I have packers in my house and a husband breathing down my neck to clean my office, but I have thoughts about the weekend I want to get out before I forget!
Here’s my 2017 Walt Disney World Marathon weekend recap.
2017 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Recap
The only thing I heard about this race was the very long character lines. Like stupid long lines.
This makes sense because the race isn’t timed (unless you are a Dopey runner) and most runners use it as a picture-palooza opportunity. Overall, the weather was good, the race was run well, and not too many complaints.
I got into town early enough to run this one. I wasn’t sure I should since the half was going to be iffy as hell for me (hello, super undertrained but I promised a friend I’d be on the course with her) and putting 6.2 miles on the legs before the race might not have been smart.
But my rationale went like this:
- I’ve never run Minnie, and I loved the medal.
- On challenge weekends, my first race is always terrible- but the second one always goes much better. So maybe this was actually the smarter plan. Get a shake out run and a feel for how things would go on Saturday. Why not do the usual 19.3-mile challenge I’m used to? This was a stretch, I’ll admit, but reason #3 was the decision maker.
- The weather. Saturday looked ugly. We’d be running in the rain, and I’m sooooo not a rain runner. My feet are prone to blistering on a good day, so I knew I’d be hurting quickly on that race if it was wet. I wasn’t sure I’d actually finish just because I’m a weather wimp, so I wanted to have something I could complete for sure.
So I ran Minnie.
The course is one I know from Princess, so no surprises there. But in true Marathon weekend fashion, the best characters were out there.
My favorite picture was the one with Colonial Donald, Mickey, and Goofy. And of course, it’s lost in cyberspace.
Help me, Photopass Photographers, you are my only hope!
ETA: YES! They came through- thank you Photopass!
My new favorite race picture & stop.
All three together at once in front of America? While I’m wearing a Team Cap shirt?
God bless the USA. And Photopass.
But seeing Pooh and Tigger at the end was also a fun stop. I do love that silly ol’ bear!
And of course, the Boardwalk sunrise did NOT disappoint.
The race was great as far as crowding and weather and characters. And of course, running with friends makes every mile magical!
Oh boy. Where do we start?
First of all, I’m giving the biggest of high Mickey 4s to the runDisney staff. I don’t think they have ever canceled a race, which tells me that they really, really want to give the runners what they came for. Races have happened in sleet, cold, heat and driving rains.
So a canceled race is a BIG deal.
But it was the right thing to do. And as you guessed, I heaved a huge sigh of released and was glad I would remain dry the next day.
I’m just being honest here. With everything going on in my life, taking a night to play in the Magic Kingdom with friends and sleeping in the next day was probably the best form of magic for me. We put on the yellow shirts and made the most out of the situation.
And when the storms started up with some wicked lightning, wind and rain, I fell asleep after midnight content that all was right in the racing world. The volunteers and staff members who would have to be out in that setting up for us were all home safe and dry, and that mattered more to me than trying to earn a medal.
When I woke up to social media talking about how they ran anyway, I was pissed.
Yes, pissed. Because I felt like the runners essentially did the entitled thing that we are often accused of in the runDisney community: they ignored what they were told to do for their safety and ran anyway.
My roommates did what President-Elect Trump’s people can’t do: they took my Twitter away before I started ranting.
But as the morning went on, I watched what was going on. I learned more about the decisions being made and the logistics that were in place, and as the storms moved farther away, I began to see things in a different light.
The DIY Half Marathons going on all around property were pretty cool. I was inspired watching the CMs out cheering people on, makeshift water stops being staffed by fellow runners and folks who got out there to be “character stops” in their running costumes.
Runners: you are pretty cool people. I have a few stories of the runners who got out and got their miles in coming later in the week, and I can’t wait to share their perspectives on the day.
And then of course: everyone has an opinion on if this “counts” if you actually earned a medal just because you completed the miles. Or if you didn’t earn your challenge medals because you didn’t complete the miles.
My opinion: you are a real runner if you were smart and completed the miles in a safe manner. You are also a real runner if you were smart and took the day off to rest your legs so you could crush marathon. This race was a no-win for everyone (literally, NO ONE WON THIS RACE because it never happened!) so let’s just support each other as runners should do.
I got up, put on about 17 layers of clothing, and took my friend, Alicia, to the start line of her first full. She was going to kill it! (spoiler- she totally did!)
Then I headed over to the VIP area (because she’s kinda a big deal) where my boss and bad ass Dopey runner Sarah was hanging out before her race.
She was one of the DIY Donald runners the day before and was hoping to finish this marathon strong. (spoiler- she totally did!)
Finally, I made my way over to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Team in Training tent to hug on Julia.
This girl is one of my favorite runners ever. She raised a ton of money and put so much training into this moment: she was going to be a marathoner this day. (spoiler alert: she totally was!)
After this, we were all about spectating!
I was happy NOT to be running, but I also have to admit I had some fond memories going on about how the whole marathon experience makes you feel.
We stayed at mile 14 until our last runner made it past, then we hopped over to Epcot to see the finishers come through. We watched until the last runners crossed our paths in Mexico.
It doesn’t matter how slow you went- you completed 26.2 hard miles. Enjoy the feeling of accomplishment because it certainly is one.
Despite what the drunk jerk walking around Epcot mocking the back of the pack had to say. Oh, yeah, Mr. Two Beers is quite the big man with his calls of, “Nice walking! Way to WALK!” to the folks who were finishing around 12:30 pm.
Hey guy, don’t be a douche. No one needs that.
Okay, that’s what happened. I ran a little, I froze a little, I lost my voice a little and I laughed a lot.
runDisney, thank you for the fantastic weekend!