Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Remembering the Disney 1/2 marathon

Browsing through my latest email from Disney today got me thinking about the running the Disney ½ marathon a few years ago.

Over the years, I have run a few large races but the Disney ½ was by far the largest.

I remember getting up at 3:00 AM and not dressing adequately for a surprisingly cold January morning in Orlando.

Then, there was the standing around for 2 hours before the start. Being it was my first time, I road the bus to Epcot verses driving over from the resort. This is one thing that I would definitely change on a future visit.

As race time neared, it was time to make a quick port-a-jon stop. Honestly, Disney knows how to handle large crowds better than anyone. I have never seen that many port-a-jons in place. Even with 14000 people, it took only a few minutes to move through the line.

Next, I dropped off my extra cloths and headed for starting line. Something else to note, there must be at least a 2 mile walk from the parking lot to the corrals. It took close to 20 to 25 minutes. Or it felt like 20+ minutes to me.

Now, the next thing to happen is perhaps the funniest. As race time nears, we all at one time or another have to make that last minute stop. One person is one thing, but what do 14,000 people do.

Fortunately, the sides of roads into Epcot are banked and have a nice grassy area before shrubs and trees begin. People were literally lined up along the edge of the shrubs making that last minute pit stop. I guess this is what is most funny to me.

Because I here at this point have to separate men and women, it is one thing for men to make a quick stop by the edge but for women to me it is something different entirely.

But literally men and women were standing or squatting side by side before jumping up and heading back to their corrals.

It is a sight that I will never forget for as long as live.

Once I settled into my corral, there were a few last minute announcements before Mickey Mouse ignited the fireworks and started the race.

As I remember the first 10 miles were pretty dark. The only exceptions were resort lights, lights in the theme parks, or in the parking lots. I remember running through one section which had no lights and I was not sure where to go.

But the run through Magic Kingdom was really nice. I would do it again just for that experience.

Around 10 miles we were headed back to Epcot where we ran up to the entrance to the worlds before heading back out of Epcot and to the finish. My Donald Duck medal still sets proudly on my shelf. I look at it every couple of days and just smile.

Now I am setting my focus on a new goal - running the Mickey Mouse Marathon. Getting a Mickey Mouse finisher medal is the primary goal but a secondary goal would be winning an age group award in the marathon. 2010 doesn’t look all that promising but in 2011 I will most likely be at the starting line. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

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