Happy Tuesday, everyone!
Make sure to read the first part of my Marathon Trip Recap!
Runners seriously are a special breed. Our marathon alarm starting going off promptly at 3:00 am, although I decided I wasn’t going to move until 3:15 am. I ended up falling asleep around 10:00 pm the night before, so I got a whopping 5 hours of sleep. My mom got even less. Oh, the joy of Disney races! It all adds to the experience, right?
I think I found my morning motivation.
Before we went to sleep, we set out everything we needed and packed our runDisney plastic bags. We even pinned our bib to our SPIbelt. I definitely recommend that you get as much as possible ready the night before. I don’t know about you, but my brain doesn’t usually work that early!
By 3:30 am, we were out the door and walking over to the monorail at the Contemporary Resort. Since we are Disney Vacation Club members, we use our points to stay at Bay Lake Tower. Marathon morning would not go as smoothly for us if we didn’t. Seriously, stay at the Contemporary, Grand Floridian or Polynesian for the marathon! It will be one of the best decisions you make.
Oh, it’s a jolly holiday with you!
As soon as we got to Epcot, we walked over to the Race Retreat tent to enjoy character meet-and-greats and eat a bagel. The Race Retreat is an extra add-on, but for my mom and me, it is worth it. We ate a bagel and a banana then waited in a short line to meet Mary Poppins, Bert and two penguins.
What happens if you don’t want spend money on the Race Retreat? Don’t worry. Disney still takes care of the rest of the runners. A DJ blasts upbeat music, race photographers take pictures and snack booths are set up (for a purchase).
Heading to the start
By 4:45 am, we were walking towards the start line. Disney definitely isn’t afraid to make guests walk. I think we walked at least a mile before the race even started! All of the walking is just another reason why you should give yourself plenty of time to get to any of the runDisney races.
Disney groups all of the runners into separate corrals; this year runDisney switched up the way corrals are assigned. My mom and I were in Corral H – further back than we usually are. This way seemed to work well, but I did hear some people say they were unhappy. Disney does allow walkers to participate, and even though the announcers go over guidelines, not everyone follows proper race etiquette.
A glimpse of the crowd from Corral H
How many people ran in the marathon, you ask? 26,000 runners participated in the full marathon! A little under 20,000 runners finished. This year, runDisney hosted a 5k (Thursday), 10k (Friday), Half Marathon (Saturday) and Marathon (Sunday). People who chose to run in all of them registered for the Dopey (new this year), and those who ran the half and full marathon registered for the Goofy.
Before the race, we were still jamming out to music. Can you picture What Does the Fox Say with 26,000 people? Too funny! Jeff Galloway, Olympian and runDisney trainer, and Dave McGillvary, the Boston Marathon Director, spoke to us before the race started. I thought it was awesome that Disney invited McGillvary. Obviously, inviting him was great for Disney’s PR, but also he boosted the runners’ morale, or at least mine!
Here we go (off to Neverland, or something like that)
Promptly at 5:30 am, Mickey Mouse welcomed us and sent the first corral (wheelchair athletes) on their way. Disney goes all out for its guests, and runDisney events are no different. Fireworks go off at the starting line for nearly all corrals, and the announcers have fun talking to the runners.
Finally, it was our turn. And, off we ran! It’s crazy how many people willingly participate in these runs. 26,000 people running 26.2 miles? It’s no wonder that runners support each other. There is a great sense of camaraderie, and I love it.
I won’t tell you the details of the race today; that will come in a separate post. But, 4 hours, 46 minutes and 38 seconds later, I crossed the finish line, high-fiving Mickey Mouse along the way! I have never felt so proud of myself or accomplished as I did in that moment. 26.2 miles is no easy task, but I did it!
26.2 miles and still smiling 🙂
Shortly after I crossed the finish line, my mom did! We met up in the Race Retreat tent for a post-race meal. We had eggs, veggie/ham/turkey sandwiches, potatoes, bananas, muffins, and whatever else was there. We also had lots of water and coffee. In my post-race haze, I may have forgotten some things.
We hobbled back over to the monorail to head back to our room.
What did we do the rest of the day? Part 3 of the marathon race recap will come soon!
Thank you for reading! Enjoy your Tuesday, and don’t freeze out there. Right now, it is 0 degrees here and feels like -13 degrees! I think I’ll stay inside today. 🙂