I signed up for the WDW Half Marathon very last minute (early December through a travel agent), and was not very prepared for it training wise after being sick for the majority of December. With the 10K the day before, I knew that the half was going to be tough and long no matter what I did, and I was right!
If you read my blog about the 10K, you know that I had to wait 40 minutes to start for the 10K, and I was in corral E. After that, I had no idea how long I’d have to wait to start the half when I was in corral I. The half start was structured a lot more like Wine & Dine with only 2-5 minutes between each corral, which was good since there were 16 corrals! I actually only waited about 30 minutes for the half to start which I was happy with.
Starting out I was already sore and needing to take walk breaks by mile 1. From there I went into the race with the mindset, as long as people keep passing me I’ll be ok! It’s when they stop passing you that you know you’re in trouble.
With the new mindset I had a lot more fun! I focused on getting to the Magic Kingdom and to the characters I wanted to take pictures with. The half has A LOT of spectators throughout the course, which is great encouragement! Not only are they cheering you on, but it’s always fun to see the creative signs they make. With the help of the crowds and knowing the feeling of running down Main Street, I made it to the Magic Kingdom! This is about 4.5/5 miles into the race.
I love Disney races because of all of the pictures I take with the characters on the course. I always buy the photo package, so I purposely stop for as many as I can, and make Shutterfly books for each race weekend. While I have a lot of character pictures, Disney continues to surprise me and adds characters I haven’t seen or stopped for before on course! It literally took me an hour to get through Magic Kingdom because of all of the character lines I waited in! But I did get so many great pictures throughout the day.
Back on the course, I was struggling! My legs hurt and I was having a hard time sticking to longer running intervals. A good thing to know too about this race is the course is VERY narrow. Most of the roads are only one lane. This means if you wait an hour on character lines, you’ll be towards the back of the pack with all of the walkers. This isn’t a bad thing, I was walking a lot too, but know that if you do plan on trying to run, it’s a lot of weaving in and out of people or running on the grass around everyone.
I was really impressed with all of the character stops they added throughout the non-park portion of the course. Again there were characters/costumes I had never seen before, i.e. golfer Mickey! Last year, this was my first race ever; I didn’t stop for any character pictures and don’t remember how many there were to compare to this year, so I was pleasantly surprised this year.
There is nothing like seeing that 13 mile marker and knowing you’re almost there! Disney is extra special for me because you have some of the fab five waiting for you and cheering you on at the finish. I might have even stopped a few feet before the finish line to take a picture with Goofy!
Crossing that finish line is a feeling that never gets old. Whether it’s a 5K or a Marathon, you accomplished a huge feat! You overcame obstacles however big or small, and no one can ever take that away from you. This was my 4th half, and race anniversary, and an overall great experience!
- Running through Magic Kingdom and Epcot
- Running through the Castle!
- Lots of character stops
- Lots of spectators and motivators along the way
- Tight course
- Lots of participants!
- Super early morning start (3:15 wake up call)
- Running on exit ramps (aka hills of death!)
Meredith is a 29 year old living in South Florida. She started her running journey with the 2013 WDW half marathon and has been hooked on RunDisney ever since! You can find her on Twitter @MSchechter1218 and over at her blog, justanordinarygirlinfl.
Have you ever ran back to back races? Do you take it easy the first day so you can push the second? Or vice versa?