Disney, Run Disney, Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 2019 Part 3 – Half Marathon

If you haven’t read part 1 or part 2 of this trip report be sure to catch up at the following links:

Part 1 – Expo and 5k

Part 2 – 10k

I woke again at about 2.30am.  I say woke, more accurately I was startled out of a deep sleep by my alarm, cursed my existence for a minute, and eventually dragged myself out of bed to the sweet embrace of a very early morning diet coke.  The splitting headache had gone away overnight, but I decided if I was going to make it through the next 2 races I really needed to take today’s pretty easily.

The bus left promptly at just before 3.30am, and on arrival I jumped into the short queue to get a pre-race picture with Goofy.

The corrals were much further away from the holding area than the previous races.  I think I’d walked nearly a mile by the time I simply reached the corral.  Steven, Christian, Megan, Leah and I were all in corral C for today’s race so the one hour wait went very quickly.  Megan and I, both with an eye on the marathon the next day, decided to stick together for this race.  I would make us stop for characters to give us a break, and Megan is much more disciplined at pacing than I am which would help keep us at a nice easy pace.  It worked really well!

For the first time this weekend we’d be running through a park not called Epcot.  The course for the half marathon would take us out of the Epcot area, up to Magic Kingdom, through the park, back down the highway and once again finishing in Epcot.

The first three miles or so were pretty dull.  I saw a few characters like Ralph and Vanellope, the old hag from Snow White (fur version, or masked version, really regret not stopping that for that) and various villains but decided none were worth waiting for and I wanted to keep going to Magic Kingdom.  The Contemporary Hotel eventually came into view and once I’d rounded the resort bus stop area I ran through the ticket booths and under the station.  I was running in Magic Kingdom!

Again with the thumbs up, no point messing with the classics I guess.

Running down Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom was probably the thing I was most looking forward to on these runs.  I had run down Disneyland Paris’ Main Street in 2018 but there’s something special about running down Main Street at the Magic Kingdom.  It was still dark, the castle had the Christmas lights on, there was an amazing amount of people cheering us on so early in the morning.  A truly incredible experience and I couldn’t wait to do it again the next morning on the marathon.

This was actually taken slightly later in the race, as we ran through Tomorrowland and Fantasyland before going back through the castle where the photo location was.  

From Main Street it was into Tomorrowland where I stopped for my first character meet of the half marathon – Mike and Sully!

I’d heard that Sebastian from the Little Mermaid may be meeting on the course today, but running past Voyage of the Little Mermaid in Fantasyland there was a Photopass person but no sign of any characters.  I figured he must have been cancelled at the last minute and continued on.  Unfortunately it turned out he was just on break and I had just missed him.  My one regret of this run is not stopping and asking the cast member, I finished so far ahead of the pacing requirement that a ten minute wait for Sebastian wouldn’t have caused any issues.

A few other characters were spotted as the course took me through Magic Kingdom.  I can’t remember them all but from memory I think the Fairy Godmother was meeting near Cinderella Castle and Jessie/Woody/Bullseye were in Frontierland.  My next character stop was for the princes and princesses just as the course went backstage at Magic Kingdom.  Tiana and Naveen were meeting when I got into the line but ended up switching for Cinderella and Prince Charming before I got to the front.

I don’t have much emotional attachment to the film Cinderella, if any, but I have to say it was a really cool shot with the parade float in the background.  And Prince Charming was a new character for me, so the amateur character hunter in me was happy.

The section after Magic Kingdom was the part of the race I was least looking forward to.  A six-ish mile slog back down the highways and other roads until the course went back into Epcot.  Honestly though, it really wasn’t that bad at all.  Megan and I managed to keep a consistent pace of between 10 and 11 minutes a mile, the water and food stops were nicely spread out for breaks, there was fun entertainment along the way including DJs and cartoons and the crowds were really supportive in keeping everyone going.  The only small issues I had were with some of the running groups who would take up way too much of the road, and some sections of the course itself were just a bit too narrow.

Between Magic Kingdom and entering the on stage area of Epcot I stopped for numerous awesome characters.

Chip and Dale in the cutest tuxedos you’ve ever seen.  Unfortunately Clarice, who was meeting with them, hadn’t returned from break when I got a picture.

The Duck power couple!

An Incredible photo op, although Edna Mode is nearly nightmare worthy.

Clarabelle and Horace in front of an awesome, Land inspired photo location.

All the UP! characters you could meet at the time of the race – how awesome would it be if they added Kevin to this next year?!

The last mile or so went pretty swimmingly.  Entering Epcot and being able to run through Future World again gave me such a lift for the last leg of the race.

I’m only sharing this picture because I wasn’t doing a thumbs up.

Don’t worry though normal service was quickly resumed.

I crossed the line in just over 2 hours and 40 minutes, with a moving time of just over 2 hours and 20 minutes.  Not bad for a “taking it easy” run!

It was then of course time for the usual unflattering medal picture.

And I of course had to get a picture with my favourite duck on his race day.

I ended up waiting nearly an hour for this picture.  The winners ceremony started while I was in line and as it was Donald Duck’s race he was involved in handing out the prizes.  Totally worth the wait though, he’s so darn cute.

Like the previous days I won’t dwell too much on the rest of my day.  I had a shower and a rest then finally spent some time in Animal Kingdom – my favourite park at Walt Disney World.  As I had a marathon the next day I was only focused on doing my favourites (Everest, Dinosaur and Flight of Passage for anyone wondering). 

I also ended up meeting Leah and Megan for lunch at Satu’li Canteen in Pandora.  During lunch I also met Lottie, Chelsea, Sarah and Sammy Jayne – always nice to meet online Disney friends in person!

Pandora food.

I ended up going back to my hotel in the early evening, keen to have some dinner and then an epsom salt bath before bed.

I can’t fully remember but I wouldn’t be surprised if I ordered my dinner by shouting “GIMME MAX CARBS” at the people serving in the food court.

We’re nearing the end of the trip report, but not the miles.  Not by a long shot.  The next morning I’d be running as many miles as the past three days and then some.  Sunday was marathon morning.

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