Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Expedition Everest Challenge~ Scavenging for Clues

Virtual Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Blog Hop Directory

It is my absolute pleasure to welcome guest blogger, Kimberly Kahl, to the Virtual runDisney family! Visit her on Facebook, Follow her on Twitter at @DisneyGalKimK, and most urgently, chEAR for her on May 3rd!!

The Expedition Everest Challenge Scavenger Hunt.  It's what made me decide to run the EEC as my second-ever Disney run and third-ever race.  It also scares me.  One would think that as a non-runner, the 5K and obstacles would scare me, but I know I've got that covered.  Instead, prerace I'm thinking, "What if I can't solve one of the clues?" and "What if I can't find the next location?"

Fortunately, while challenging, the clues aren't necessarily difficult.  It is important, though, to remember that the clues may not be Disney-related so don't necessarily look  for words like Mickey or Pluto in the answer.  Also, remember to think outside the box and know that they do give you a hint to find the answer. For example, one of the clues from the 2012 EEC stated,

"If you want to climb quickly - and solve clues - take a rest period from time to time,  because it's what comes after the period that's important.  Climb with passion.  Awaken your senses.  Love every minute of it.  Mind your manners with other hikers.  Never be rude.  Enjoy yourself.  Stop to breathe and appreciate your surroundings.  Success will be yours."

The key to this solution is given.  "It's what comes after the period that's important," so taking the first letter of each sentence after that clue, as in taking each letter that comes after a period, you get CALMNESS.  The answer to the clue is calmness.

In 2013, all of the clues had to do with a "direction," which was stated in the first clue.  One had to understand, however, that the clue specifically meant an actual direction.  For example, one of the clues said,



Making it more confusing, some of the letters were in different colors, making it appear that they were important when they weren't.  Fortunately, the clue said, "Confused as to which letters to pick to spell out the answer to this clue? 'Wear'ever shall you look? Let the staff here provide you with a "heads up" and you'll find it if you search high and low.  Looking at those letters again, if you only look at the "heads up" or uppercase letters and then search high and low putting them in order going left to right but using both rows, you'll get "NORTHEAST."

Of course, prior to the race, runDisney sent all racers a sample clue, which I've pictured here.  Reading "Which side are you on?" immediately made me think of the number of sides of each polygon containing a letter.  Then I "count(ed) on it," putting the sides in order with the triangle with only 3 sides to the left and the octagon with 8 sides to the right.  By doing this, I got the answer to the clue, "TRAIL."

Now that we're both less nervous about solving those clues, which will be given to each individual runner or one per team at the end of the 5K portion, there are some other important things to remember during the scavenger hunt.

First, it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with the layout of Animal Kingdom.  While you have to solve each clue, you can only receive the next one by going to the location located at the bottom of the clue.  You'll really slow yourself down if you're standing in Asia and don't know a quick way to the next clue location in Pizzafari Courtyard.  All of the clue locations have been provided on the racemap highlighted in blue: Scavenger Hunt Start (by the 5K Finish Line), Palm Courtyard, Pizzafari Courtyard, Africa, and Asia.

Second, per the official rules, you must solve the clues yourself.  The final race instructions specifically state, "Teams and individuals must complete the Scavenger Hunt on their own and may not accept help from other teams, individuals or outside sources."  While I don't know how strict they are on this policy, it would probably be best to ask for hints from the guides who will be available.  They won't give you the answer, but they will definitely help you out with little hints.

Finally, have fun with it!  You can run a 5K anytime, but how often do you get to do it inside Disney's Animal Kingdom with a scavenger hunt at the end?

Girl, you have done your homework!  You are going to scale Everest in one bound; and we'll be following your feat all the way.  Happy scavenging!!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Virtual Expedition Everest Challenge Blog Hop

Virtual Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Blog Hop Directory

Virtual Expedition Everest Challenge Blog Hop
Follow these authors for your virtual race success.
Let these "Sherpa experts" be your guide!


Event Host Resorts/Transportation~ Kelly Carson & Judy Roszkowski     The Main Street Moms

Expedition Everest Challenge~   Andrea Howell     Once Upon a Run

Expedition Everest Challenge Post-Race Party~   Mary Beth Jackson     tutus and tennies

Obstacles~   April Shuping   Run the Great Wide Somewhere

Scavenger Hunt~   Kimberly Kahl        DIStherapy

Yeti?  I Thought They Said Spaghetti!!~   Anne Martin    OutRunningtheFork

The Pros and Cons of Nighttime Races~    Abby Brocato    Abby's Road to Amazingness

Celebratory Charity (The International Snow Leopard Trust)~   Didi Marie       DIStherapy

Thank you- oh knowledgeable ones!  Special recognition to co-host Andrea, @OnceUpon a Run1, and blogging at Once Upon a Run, for blazing the Expedition Everest Challenge path for us.

Looking for more Virtual runDisney adventure?

Friday, April 18, 2014

Expedition Everest Challenge Celebratory Charity~ Snow Leopard Trust

Virtual Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Blog Hop Directory

I've said, repeatedly, over the past 3 years; perhaps my favorite feature of runDisney events is their "giving back" to the community that supports them.  I don't believe enough attention is given to this behind the scenes cooperation, which ranges from monetary donations to considerable visibility for the designated charities that each of runDisney's events "celebrates".  I recently corresponded with Darrell Fry, Walt Disney World Resort Sports Media Director, and these are the details he shared:

We do provide a donation to the International Snow Leopard Trust as this is the designated charity for our volunteers.   The amount varies from year to year.    We work closely with our Community Relations Department and other Disney partners on selecting all of our designated charities for each event.

I've written previously about these various designated charities, (runDisney Charity Groups Program~ A Personal Story, The Walt Disney, runDisney, Special Olympics Connection, Nothing Beats Running at Disney, Unless it's runDisney With a Cause), I warned you, and the many, impactful benefits to runners, runDisney itself, and the numerous recipients of each non profits' charity.  I will admit, that unlike The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend designee), or Children's Miracle Network Hospitals (Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend), I was not familiar with the Snow Leopard Trust, so I did some Earth Day "exploration" of my own.

This oldest and most established organization formed to protect the endangered snow leopard species clearly aligns itself well with the mission of Disney's Animal Kingdom.  These Central Asian cats are susceptible not only to poaching, but to pressures from their habitats, which includes an increased number of their prime predators- goats.  (In Mongolia, these goats are being raised in increasing numbers for their cashmere coats.)  Not only does the Snow Leopard Trust work to conserve and protect the approximately 5,000 snow leopards that remain in the wild, they partner with over 70 zoo partners, (of which, Disney's Animal Kingdom is one- though we know it is "Nahtazu"),  to better understand this species health and breeding in captivity.

The Walt Disney Company has long exhibited its corporate responsibility and citizenship, and the charitable stewardship of runDisney events furthers that effort.  Not only does the corporation act responsibly and support its larger community, but it inspires others to do the same.  If you are running Expedition Everest Challenge, YOU will be supporting the Snow Leopard Trust.  Perhaps you should visit their website and learn more about wildlife conservation.  And if you become a Snow Leopard Trust e-mail subscriber between now and May 8th, $2 will be donated to the cause.  This is just too much goodness packed into one race!

Running for a cause, no matter the motivation, is a win for the charity, an empowering win for the runner, and introduces Disney Parks to a potentially new consumer.  With runDisney every mile is magic, and each pixie-dusted participant is a winner.  Especially those cute snow leopards.  

Please be sure to visit each post on the Virtual Expedition Everest Blog Hop!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Runners/Writers Wanted for a Virtual Expedition Everest Challenge

Virtual Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Blog Hop Directory

Do you hear the drums?  Are you ready for the next Virtual runDisney endurance contest?  A virtual peek- registration to finish line- at the upcoming
   Expedition Everest Challenge

Attention runners!  If you have participated in this adventure, or like me, merely wanted to, we need you as our guide!  My co-host, (Andrea, @OnceUpon a Run1, and blogging at Once Upon a Run), and I are looking for runDisney warriors who will join us in a Virtual runDisney Blog Hop on Wednesday, April 23, 2014.  Each potential writer will choose a race topic, (from scavenger hunt details to Post-Race Party), and cover each wild detail, from an instructional and/or personal point of view. Together we'll map out the journey of the Expedition Everest Challenge, for both the benefit of first timers and to whet our wildest appetites.

Would you like more details?  Would you like to claim your favorite leg of this runDisney quest?  Please contact me HERE.  The blog hop is open to all species of bloggers and non-bloggers, elite runners and newbie mountain climbers alike. Remember, every post completes this wild narrative!

For reference:

Virtual Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Blog Hop

Virtual Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend Blog Hop

Virtual Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Blog Hop