This Runner Likes to Get Dopey, and Goofy, Too

June 13, 2016 by Kavita Sherman, writer

This Runner Likes to Get Dopey, and Goofy, Too

(l-r) Katie's dad, Katie and her husband, Justin, her sister Julie and her mom after the Donald Duck Half Marathon in January 2016

For those people who think running isn’t fun, they haven’t run with the likes of Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Dopey, Snow White and Goofy.

Akron Children’s Hospital occupational therapist Katie Clark has. She’s run races at the happiest place on earth − Walt Disney World Resort in Florida − on several occasions.

Katie laces up her sneakers and runs through the resort’s theme parks and attractions, along with thousands of others who participate in races organized by runDisney. During these events, she’s hobnobbing and high fiving with Disney characters and enjoying the entertainment along the course.

“I ran the Dopey Challenge with my mom, dad, sister and husband,” Katie said. “It was the first time we all ran the same event, so it was a family affair for us. We all did the half marathon together, but we didn’t stay together during the race.”

The Dopey Challenge is 4 races over 4 days − consisting of a 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon.

“We got 6 pieces of ‘bling’ for completing the 4 races,” Katie said. “They included medals for each race, plus a medal for the Goofy Race and Half Challenge and a brand-new Dopey Challenge finisher medal.”

Although Katie likes the medals, the bigger attractions are time with her family and travel to fun-filled destinations.

This Runner Likes to Get Dopey, and Goofy, Too

Julie and Katie

“I like to do cool runs in cool places,” she said. “I do this so I can vacation somewhere fun with my family. A lot of times, these courses show you parts of the city you might not be familiar with. For instance, during the New Orleans Rock and Roll Half Marathon, we ran through Jackson Square.”

Katie has been running for 5 years. During this time, she’s completed 4 marathons, 2 in Florida and 2 in Ohio. However, she prefers half marathons.

Those who knew Katie when she played softball in high school and college might be surprised to hear her say that.

“During my physical in college, I had to run a mile − and I was too slow,” she said. “People would be surprised to know I’m a runner. But I’m not the stereotypical runner, at least not in build or speed. My mom says, ‘We’re not real runners’ because we’re in the back of the corrals that the race organizers use to line up the runners. That doesn’t matter because we’re just focused on finishing and having fun.”

To complete an event, Katie uses a run-walk training strategy. She alternates 3 minutes of running with 1 minute of walking. She plans to use this method to complete the Akron Marathon Half Marathon, which she’ll participate in for the first time this year.

Training for it won’t be a problem, however.

“My mom is a race walker,” Katie said. “She is always calling my sister and me and telling us we need to train more. She keeps us in check. With her encouragement, I’ll be ready.”

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