Today Pip and I visited 4 Disney Theme Parks, met countless Disney characters, got heaps of new souvenirs, had a whole lot of fun and took a truckload of photos. We had so much fun that I nearly forgot that we did it all while running the Walt Disney World marathon. I’ll start at the beginning…
The alarm sounded at 3am for the 4th day in a row. Finally, marathon day was here. Pip and I got dressed in our matching Minnie Mouse running outfits, pinned our race numbers to our skirts for the last time, and headed downstairs to our cab, which we had booked for 4am.
Traffic was bad heading to Epcot for the marathon due to all of the road closures. The journey took us about 50 minutes. By the time we got there, it was time to head straight to bag check and drop off our jumpers, and head to the start line.
Just like yesterday, the walk was about 2km from where we were dropped off. Today, we arrived at the corrals with plenty of time. I was in corral C and Pip was in corral D, but we wanted to run together, so I dropped back into corral D so we could start together.
We were the 4th corral of 16. I felt sorry for the people in the back corrals, who would probably be there for the next hour.
The American national anthem played, and fireworks lit up the sky. At 5:30am, the first corral set off. We were not far behind them.
I was determined to enjoy the run today. I wanted to enjoy the music, the sights, and take as many photos as possible. Within the first couple of kilometres we had already passed a few marching bands.
We were headed towards Magic Kingdom. On the way, I got chatting to a man who was ‘perfectly 21’. That is, he had run all 21 of the previous Walt Disney World marathons. He had also run over 370 marathons in total. Amazing.
As we rounded the corner of Magic Kingdom into Main Street, the view was spectacular.
We turned right and headed through tomorrowland, and past the tea cups. They had not started running yet. In the Walt Disney World marathon, they run some of the rides, and you can stop mid-race and take a ride. Unfortunately, they don’t start until 9am, so we were too early.
We ran through the castle, and soon got our first photo opportunity: with Snow White and Rapunzel. We joined the queue, which moved quickly, and soon we were on our way again.
Not long after, we saw our next photo op: Mary Poppins.
And a couple of kilometres later, Donald Duck and Goofy:
We continued running, and soon came to the Walt Disney World speedway. We ran a lap of the track. It was lined with fast cars, and all the members of the corvette club lined the sidelines to cheer us on too.
The sun was rising. As we left the speedway, I could hear ‘Bad to the Bone’ playing in the distance. As we approached the next photo station, I saw why. 6 of disney’s ‘baddies’ were lined up for another photo op that we couldn’t resist.
As we approached the next theme park that we would run through, Animal Kingdom, there was another photo opportunity that we couldn’t resist: Mickey Mouse in his safari suit.
I had no idea how fast we were running and I really didn’t care. I was enjoying all of the sights. The monorail beeped as it drove by overhead. We walked through all of the aid stations, smiling and thanking all the volunteers.
Next, the course wound through the ESPN wide world of sports complex. We ran a lap of the running track, and a lap of the baseball stadium.
We then ran through Hollywood Studios.
There were more photo ops here too, with Mrs Incredible, and Mike and Sully from Monsters, inc.
We also got to run past some of the workshops that design the costumes.
We left Hollywood Studios, and ran around the boardwalk to Epcot. The race was nearly over.
We could hear the finish line long before we could see it. It looked the same as it had the last three days, but this time, it sounded louder, and crossing it definetly felt better. 4 hours 14 minutes… We didn’t break any speed records today, but I do think I well and truly smashed the record for the number of photos I have taken in a race.
We collected our finisher medals, and then had to proceed through a tent where our photos were checked to make sure nobody else had run any of the 4 races for us. Once we were cleared, we were given our goofy medals (for completing the marathon and a half challenge) and our dopey medals (for completing the 5k, 10k, half and full marathons).
It was such a fun atmosphere. We stayed around the finish line for another hour or so, taking photos and chatting, before catching the shuttle back to our hotel.
Coming to Disney World and running this race has been a great experience, and so has sharing it with Pip. I will be glad to cross this one off my bucket list. Coming from Australia, it obviously can be a bit expensive, so I am not sure if I will have the opportunity to do it again, but I would certainly reccommend it, especially for Disney buffs, or someone looking to do their first marathon that wanted a fun, no pressure event. It does not feel like a race at all.
I would also urge everyone considering doing a Disney event to think about the Dopey challenge. It was not as hard as I thought it would be, it was so much fun and the medals are awesome!
Dressing up is a must too, we got so much extra encouragement, comments from other runners and shout outs from the announcers because of our costumes.
We fly home tomorrow…. Hopefully the excess baggage from our medal haul is not too expensive!