Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island that most of their cruises sail to at the end of the voyage. The 5k is an unofficial runDisney run. It is a free fun run, it’s untimed, and is a 5k distance that has a race clock so you can see your time at the end. Let me back up and start from the beginning.
The night before our day at Castaway Cay, there was information in our navigator (papers that highlight the next day’s activities) about the 5k. It told us to meet in the Tube at 9:00 ready to run, and bring our ship card and ID with us. It was for anyone 12 and older if I remember correctly. Bobby and I knew that the start of the 5k is a pretty good ways into the island and didn’t want to waste time going back to the ship after the race, so we each brought backpacks with us so we could go straight to serenity bay afterwards.
We went to the Tube about 9:10 and checked in. We were given a bib and safety pins, and they wrote down our bib and stateroom number next to our bib number and told us to be sure to check in with them after so they didn’t leave anyone out on the course.
People checking in at the table for the race.
We took a seat, pinned on our bibs, and waited. At about 9:25, a cast member got up on stage with a microphone and explained what was going to happen. We were going to walk off the ship together and to the starting point by the bike rentals where there would be a big box to drop personal belongings. We would start the race (water provided on the course) and they went over the route with us on a map up on the big screen. They reminded us to check in after so we could get our finishers medal.
At 9:30 when we were cleared to go ashore, we walked together off the gangway and onto the island. Bobby and I grabbed some towels to put into our backpacks and we followed the group for the 8-10 minute walk to the starting line. We put our bags in the box, and got behind the start line where they went over the map/course one more time.
It was very dark and had started to drizzle a little bit.
I carried Bobby’s phone with me so I could snap some photos. This proved to be difficult because I was so sweaty, but I managed to get a few! I didn’t have high expectations for this race after eating myself into a food coma every day for seven days, but it’s still fun to run with Disney! Soon we were off, and I fell into a steady rhythm.
It rained on us for about two minutes and then stopped. I made it to the first turn and followed the red and white 5k signs.
We ran a bit on the airstrip before making our first turn onto the bike loop. One of the cast members had gone out ahead and set up a water station for us. I didn’t grab water this time, but knew I would when I came through the second time.
Into the loop I went, and this loop for some reason feels like it goes on forever. I’m not sure if it’s because there are so many trees you can’t really see anything or because you run it twice, but it’s not my favorite.
It was weird running, I felt like I was rocking back and forth on the boat and had to really concentrate to keep my balance. I made it out and took a right onto the airstrip. It was nice to be out in the open but man was it hot! No shade, and running on asphalt. I picked off a couple runners, and headed towards Serenity Bay.
Bobby passed me going the other way and we waved. I made it to the Serenity bay turn around, and you are supposed to loop around the cul-de-sac. I got a little frustrated that a couple girls in front of me cut it way short, but then reminded myself this was a fun run. I headed back down the airstrip as people were heading towards the beach to relax and I wished it was me! I grabbed some water at the entrance to the bike loop and headed in again. At about mile 2.3 I had to stop and walk for a minute because the heat was getting to me. I wished at that point I had worn a hat or visor. I chugged along reminding myself I was almost done then I could relax on the beach all day. I finally made it out of the bike loop and headed back towards the finish. I followed the signs and made one last turn and then saw the finish line ahead of me with people clapping! I crossed at 29:00, definitely slower for me but I was proud anyway. I checked in and got my medal before Bobby and I took some pictures.
We chugged some water that was at the finish line, grabbed our bags and headed to the tram stop which happens to be right by the finish line. We made it to Serenity Bay, changed clothes and hit the beach for an amazing and relaxing day.
Here are a few tips I have learned after doing this race 3-4 times that may be useful:
1.) Bring your beach clothes and things with you in a bag or backpack so you don’t have to go back to the ship. You will waste a good 30-45 minutes walking back, showering, and coming back out when you can change and shower at the beach.
2.) Get towels when you get off the ship. I am so glad we did because they did NOT have towels at Serenity Bay and we would have had to go back and get some.
3.) Sunscreen, sunglasses, hat. It’s HOT and there isn’t a lot of shade on the course.
4.) Hydrate! They set up a water stop at the bike loop, but you can also take advantage of the water stops in the bike loop and at the Serenity Bay tram stop
5.) SOMETIMES they have a Disney character waiting at the finish line (didn’t this time, but did last time) so bring a camera or phone to capture the moment!
6.) If you want to see the island but don’t want to run, there is an “island power walk” that leaves just a few minutes after the 5k that you can join in with, or you can always rent bikes.
7.) be sure to look at your finishing time as you cross, it’s on your left up high in a brown box
8.) At the souvenir shop right by the finish they sell 5k finishers shirts. I wouldn’t wait until late in the day to get one in case they run out of your size. I snagged mine right after I finished the race and they had plenty.
(This photo is taken from the start. When you are coming in to the finish, the clock is facing the other way so you can see your time.)
QOTD: Would you want to run this race? Have you ever run in the Caribbean or Bahamas?