One conclusion can be reached by Brooke Adams’ performance at the Dopey Challenge at Disney World in Florida earlier this month.
Sleep is overrated.
The history teacher at Randolph High School yawned her way through a spectacular showing at the unique event, which asks runners to take part in a 5-kilometer event, a 10K race, a half marathon and full marathon on consecutive days.
The idea for taking part in the full four-day competition struck her a year ago.
“Last year I went there and ran the half-marathon and marathon,” Adams said. “I had never raced in that caliber of an event back-to-back. But I noticed there were people that had been there for a couple of days to do the other two races. I said, ‘I want to try that.’ I was inspired by those runners, and a little jealous of them too.”
The spots for the series of races go quickly, but Adams went online at the required time, gave it a little last-minute thought, and hit the enter button on her computer. The cost was $550.
When the race weekend approached, Adams taught school during the day of Wednesday, Jan. 6, and headed for the airport when the final bell sounded.
“I wanted to take as few days off as possible, so I flew in after school on Wednesday night,” she said. “I got to the hotel around 2 a.m., and the bag check was at 4:15.
“The race started at 6. I didn’t get an ounce of sleep.”
No matter. Adams won the women’s overall title, finishing in 18 minutes, 55 seconds.
“I would have run faster if I had some sleep,” she said. “I’ve broken 18 minutes twice. We ran through the park, and it was raining. It made me hesitate just a little bit.”
With one race out of the way, Adams had time to catch up on her sleep. Still, the 10K race started at 5:30 a.m., which even the sun thinks is too early for an appearance.
After the start of the race, Adams recognized one of the other competitors in the lead pack. It was Paula Radcliffe, the women’s world-record holder in the marathon. Radcliffe won three New York City marathons in a spectacular career. Radcliffe ran in Orlando to promote the Disneyland Paris Half-Marathon, which will be staged for the first time this fall. At 42, Radcliffe is not competing with the best in the world any more, but she’s still plenty fast.
Yet Adams beat her. The Western New Yorker finished second overall in 38:59, 21 seconds ahead of the third-place Radcliffe.
“There were a lot of serious people in that race,” Adams said. “I beat her in the 10K at the end of the race. Afterwards, she put her hand out to me. I couldn’t believe it - the world-record holder shook my hand.”
The next day, Adams had sore legs and tired muscles but found enough energy to run the half-marathon. She finished seventh in 1:28:39. It didn’t match Adams’ personal best of 1:22, but she still won her age-group.
Sunday arrived with the toughest test of all, and Adams admitted she was pretty tired by then. She decided to run the marathon with a friend, who started taking breaks to walk at the 8-mile mark. At 17 miles, Adams took off on her own, and finished with a time of 3:27:46.
“The marathon was fun,” she said. “I saw people taking pictures with the Disney characters. I took candies at the water stops. I took advantage of everything Disney had to offer. I figured I might as well enjoy it.”
Then it was off to the plane for the flight home. She was back in the classroom on Monday morning.
“If I can afford it, I’ll think about it,” Adams said.
The Chilly Challenge at Canisius High School has been a February running tradition for many years - and it always has started at noon. This year, race officials have been told by police authorities that the race must begin at 10 a.m. So that’s new starting time for the Feb. 28 event.
• Penguin Run, 5K, 2425 Niagara Falls Blvd.,Amherst, 11 a.m. Sunday, 549-6307 x201.
• Mr. Ed’s Superbowl Warm-Up, 5K, 28 Main St.. Middleport, 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 7, (585) 798-3283.
• Lockport Y-10, 10/5 Miles, 19 East Ave., Lockport, 10 a.m. on Feb. 13, 434-8887.
• Heart & Soul Run, 5K, 701 Seneca St., Buffalo, 10 a.m. on Feb. 13, 440-7507.
• The Superkiss 5K, 257 Franklin St., Buffalo, 11 a.m. on Feb. 14, 830-6713.