Goofy!! So we all took an official picture with him and walked down to the start line. And, as another new addition, there was an official clock there too.
Basically, the start line was at the bike rental station:
Then we made our way to and down the airstrip, yes, a cool airstrip:
(According to the Behind the Dream presentation I attended on the ship, before castaway cay became the sanitized private island by disney, it was a popular island for drug running, and this was the airport they used for transport, pretty cool.) ...
Then around a one mile loop to the observation tower:
There were both manned an unmanned water stations along the way (some, in classic Disney theming, disguised like crates:)
then we proceeded down the other airstrip and back again around the loop back to the finish line, where we all got a medal saying "winner."
Some running notes: It was warm and sunny, heading into the 80s, no breeze. Course was extremely flat, mostly blacktop asphalt. Most confusing part was this loop that you had to do twice. There was a cast member at the loop directing you, but you could go either clockwise or counterclockwise, and since not everyone did the same thing, could be confusing. In any case, it was a lot of fun. I though that the warmth would bother me, since I had been running in relative cold since November, but really I was just happy that I was running Disney! I remember looking around and just trying to take it all in, that yes I was in Disney, I was on vacation, and I was running!!
and knowing the beach would be waiting for me at the end.
On this particular cruise (5 nights) we actually had two stops at castaway cay, and yes, we ran two 5ks!! The second run was my PR at that time, 25:15, unofficial. (since beat it at the OMC 5k).
Atmosphere: casual, and disney!
organization: not bad, it was casual anyway
swag: the bib, the medal, and in your stateroom they dropped off a certificate! (i don't have a pic of mine). but you had to buy a t shirt if you wanted it. hey, the run was "free" anyway.
would I run it again? everyday if I could
here's our official pic with goofy: