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Training pays off for Goofy runner

Red Wing native Cara Judd shows off one of her medals from the Goofy Challenge, which took place at Disney World from Jan. 12-13 in Orlando, Fla. Judd finished the half-marathon in 2 hours, 7 minutes, 29 seconds, and completed the marathon in 4:27:54. Photo by Rebecca Rudolph

Although the concept of running a marathon and a half, a total of 39.3 miles, for leisure may seem goofy, a Red Wing native said running the Goofy Challenge at Disney World was fun.

"I would recommend it," said Cara Judd, the co-owner of Andy's Sports Bar and Grill and a Goofy Challenge participant. "It was really fun. I had a blast."

Judd said what made this run enjoyable was the uniqueness factor that Disney included. The running course meandered through the Disney parks, the training camp for the Atlanta Braves, a race track and more. Disney characters were also at every turn to encourage runners and provide photo opportunities. She said that it did not register with her how far she had run because there was so much support and energy in the running environment and so much to look at.

The first time she made the venture to Florida was two years ago to run the half marathon with her sister, and at the time, "Florida sounded like a fun place to go in the middle of winter," Judd said.

This year was Judd's second time participating in a Disney run. At the end of each run, participants receive medals to commemorate their experiences.

"I run the races for the bling," laughed Judd as she held her three softball-sized medals.

Judd said that when she started running a little more than two years ago that she was barely able to finish a mile. Running 39.3 of them is "the biggest thing I've ever done. I'm pretty proud of myself," said Judd.