Well now it was Saturday at 3am. We woke up once again and got ready for the half marathon. I had taken an extra Powderade the day before at the 10K and it was definitely a great way to start off the morning. Continuing in our Disney “buddies” theme we decided on Mike and Sully from Monsters, Inc.
Today the Epcot parking lot was finally set up the way it had been the year before for the marathon. When we got there we went through bag check. I also noticed a large police presence and a lot of police dogs on hand. Definitely more security was added but that was fine by me. Instead of turning right, where the previous race starts had been, we went straight to bag check. Bag check was set up so that once you went through you couldn’t get back out by the DJ area.
We decided to head over by the DJ, since we had a long time to wait, and get some photos by the marathon sign.
We hung out, danced a little bit, and then headed through bag check over to the start corrals. The start is pretty far away from the staging area so you have to walk for a good 10 minutes with a crowd of people, down a back road. Today and tomorrow we were in Corral L. A big jump from the Corral C we were last year. If the corrals were even 5 minutes apart we wouldn’t start until an hour after the first corral. We waited in line for bathrooms and then headed into Corral L. We found some room towards the front then sat down and waited. Today was the first day that it started to drizzle while we were waiting for the start. Cheryl decided to take off her leg warmers and we each wrapped our phones in them in our running belts in case the drizzle got worse. Luckily it never did and there was no rain at all when we finally moved up to the start line.
This year was the first year they had the talking characters at the start. Usually they just stand there and wave. This year each character counted down until the fireworks went off and they also stayed until every last corral left!
Once we started down the highway toward Magic Kingdom both Cheryl and I were feeling pretty good. Even though we started pretty far back in the corrals we still knew we had a 16 minute mile pace from the last person as a character stop buffer. We knew we couldn’t stop for every character like we had done in previous races, but we could definitely stop for a few. We also had done so many Disney races at this point we decided to only stop for people we had never seen or gotten pictures with before. We bypassed Jack Sparrow and the pirate ship. I thought it was Captain Hook from far away, but the line was long anyway.
Once around the outside of the track we saw Launchpad McQuack from Darkwing Duck and a pretty short line. He was set up next to some race cars so waiting in line we got some pictures.
It was at this point that I decided we should take all our pictures as scary monsters. So we did and most characters joined in!
When I was going through Instagram pictures of other people later I saw that Darkwing Duck had been with him! He was probably getting a break at the time but I would have loved a picture with both of them.
Next we were on the road to the Magic Kingdom. This is always my least favorite part of the course. Running through the gates by the parking lot always has so many people and a band which is nice, but then you get onto a small road toward the Magic Kingdom. One side is left open for traffic so there is not much room for the amount of runners. People wind up running on the grass or on the sidewalks. We got stuck behind a huge group of run/walkers who made snarky comments when I said excuse me and tried to pass. I got to the point where I just yelled “walkers stay to the right!” really loud so they would get the hint. It wasn’t just me either. A few people thanked me as we all passed them by.
Finally we were in the Magic Kingdom running down Main Street. As we went through Tomorrowland we saw Buzz Lightyear and then jumped in line for the Red Queen outside the teacups. As we were waiting though they said she was taking a 5 minute break and we didn’t feel like waiting so we jumped back into the race. By the Winnie the Pooh ride we saw a long line and asked who they were waiting for. They said Pooh but the line was long and he was also taking a break so we continued on.
We saw Donald and Daisy dressed as royalty outside the castle but decided to skip since it is usually the longest line of the race. It was the Donald run anyway so people wanted pictures with him. On the other side of the castle we jumped in for a quick castle photo.
Next we headed off into Frontierland and I started jumping for joy. Tigger was there! He is my favorite so even though it was a decent line we waited. He even tried to growl with us in the photo.
In Frontierland we saw Woody and the Country Bears, but we had taken a while at Tigger so we passed them by. Then leaving the Magic Kingdom they had Cinderella and Prince Charming by their castle parade float (like always) and we passed them by as well.
We headed back out down the highway towards Epcot. It was weird to run this way because the marathon goes off in another direction and I was expecting that, but the breeze down the highway was refreshing. This was the same course as the Princess Half Marathon.
We saw Jack Sparrow by his pirate ship again, but we were so close to the finish we just decided to go until the end. We headed down through Epcot and into the home stretch.
Cheryl again…always smiling haha I love it. We rounded through Epcot, the same way for every race, down into the parking lot to the finish. We finished in 2:53:42 which is slow for us for a half, but we ran/walked the last 5 miles on the huge open highway so that our legs wouldn’t be too tired for the marathon the following day. It was a nice run. It was overcast the whole time and I was so nervous that it was going to start pouring any minute, but we never got rained on!
We got our finisher photo, snack box, checked bag and drinks and headed into the parking lot. The character lines were crazy long except for one so we jumped on not really knowing who it was for. Well it was for Horace and Clarabelle. We got our picture and then got onto the bus back to the hotel.
I would definitely do this race again. The half marathon really is my favorite distance. It’s long enough for people who don’t run to be in awe of it and short enough for runners to not really have to take a break after running it.
22.4 down and 26.2 to go! It’s crazy that after 3 days of running we still had not even ran as far as we would be running the following day in the marathon!