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 - 10k

This was my first “real” day of running. Once again my dad and I arrived pretty early, we hopped on a bus just after 4am and it was cold but not as cold as the previous morning so people were a bit more lively in the pre-race area. My dad made a beeline for coffee as I went off to meet up with my friends for the race.  I was running with my Australian friends, starting in corral A, so I wouldn’t have to wait around as long letting my legs get tired and cold as I did the day before. It also meant that were were dressed up as Anna, Elsa, and Olaf which was super fun and people seemed to really appreciate our outfits.

With the countdown from Rudy and some festive fireworks, we were off! We took the run at an easy pace and stopped for some fun characters. At the first stop a runDisney photographer came up and asked us to stay with the White Rabbit for a picture that would end up on Facebook, but then it never ended up there. Bummer.

We ran, chatted, got some pictures and had a really great time. We didn’t run into too many crowded areas (again we were in the first corral so our experience is different than others) and we finished in 1:09. The course is okay. Not great but just okay and it's very similar to the 5k course. The first 3 miles are pretty much all outside the park on the roads around Epcot.

Characters on the course included:

  • Anna and Elsa - standing on an overpass
  • White rabbit - Just before the bend on the highway outside Epcot
  • Lilo and stitch - Just after the White Rabbit
  • Mushu - China
  • Genie - Moracco
  • Mickey - Boardwalk EPSN Club
  • Tweedles - International Gateway
  • Chip and dale - Epcot West breezeway
  • Large puppets - backstage before exiting Epcot to the finish line.

We got our medals and then went to walk through the Dopey tent but nothing happened there. We just walked through. We weren’t really sure what was going on or how they were verifying the races. We grabbed our snacks and then headed back to our respective resorts to shower and nap.

WDW Marathon Weekend 2015 - 5k (aka the race where my feet went numb)

So as you probably already know because you were either there or read on social media, the 5k was cold. Like really cold. For anyone who has visited WDW when it’s cold, 30 degrees feels waaay colder in WDW than anywhere else. There was wind. There was cold. There was darkness.

My dad and I got ready and headed to the bus around 4:30. We waited for a little bit and then hopped right on and were at the race in no time. We then followed the huddled masses to the main area where normally everyone is dancing, laughing, chatting, and taking pictures but not this time. It looked like a barren waste land in front of the DJ because everyone was huddled around buildings to keep warm.

My dad and I decided to brave the cold in search of coffee and came across the massage tent which they had opened up for people to keep warm in. This was amazing and thank you so much runDisney!!! We never did find that coffee though.

The start of the race was at 6:15 and my dad and I were starting in corral F, the very last corral. We waited until about 6 to go to our corral and then tried to huddle close to others but the wind just whipped into the group and we froze. This year they had changed where the start line was and honestly, I thought it was fine. Lining up there was fine. I don’t really see a large advantage but if runDisney thinks it works better than I’ll defer to their judgment since it didn’t really change my race experience.

Since we had to wait for all the other corrals we didn’t get to cross the start until just before 7 and so it was a very long and cold hour of just standing there. My legs were stiff and my feet completely numb by the time we started. I actually let my hair down to keep the back of my neck warm which is big for me!

When we got to the first mile marker, my feet were starting to thaw as we walked at a fairly fast clip. The best part of the 5k is the sunrise in Epcot. It is just beautiful looking over World Showcase lagoon and seeing the sun peaking up. Beautiful!

Characters on the course included:

  • Princess Atta (It's a Bug's Life) - Before the cast parking lot
  • Daisy Duck - Norway
  • Pinocchio - Italy
  • Chip and Dale - Japan
  • Marie - France
  • Donald Duck - Canada

How cute?!

We didn’t stop for characters, in hindsight I wish I had waited in line for Chip and Dale in Japan but I was just too cold! They changed the course slightly this year and I thought it was nice. No better or worse that the old course that looped us up to the very front of the park rather than through Future World West.

We crossed in 48:51 and then hurried over to our very long bus line. More waiting in the cold. But the bus team assembled and got more buses working on the Pop Century/Art of Animation loop and we never had a problem for another race. Kudos!

WDW Marathon Weekend 2015 - Intro and Expo

Well another WDW Marathon Weekend has come and gone and what a weekend it was! I fell in love with this race weekend all over again and after the marathon I was on cloud nine. I have really found my personal favorite mixture of Disney fun and “real racing” that has me crossing the finish line with a smile on my face.

Let me set up the weekend for you before we jump into it.

I was in WDW January 6-13 and stayed at Art of Animation with my Dad. This is a great resort and I really find it to be a great value. It’s the quintessential Disney resort in that, if you told someone you were going to WDW and staying at a Disney resort, this is what they would picture in their head. I LOVED it! We stayed in the Lion King section and I just loved all the little touches.

I was attempting my 2nd Dopey Challenge, the previous year I had run in the inaugural challenge and came away happy, but exhausted and sick and had sworn I would never do it again. It was just too much. Then an Australian friend from my College Program days who I had run races with saw my pictures and said she wanted to come and run the challenge. The idea of having people to run with made me happy, so there I was signing up again to do 48.6 miles and I’m so glad I did.

This time around I came away much happier with my performance and I’m actually excited to do it again next year should it all work out.

Going into the weekend I my nerves were starting to get the best of me. My final long run/Dopey dress rehearsal had gone great, however, on January 1st I had driven through the night to Boulder, CO to start a new life there and so felt very removed from my final training runs and generally tired from moving. As I was unpacking my boxes, I was already dreading having to repack for race weekend.

However, as always happens, I got there and was totally ready to tackle the weekend. My plan was to walk the 5k with my dad, jog/run the 10k and half with my Australian friends and then depending on how I felt on marathon day, maybe race it, but knowing that Dopey can be draining, I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself.

So with that let’s get to the expo!

Expo

runDisney has got this weekend down pat. It’s grown a lot since my first marathon back in 2011 and there have been some road bumps but this year ran like butter, in my opinion. I know there are disasters for some people at every race weekend, but for me, it went so well. They are still trying to figure out the best way to prove that a person fully ran a challenge but I applaud their efforts to try new things.

Buses were running frequently, the expo floor felt more open and less crowded and bib pick up was fast and efficient.

I had flow in late Tuesday night, so my dad and I decided to take an easy morning and go to the expo Wednesday afternoon. We were in no real rush and there was no merchandise that we were “do or die” about. We arrived sometime between 12:30 and 1 and went and got our bibs quickly. I printed my waiver and picked up my bib and maybe took 15-20 min total, that place is big and there is a lot of walking. I then had to go downstairs to get my t-shirts which was new this year. Usually they put all t-shirt pick-up in the main expo but Goofy and Dopey challenge participants (maybe other too?) picked up their goodie bags and any pin pre-orders in the same building as the bib pick-up. Again, super quick and easy.

We went over to the main expo, got my dad his 2 shirts and then quickly grabbed an “I Did It” Dopey shirt and a runDisney wine glass (which I love). Neither of us were really looking for anything else that day so we did a quick lap and then left. In totally we were at the expo for maybe an hour.

I did end up going back the next day to grab a couple things to complete some running outfits/extra layers but it was not too crowded and everyone was extremely efficient.

Great job runDisney!

Let's get to the races: