Friday, May 17, 2013

Race #27-- Expedition Everest Challenge 5k and Scavenger Hunt-- May 4, 2013

I was so excited to get to run in runDisney's Expedition Everest Challenge again this year.

 And this year I would be running with some new friends--Ashley from The Pavement Princess!

We met briefly at the Expo, where I was helping out at the Raw Threads booth. We got our goodies--a race tech (that doesn't fit right.  I am sooo glad that it seems like starting with Marathon weekend, runDisney will be going to gender specific tees), a cliff bar, a practice clue, and I also got my Lasting Commemoratives free art card.

The clue was easy.  It was the type of problems I like--word ones.  Unfortunately, as I'll discuss later, the clues weren't like that.

 Then we met up again at 8pm.  There I met Ashley's husband (and running partner) and my running partner LeeAnn. 

We got into our corral at about 9:15-9:30.  I'm not sure of the exact time.  LeeAnn said that she runs the whole time instead of doing run/walk intervals like I do.  Gulp!  I had been wanting to try to run a whole 5k and I guess now was the time to do it!  Luckily, I tried my first sample of Energy Bits (review to come!)

We were in corral F so we had a bit of time to chat.

While you were waiting in the corral, there was "snow" and instead of fireworks at the start of each wave, there was smoke.

Finally it was our turn--we were up next!

They counted down and we took off!  At about .75 miles or so ( I don't remember, so I'm just guessing) there were the hay barrels to jump over.  They're pretty simple but I hurt my ankle last year by being stupid on it, so I took it carefully.  The run through Animal Kingdom wasn't too bad but once again, we ran into people already on the scavenger hunt part so you had to walk around them.  It was definitely a different course this year.  The tire walk was so SLOW.  It was slower than a walk.  It was like step, pause, step, pause.  There were only two sets next to each other with no room to run down the middle.  I bet it ate up at least 3 minutes.  At the very end was the net crawl.  Not too bad.  But except for those obstacle stops, I did it!  I ran the whole 5k!  Our official 5k time was 33:51.

We got our first clue and a flashlight.  I asked where they sharpies were and they said there weren't any this year.  Huh?  I would soon learn why--they weren't word puzzles.  Ugh

Here's our first clue: (I'm pretty sure I'm putting them in the right order)

The answer was NW.  (You have to trace the 0s).  But there were no pens to write this down so we just had to remember it.  We took off to get our next clue.

For this one, you had to look at all the capital letters to see it spelled out NORTHEAST.  Next...

Maybe it the kindergarten teacher in me, but every time I see the number 26, I automatically think number of letters in the alphabet so this one was super easy.  SW.  And the next one:

This one was tricky and we actually overheard some one give the answer.  You have to look at the last letter of the last two lines.  NE.

As we were running up to that last one, we saw tons of people on the ground with their clues spread out.  So when we got our final clue card, we knew to sit down.

So we spread out our clues.  We had to put the clues together to make a symbol that was on our bib.

We tried all different sorts of ways but NOTHING we did matched any symbols on our bib. 
We sat there and we sat there trying to figure it out.  But we couldn't.  We were both so frustrated.  So we finally decided to just take off to the finish line and hope to hear someone talking about the answer.  As we ran, a nice man overheard us talking and gave us the answer--white.  To this day, I STILL don't get it! (if you do, please tell me!!)  And as it turns out, no one was even checking if we pointed to the white one on the bib.   Grr!  Our official time was 1:21:15.  We took 47 minutes to do the scavenger hunt.  I bet at least 35 of it was the last clue!  Last year the team I was on took 22 minutes to do the scavenger hunt!!
Oh, and the other two times I've done this, the whole race ended right at Everest.  Perfect location.  But this time, after you figured out the final clue, you had to run a mile-ish back out of the park.  The end of the whole thing ended at the same place where the 5k ended.  Which means you had to walk the mile-ish BACK into the party.  Not cool. 
The good news was that Ashley and her husband finished right in front of us so we didn't have to waste any time looking for each other.

We headed in to the after party and stopped by the New Balance area.  During the race, if you tweeted with a certain hashtag, then they would print your picture for free.  GREAT idea but they only had one poor woman working with one printer.  We only ended up finding one picture.

So we beelined it over to a stand to get some beer! ( I didn't believe it until Wine & Dine since I'm not a huge beer fan, but there's something great about the carbs in beer after a race!)


The dance party was right there and the DJ from my wedding, Steve Weinstein, was playing the music!  I had to stop for a picture!

We headed over to ride Everest.  Everest in the dark is always fun! (It looks like I'm getting scraped by the claw!)

LeeAnn's family wanted to ride Kali River Rapids so we headed over there.  Ashley, her husband and I didn't get want to get wet so we decided to wait.  And we found my favorite thing of the whole night to amuse us.  This button on a bridge that you could press to spray people.  It got them soaked.  And it was free!  It provided so much entertainment.  We were dying laughing!

We could understand why the button asked you to let other use it.  We could have stood there for hours!  Up next was dinosaur. (I love knowing where all the pictures are!)

Then we rode TriceraTop Spin

A couple of them rode Primeval Whirl next

At some point in the night, we took pictures with the characters

And I ran into my friend Mandy

The race medal is pretty much the same as all of the other years.

Overall, I didn't enjoy the race much.  I think that's my last Everest Challenge unless they change it up.  But I had an absolute BLAST with the group I was with.  I cannot wait to see them again at Dumbo in a few short months!!


  1. Thanks for posting. I've always wanted to do Expedition Everest and I've always prided myself on being able to figure out clues ( I'm a word person) but I don't think I could have figured any one of those clues out on my own! Of course after you say the answer there is that ah moment, I get it now, but they look tough!
    Good job on finishing a 5K running the entire thing. I think it is more mental than anything. I always thought I HAD to stop and take a breather until one day I said " I'm gonna see if I can run this whole thing" and I did. I've been able to run it all everytime now.

    1. During my training runs, I'm slowly working up my time--right now I'll be doing 19 minutes straight tomorrow, then starting my intervals. But I still find that when I do that, the rest of the run is shot. My times are so much worse.

  2. This was such a fun race because of the fabulous company! Looking forward to seeing you again at Dumbo. Not sure if we'll be able to top "the button", but let's try. LOL

  3. Wow, that is a LOT of medals! Thanks for all the pics and the recap of the race. I'm running this race for the first time this May (2014) and this really let me know what to expect.

    I am trying to get a group of runners to meet up the night before the race. I set up a post here -> if anyone is interested!


    1. Thanks! I like the bling! I hope you have fun!!

  4. I just love, love, love this recap! Expedition Everest Challenge is the only runDisney contest I have not given a whirl, so I am intrigued by its unique nature. Disney's Animal Kingdom always takes on such a mystique at night, and I've enjoyed running through it during Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon. (And riding Expedition Everest in the dark is spectacular!) You've piqued my interest!

    1. You should definitely try it if you get the chance!!

  5. No, not at this race. At Wine & Dine half, you get a free drink (there was definitely beer & soda, and some kind of fruity drink--maybe sangria or wine?)

  6. Great recap! It's a shame it seems like this event is on its way out the door.

    Re: the clues, I'm not sure if you still have the clues themselves, but have you tried arranging them 2x2 as a square, with each clue in its appropriate position (i.e. NW in the upper left, NE in the upper right, SW in the lower left, and SE in the lower right)? Each corner of the clues seems to have part of some symbol—perhaps when the clues are correctly arranged, the symbol in the middle is the one that appears in the white area of the bib?

    1. oooh..I'll go dig them out and try it..thanks!