WDW Marathon Weekend 2016 - Half Marathon

WDW Marathon Weekend 2016 - Half Marathon

Let's go on a 13.1 mile magical journey and finish the 3rd race in the Dopey Challenge. I took lots of character pictures and just had a blast and ran easy. WDW Half Marathon 2016 here we come!

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WDW Marathon Weekend 2015 - Marathon and Dopey Finish

Day 4, here we go!

Woke up feeling tired but had taken it super easy the day before so my legs felt tired but not worn out and I was ready to run this marathon. I had already decided that if my body felt good in the first 5 miles then I would take it up a notch and really try to race this bad boy. It had been awhile since I had set a course PR here and I wanted to see what I could do.

This was my 5th time running this marathon and my experience and increased endurance showed this time around. But I’ll get to all that.

Woke up, threw on my clothes and was on a bus just after 4am. Met up with my Australian friends and we made our way to the corrals. It was chilly but a good running temp (~50) and I was excited to run. We got into corral E and chatted and stretched until it was time to go. Carissa and Rudy were great announcers as always as we impatiently waited for our turn. We were in corral E again and they efficiently moved through the corrals and we were sent off about 10 minutes after the official clock time.

The beginning of the course is the same as the half marathon and the characters in this part were identical to the day before. I decided I was feeling good so I said goodbye to my friends around mile 2 and kept going. Made it up to the castle and it was just as beautiful, really it never gets old.

We then wound around seeing similar characters out as the half and then were back out on the roads. We made our loop around the race track (which is super cool) and then started the journey to Animal Kingdom. It was around here that my legs started feeling sore but not sore enough to slow me down, so I grabbed some Tylenol to help my . We looped through that park and then started the slightly longer journey to Wild World of Sports (WWoS) where it is endless looping. They fit about 2.5 miles into WWoS and you just… keep… running around. It’s a bit nutty. During this part I got some pics with characters I'd never gotten before.

We finally broke free of WWoS and made our way to Hollywood Studios and the final stretch of the race. I LOVE the final miles of the WDW Marathon. I would go as far as to say it’s the BEST last 5k of any marathon I’ve ever run. You run through the studios, then the Boardwalk/Beach/Yacht area, and then through Epcot. People are cheering the whole way and there are so many distractions and it’s just great and gives you a nice burst of adrenaline to kick it up for the last stretch.

My legs were tired but not completely gone so I just kept pushing, I was on pace to come well under 4 hours and I was thrilled about that. I was about to SMASH my previous course PR of 4:11. The final mile turned into my victory lap. Picked up some magic from the Fairy Godmother just before mile marker 25, waved to the crowed, waved to the pricesses, grabbed a hug from Duffy, and then set off on the last .25 mile or so to the finish!

We wove through the final turns and there it was, the finish line. I was ecstatic. I ran across with a goofy looking grin with an official time of 3:48:22.  I had not only set a new PR but done so by 23 minutes and beaten my previous Dopey marathon time by a little over a half hour. Crazy!

I had a blast at the marathon this year. Not only did a set a course PR but stopped for pictures and really just had a blast out there. I really fell in love with the WDW Marathon course all over again and also felt invigorated by completing the Dopey Challenge on such a strong note. I really proved to myself how far I’ve come this year and a little bling never hurt either.

The Dopey Challenge is a uniquely challenging experience and, I think I’m hooked. Last year’s Dopey Challenge left me drained but this year I faced the challenge as a stronger more confident runner and LOVED it. I cannot wait to push myself further next year and do it again!

Cheers until next time runners!

WDW Marathon Weekend 2015 - Half Marathon

I woke up ready to run! I was so ready to be unleased from the Epcot area routes from the previous 2 days and actually go somewhere. I felt like a bird that was ready to fly! Get me to the castle pronto!

My legs were starting to get a little tired but it was the 2 previous early mornings that were sucking most of my energy. Today’s plan was similar to the ay before. Enjoy the run and stop for pictures when we wanted to.

For anyone that hasn’t run the WDW Half Marathon or Full Marathon or the Princess Half Marathon, be aware there is a walk (~.3 miles) to the actual corrals. The path to get to the corrals can be pretty crowded too so it can be a slow pace. Give yourself time. Also, there are LOTS of port-o-potties once you get over to the corral area. That’s the one thing runDisney does really well. They have port-o-potties EVERYWHERE! It’s a runner’s dream.

Anyways, back to it. We walked over to the corrals made one potty stop and then headed into corral E. I had tried to figure out how quickly the early corrals would be released but couldn't really find the information so I figured maybe every 5 minutes. I was wrong, it was closer to 2. We were released about 10 minutes after corral A.

This course has become very familiar to me, you run around Epcot on the roads and then up to the Magic Kingdom, going through the parking toll booths, and then through the TTC parking lots. This is where the characters usually begin. (See below for a “complete as I can remember” list of characters)

Once you run through the TTC you run up the roads, under the water bridge that connect Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake, pass the Contemporary, and enter the backstage areas of MK just after mile marker 5 (ps the largest building in the back of that area is where the outdoor ice cream carts get their ice cream, imagine all the Mickey Bars back there!). You enter the town square near Tony’s and then turn right up Main St. BAM! The castle in all its icicle/frost/frozen glory. So beautiful.

Once you run up Main St you take another right, over the bridge to Tomorrowland and then hang a left into Fantasyland. Through the castle and then another right into Liberty Square. Through Fronteirland and then backstage where there is usually a parade float (now an old parade float) and a water stop. You then head back out onto the roads passing the Polynesian and the Grand Floridian and then take those roads back to Epcot. A quick jaunt up to World Showplace and then back out to the parking lot (passing the gospel choir) for the finish!

Characters on the course:

  • Jack Sparrow and Capt Barbossa – Pirate Ship set up as you run to the Magic Kingdom toll booth
  • Vanellope and Wreck-It Ralph – Magic Kingdom parking lot (near race track)
  • Jack Skellington and Sally – Magic Kingdom parking lot
  • Queen of Hearts – MK near Tea Party
  • Mime Thug (Tangled) – Near Winnie the Pooh
  • Anna, Elsa, and Kristoff – On Castle balcony
  • Louis (Princess and the Frog) – Liberty Square across from Hall of Presidents
  • Woody – Frontierland Country Bear Jamboree entrance (I think)
  • Mary Poppins, Bert, and Penguins – Grand Floridian
  • “Bachelors” – Across from the wedding pavilion
  • Golfing Goofy – Golf Course (I believe Mickey and Donald also made appearances)
  • Genie, Abu, and the Carpet – Past hotels on the way back to Epcot where parking lot roads merge
  • Army Men – Turn around point before coming into Epcot parking lot
  • Phineas and Ferb – Epcot near Innoventions

We ran it in 2:18 and enjoyed every minute. The half marathon distance is nothing to sneeze at but we chatted and laughed and had a great time out there and that’s what it’s all about!