…And I did explore the wilderness, Animal Kingdom Style, in no less than 5 miles. I ran the final RunDisney Expedition Everest with my aunts and it was awesome. There are significantly less people that run this race and it feels much more intimate (as much as 4,000 other sweaty humans can be considered intimate!).
I opted for a craftier costume for this race. Russell from UP. He is a Wilderness Explorer and it seemed perfect for a run through Animal Kingdom. I am incredibly happy with how my costume turned out even though aspects of it were a little difficult to run in.
I wore a yellow “fishing” shirt that my husband has for well fishing. Its lightweight and extremely breathable which was great for running in. I hand made a sash using regular brown cotton fabric- about 1 yard from JoAnn Fabrics. I ended up Googling “how to make a sash” and the tutorials were super easy to follow. After the sewing was completed I printed out badges (from here) and glued them onto foam then glued the foam onto the sash. Lenghty process but worth it in the end. I binged watched Parks and Recreation while sewing, cutting and glueing. It was super fun! I then made a flag out of a wooden dowel and orange felt. I used tacky glue to adhere the felt to the dowel.
I could not find a yellow hat to save my life so I ended up buying a white hat and dyeing it yellow using fabric dye and the good old kitchen sink. Happy accident that it turned out to be match the shirt because I was going for a bit of a darker shade. Lastly, I printed out 2 of these badges…
One badge for my hat and the other for the orange pennant flag. I wore a Camelbak backpack and stuck the flag in side to keep it attached. Note: make sure it is secured down with something because the flag kept slipping out during the race. Very frustrating! But I would not abandon it on the course because it was adorable! There are a few details missing from my costume but I think It turned out pretty great.
If you don’t know what the Expedition Everest is it is RunDisney’s version of an obstacle race with a twist. Now you were probably thinking that the obstacles were already a twist but there’s more! You must complete a scavenger hunt in order to officially finish the race and get your medal. First is a 5K with 3 obstacles: hay bails, army crawl under a net and then tires. After crossing the finish line you receive your first clue for the scavenger hunt. You must head back out on the course to get to the next clues but do not get it unless you solve the previous ones. There are five clues in total. I was totally giving myself anxiety thinking I wouldn’t be able to solve any clues and we’d do awful. But I was worrying for nothing (as my husband usually tells me I do!). We solved the clues pretty easily and were off to the finish line! I am super proud of us, we did great!
I had not dawned on me until the day before that the race was not actually going to be a 5K in distance. It definitely ended up being more like 5 miles (plus the excessively long walk to the party!)
Running through Animal Kingdom was awesome and at night made it so much better. It is such a shame this race is going away. It had a good run (ha. ha. pun intended. womp womp.) but I can see where they’d like to make room for some new races. The only thing that put me off was the intermixing of runners and scavenger hunters on the course. It was kind of a cluster eff of people going this way, going that way. I was thankful we went off on the first heat so we didn’t have it too bad. People who went off in the last heat were battling all the scavenger hunters just to finish the race portion.
Surprisingly I made my best time ever on a 5K. I was somewhat keeping track on the mile marker clocks but knew that we were chipped so I mostly focused on having a good time. I wasn’t attempting to get a PR that night that is for sure. I ended up with 35:46. I’m improving. Woo!
Now the good stuff….the post race party!
I bought my hubs a ticket to the post race party that they held in Animal Kingdom so he could join in on the fun. He was in the park before we had even finished the race so apparently his idea of fun is riding Expedition Everest 10 times in a row. Insane. Of course him and my aunts convinced me to ride it for the first time ever. In the dark. I am not a huge fan of roller coasters because of my extreme motion sickness so I still can’t believe I agreed to it. Despite the crippling fear I had halfway through I actually kind of enjoyed it. I will be game for trying it again under more desirable conditions. Anyways…the party was really fun. There was a DJ (DJ Elliot…who spins wild and crazy hits for mostly Disney) and giant dancing characters/men on stilts. We had beers and delicious and terrible food for us at 2 am.
I loved every second of this night.