THS teacher running at Disney to honor mother

Published 11:35 am Thursday, August 14, 2014

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – When Thompson High School English teacher Beth House saw the lineup of races at the 2015 Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World, she admitted it seemed daunting.

On the first day of the event, House and her husband, Mike, will run a 5K, followed by a 10K the second day. The third day will feature a half-marathon and the final day will feature a full marathon.

“It’s a lot,” House said with a laugh, noting she and her husband ran in one of the races last year, but not the entire Dopey Challenge. “We decided we wanted to do the full challenge this year.”

But for House, the daunting challenge of racing dozens of miles a day for four days is worth it. In the months leading up to the races, House is looking to raise $2,500 to support the Breast Cancer Research Foundation in honor of her mother, Mary Lou Williams, who currently is battling breast cancer for the second time.

“We decided to go with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation because they use 91 cents of every dollar they receive to fund breast cancer research,” House said, noting the Foundation is allowing her to earmark the money she raises to fund cancer research at UAB Hospital in Birmingham.

To prepare for the challenge, the Houses will start training extensively on Sept. 7 using a program developed by famous marathon runner Hal Higdon.

“We ran our first marathon in March, so that was a start,” House said, noting she and her husband have been active runners for years. “Hal Higdon actually has a training plan specifically for the Dopey Challenge that goes in weekly increments leading up to the event.”

House said the training program’s major focus is on running several miles a day for many days in a row to simulate the three-day Dopey Challenge.

“We are excited that we can run in this race while raising money for a good cause at the same time,” House said.

To donate to the House’s fundraiser to combat breast cancer, visit

Beth and Mike House with their daughter. (Contributed)

Beth and Mike House with their daughter. (Contributed)