You’ve heard of Walt Disney World, but have you ever heard of the Dopey Challenge? It may have a silly name, but it’s actually a seriously tough four-day running event through all of the Disney Parks, consisting of a 5K, 10K, half marathon and full marathon.
Two Berlin Memorial Hospital employees―Bill Bergthold, occupational therapist, and Frank McShane, CRNA as needed― completed the Dopey Challenge in January.
Bergthold enjoys going to Disney World with his family and has run parts of the Dopey Challenge before, but this year, his children expressed interest in running some of the races. He decided to do the entire Dopey Challenge, so he could run one race with each of his three kids.
“I ran the 5K by myself, the 10K with my daughter Amber (20), the half marathon with my son Thomas (17), and the full marathon with my son Andrew (18),” said Bergthold. “Running these races with my children who are growing up was really special.”
It also was McShane’s first time participating in the full Dopey Challenge. He began training for the event six-months prior.
“I’ve been running for a long time since joining the Army, where they made me do it,” joked McShane. “I put in a lot of mileage training for the Dopey Challenge. By the end, I would run up to 50 miles a week.”
Bergthold said he and his coworkers support each other’s running. They ran half marathons, relays, and other races together, which allowed them to have a common bond outside of work. He encourages everyone to stay active.
“I am not an athlete. Many people look at me and ask me how someone like me can do this,” he said. “I strongly feel that anyone can do this. If I can do it, you can do it. Find a challenge, set a goal, make a plan and then stick with it.” Although the training and 5:30 a.m. starts for the races were tough, Bergthold and McShane really enjoyed seeing all the characters, live music and Disney parks throughout the race. The accomplishment of finishing is something they will never forget.