A Little More Each Day

One working mama learning to run & to maintain my 100+ pound weight loss!

Belated Race Recap: Castaway Cay 5K April 2013

on December 10, 2013
Another blogger posted a prompt about reviewing your year in running (which I will definitely do) and it made me realize that I had yet to post about one of the 5Ks I did this year that I was the most excited about: the Castaway Cay 5K! When I first started running back in August, I decided to set a goal for myself to run the 5K on our first Disney cruise the next spring. I thought it would help me to have a long term fitness goal along with my continued weight loss goals, so while this wasn’t my first 5K (that was on New Year’s – Commitment Day) this was my first “goal” race.

Our first big family vacation was a 4 day cruise to the Bahamas on the Disney Dream. We’d never done a cruise before and while we’d traveled with O to visit family, we’d never really done a family vacation. After lots of reading and research, we decided that a four day cruise was just the way to start. I really liked the idea that we would be the hands of people who really know hospitality (as demonstrated on our two Disney vacations before O was born) and who had high standards, so I’d feel safe taking O with us. I was also reassured by the fact that he would be in good hands in the nursery on the ship, which meant we could have some grown up vacation time too. I could gush about the entire trip and how it exceeded our expectations in so many ways, but today I’m focusing on the running. I did some running on the deck of the ship (there’s a designated deck for running/walking) which was really nice early in the morning. It didn’t take long to adjust to the sway of the ship and since I was waking up super early on this trip, it wasn’t crowded at all. I did a couple of miles on the first two days of the trip but was most looking forward to running on Castaway Cay.


Castaway Cay is Disney’s private island in the Caribbean and it is gorgeous. Because it is exclusive to Disney (and I’m sure for various complicated legal reasons), it was easy to get on and off of the ship without worrying about passports, etc. The food on the island was all included in the cruise as well, so we didn’t even to worry about bringing money to pay for those things. All around very fun and easy. There are loads of activities (snorkeling, bikes, boating, etc) but we stuck to playing on the beach and the water pad with O and watching crab races.


Backing up a bit, if you’re going to do the 5K, no registration is required. Just watch your daily navigator (the menu of activities you get for each day of the cruise) for the time and place to meet for the 5K on the morning of Castaway Cay day. For us, it was down in one of the adult lounges. One thing to be aware of that threw off a lot of us on my trip – we had to have both our identification and our room key for some reason. Over half of the crowd down there for the 5K had to go back to their rooms for ID because this was a new requirement! The 5K is free to run. You just sign in and get a bib:

Castaway Cay 5K 2013

Castaway Cay 5K 2013

We were the first guests off of the ship, although by the time we all got off (about 50 of us) they were also letting other guests off and my husband and son actually walked with us to the starting line. It is quite the hike from the ship to the starting line – about a 10 minute walk – so don’t worry about warming up! The 5K course starts near the bike rental stand and now has a time clock at the start/finish line so you can see your time if you’d like. There is also a big box you can put a bag of stuff in if you’d like to have your swim clothes right there for changing into after the run (or you could send them with your family). Apparently there is frequently a character at the starting line for a group photo, but that didn’t happen on our trip.

The course takes you down the air strip that leads to the adult beach from the family beach and around a loop of the bike path through the jungle-ish area. You leave the loop to go almost all the way to the adult beach (wow it looked gorgeous) and then come back through the bike loop again and back to the start. There are water stops along the way, which are greatly needed given how warm and humid it is! It’s a very relaxed run for most people – both because of the cruise mentality (really we were mostly there so we could feel good about a second dessert later that night!) and because it is so hot and humid it’s hard to push very hard! There was good mix of runners and walkers, so don’t worry about your pace at all.

It was a lot harder than I was expecting, just because of the heat. My time ended up being 38 minutes (a lot slower than my two previous 5Ks – Commitment Day and Color Me Radd), just because I walked most of the second half. I was soaked with sweat by the time it was over and bought two bottles of water as soon as I finished! I then changed into my swim suit and plunged in the water to cool off a bit. It felt good to start the day with a bit of workout and I’m looking forward to going back and bettering my time – now that I’m in better shape and more accustomed to running longer distances, I think the heat wouldn’t bother me so much.

In addition to my first runDisney race bib, we also got a plastic Mickey medal. It is my very first race medal and I love it! They really aren’t consistent about having those available at the finish, though, with varying reports in the DisBoard threads and other race reports. I’m glad I got one since this was my first “goal” race – even though it wasn’t my first race. There is also a Castaway Cay 5K t-shirt that you can buy near the start/finish point. I had my husband pick one up for me while I was out running because I’d read that they run out of the smaller sizes pretty quickly.


All in all, it was a lot of fun and I saw more of the island than I would have otherwise (sorry no pics of the run itself! I was too hot and tired during the run to take any apparently!). I also had two desserts that night at dinner with absolutely zero guilt. 🙂 I can’t wait to go back and do it all again!

My favorite photo from this vacation - O was tired and mid-tantrum. It makes a perfect picture!

My favorite photo from this vacation – O was tired and mid-tantrum. It makes a perfect picture!

Links for more reading about the Castaway Cay 5K:

Heather’s recap from 2013 has some great pics of the course so you can see what it looks like.

Cruise Critic’s recap

DisBoards Official Castaway Cay 5K thread: very helpful for questions and advice!

DisUnplugged recap: lots of pics

15 responses to “Belated Race Recap: Castaway Cay 5K April 2013

  1. Lauren says:

    That sounds like SO much fun! A Disney cruise and the Castaway 5K are both on my bucket list!! Thanks for recapping :0)

  2. Laura says:

    Love this post, for a number of reasons. The photo of your husband and son is priceless! 🙂 Also, I needed some tropical pictures today, as it is darn cold here and we are awaiting another round of sleet/snow, yuck! My hubby and I are thinking of taking a quick cruise next year to celebrate our 10 year anniversary and I have heard such great things about Disney Cruises. I’d love to go someday and it would be so fun to do a fun race while on vacation. I never thought I would say that it would be fun to run on vacation, but I think I could run all day if I was running near the ocean! Great re-cap!

    • The adult only areas of the Disney cruise were nice enough that my husband and I definitely wished we’d done one before we had a kid. I’d feel guilty doing a Disney cruise without him at this point! It was absolutely fantastic though.

  3. […] I’ve got SIX 5Ks under my belt (Commitment Day, Color Me Radd, Castaway Cay, Midnight Run, NWA Turkey Trot and the Ugly Sweater Run), plus my first 10K and three virtual races […]

  4. […] about my favorite runs with their glorious pictures and scenery (last week’s 8 mile run and Castaway Cay); stocking stuffers (healthy stocking stuffers and stocking stuffers for runners) because it was […]

  5. […] about running in the heat and humidity in the midst of an Omaha winter, but I know from experience (Castaway Cay 5K) how much harder it is to run outside in the heat and humidity, so I want to be prepared. On the […]

  6. […] looked at the runDisney races just out of curiosity as Disney is our happy place and running the Castaway Cay 5K was a very good motivator to keep me running when I’d first started. What better setting than […]

  7. […] The most concerning new development for me is actually the new Castaway Cay challenge. Running the Castaway Cay 5K was actually what kept me motivated when I first started trying to run at 250+ lbs and I really […]

  8. […] the Castaway Cay 5K recap was high on the list of most visited posts and knowing how many blogs I read trying to get more […]

  9. […] after post on the Disney cruise ships so we could plan and discuss tips, etc, I came across the Castaway Cay 5K. We weren’t going on the trip until April, so I decided to set that as my goal – that I […]

  10. […] O & I again for this year). Add to that the 5K I’ve already run, plus running the Castaway Cay 5K again this year and the Jingle Jungle 5K in November and I’ve got already got a minimum of […]

  11. […] or cross-training and I chose the run option since we were at Castaway Cay for the 5K that day. This race is special to me because it was a big part of my motivation to stick with running when I first […]

  12. […] Castaway Cay 5K will always hold a special place in my heart. It was my very first goal race. When I started […]

  13. […] Castaway Cay 5K on the following cruise (more on my prior experiences with the usual 5K here and here) to earn the Castaway Cay Challenge […]

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