To cap off an amazing girl’s weekend, we were all registered to run the half marathon. As part of my Marathon training, I needed to get 20 miles in for the day. Between the 5k, parks & half we were on schedule to exceed that.
After carb loading at Epcot and riding the “mountains” at Magic Kingdom, we rested our feet in the hotel before heading to the start line. I put on my Chef Mickey running costume to match my friend, Kierstn’s Chef Minnie costume, and we were off to the buses.
This was my first Run Disney race that started at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. We met up with several friends for photos and chatted. I got to meet my Instagram running buddy, Shannon, and this was her first half.
But then (dum, dum, DUMM) the weather changed drastically in minutes. The wind picked up and there was lightening in the area. The DJ announced that we had to evacuate indoors to the Field house.
Our little running pack buddied up and we made our way to the field house and found a spot to hang out.
(I know you thought you’d be reading about the race by now…but we thought we’d be running it by now too!)
We hung out for about an hour with no information and everybody wondering what was going to happen. Speculation was crazy at this point. I’m so glad that I met up with Shannon so she could have friends to stick with!
When we finally got the “OK” to head to the corrals, we got the information we were all wondering about…they cut the race by 6 miles! It was basically the Animal Kingdom park portion that they cut. I felt bad for Shannon since it was her first half.
The shortened course still had plenty of Run Disney magic. The characters were still out in full force and volunteers were plenty. My favorite part was how they moved the Cliff gels to mile 2! You had to laugh about the situation.
By far the best part of the race was the Osborne Family Light Show in Hollywood Studios. Prior to the lights, the course felt like constant twists & turns. Then we turned the corner and saw the amazing lights! They were incredible. I’ve never seen so many lights. Since this was the final year for the show, we took tons of photos and truly enjoyed it. We even found the hidden Mickey!
After the lights, it was a quick exit to the Boardwalk area and then straight into Epcot. The crowd support picked up from guests waiting at the after party. The course cuts through Innovations in Epcot and then finished in the Epcot parking lot. It was such a hot & humid night, that I was happy to be done.
Usually I interval with a run/walk. But since the course was cut short, we decided that we’d stop for character photos and not interval. I felt pretty good that I could still run past 3 minutes (wink)!
In the finish area, we picked up our medal, changed and grabbed our complimentary glass of wine or beer (OK- maybe that’s built into the race cost. But I like to think it’s a bonus).
Kierstn & I headed to the Epcot after-party to celebrate with some girly cocktails and champagne from France. Erin from Love Disney Running passed along a great tip about official merchandise being sold at a World Showcase shop. We popped in and scored several Run Disney race banners! I don’t care that they said 13.1 when I ran 7.1 miles.
We walked/ran a total of 23 miles that day. It was exhausting, eventful and fun. I think I prefer Run Disney’s morning races, but it was a nice change for a girl’s weekend. The after-party was a fun way to celebrate with fellow runners & enjoy Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival.
Immediately following the race, social media exploded with tons of criticism towards Run Disney’s decision of cutting the course.
It was a smart thing to do. When I signed my life away in my waiver, I agreed that Run Disney will do everything in their power to keep me safe and I give them the right to change anything or cancel with no refund. I’m thankful the race wasn’t canceled and I felt safe as a Run Disney racer. My only critique is the communication, I wish they could mass text sent to runners with any updates. There’s so much speculation, it’s hard to find the truth when you can’t hear an official announcement.
Overall, it was a memorable race that I will never forget. It was my favorite “half of a half” Run Disney event and I’ll still rock my race shirt with incorrect 13.1 mileage. Besides, what happens at Disney on a girl’s trip, stays at Disney. Nobody at home will know I didn’t run 6 of those miles.