Posts Tagged by Walt Disney World Marathon

Handing Out Medals at the Walt Disney World Marathon

Volunteers are what make a race actually run.  Disney’s VoluntEARs take it to a whole different level!  They get up even earlier (hard to believe!) than the runners and are often time on their feet for much longer.  I’ve you’ve read this blog for a while, you know that I LOVE the VoluntEARs and owe many of my race finishes to them.  The positivity, enthusiasm and encouragement mean so much to all of us runners.  This year, Amy VoluntEARed during the Walt Disney World Marathon and had the coveted job of giving out medals.  Here is her behind the scenes story…super cool!

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There they are. At the end of the course. Those big, beautiful, shiny medals. You earned one! But, did you ever wonder how they get there? Well, I like to say that it’s a pinch of Disney Magic and a handful of Volunteer Magic! Here’s what we VoluntEARS do before you are even awake!

Before you can go volunteer at the Marathon, you have to pick up your credentials at the Expo. You check in with a volunteer, sign waivers and are given your credentials, a bag, a lanyard and a letter that you exchange for a free park ticket at the end of your shift.

On the night of our shift, we arrived at Blizzard Beach around 1:45 am for a 2:00 am shift. After parking, we threw on a bunch of layers (it was COLD!), got our bags checked by Security and headed in to the tent.

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First, you check in at the computer, where your badge is scanned. Then, you are given a windbreaker. After that, you are given a large Ziploc bag and are able to choose your snacks. I chose Lay’s, Oreos, cheese crackers, Nutri-Grain bar, an Uncrustable and a bottle of water.

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Once we finished these tasks, we went out the back and put on our jackets and took a moment to rearrange our bags.

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If you need a pottie, there are ones here for you to use.

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Next, we found our bus – our credentials said we needed Bus #1 – 7. We ended up on Bus #2, a nice charter bus. When the bus was full, we began our journey to the Finish Line. Our bus actually crossed over the overpass under which the corrals are located, and followed the route (backwards) that runners use to get to the corrals.

We were dropped off behind Gear Check at the pre-run staging area and disembarked. We were led to a large tent that had hot chocolate and coffee! Since I couldn’t feel my feet, the hot chocolate was a very welcome perk (one that not all volunteers get!)

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All the Medal volunteers met near the Simba Flag (as instructed on our badges). Our Team Leader, Patrick, had us gather round so that he could introduce himself. He had his “Senior VP of Illuminations” – some guy with a light stick – walk us to the Medal Area at the finish line.

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While we were walking, Patrick grabbed my Hubby, dubbed him “Senior VP of Accounting”, and asked him to do a headcount when we got to the Medals Area (right next to the Med Tent). I could tell already that this Team Leader was gonna be a good one.

Once at the Medals Area, “Senior VP of Accounting” turned in his head count and we gathered around again. Patrick had a bullhorn, which was so great – some team leaders are very quiet! A runDisney staff member (I’m gonna call him Tom since I never got his name) stopped by and explained the RIGHT way to unbox medals. (We did medals at Tower of Terror, and it was CRAZY-HORRIBLE how people did them).

Each box had 3 bundles of 25 medals zip-tied together. We were supposed to take out one bundle, find the center (where all the lanyards were connected), then, standing over a trash can, take all the plastic wrappers off of the medals. Once the plastic was off, we would walk over to the medal stand and place the entire bundle onto a peg without removing the zip-tie. If you did it right, the medals would all be pointing the same way and look show-ready. If you did it wrong, the medals would be a mess and you’d have to go back and straighten out the entire pile. Most people did it right, so there wasn’t a lot of fixing to do.

After they were hung, the “Senior VP of Scissors” – me – came around and cut off the zip-ties. I actually just handed out scissors to anyone who asked for a pair, so half the group hung while the other half cut. We started hanging around 2:45 and we were totally done by 3:45. We had a really bad-ass group of voluntEARs this time! Oh, a little math on those medal racks – 12 medal racks. 6 rows per rack. 10 pegs per row. 25 medals per peg. EIGHTEEN THOUSAND medals were hung up. In an hour.

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After breaking down the empty boxes that we’d used, we were given a 15-minute break. A small group of people were sent to the Bonus Tent to hang up Goofy and Dopey medals. I used the break to hit the pottie behind the Med Tent and discovered something I never knew about Disney’s potties – there is a coat hook on the door! Way up at the top, there is a little metal hook – who knew?

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Anyway, when I was done, I went back to the Medals area, where everyone was standing around, drinking coffee or snacking. At this point, there was LITERALLY nothing to do. Tom came back and said that he was genuinely shocked at how quickly we put everything up. We all kind of just stood around and chit-chatted. The DJ at the pre-race area was pumping out music. People were really starting to fill up the Race Retreat (the smell of bacon was infuriatingly delicious!)

Lots of the other volunteers were huddled at the fence between Medals and the Med Tent – some of them even curled up on the cold pavement and fell asleep.

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Some of the volunteers spent extra time perfecting how the medals were hung – especially the front of the rack, the part the runners see when they come in. I ‘borrowed’ the relative warmth of the med tent to add a layer – adding a fleece quarter-zip brought me up to FIVE layers. I was still cold. Luckily, when I had unrolled the fleece top, the hand warmers and gloves that I tucked in to the fleece fell out – I’d completely forgotten about them! It helped a little, but not a whole lot.

At 5:30ish, you could hear the announcers at the start line start to announce corrals. The energy was high and it was great to hear all the corrals go off.

The Kiddo and I (like many other voluntEARs) borrowed wheelchairs from the med tent to sit in, and soon she was zooming around having wheelchair races with some other voluntEARs.

Tom, Patrick, Hubby and I were gathered around, trying to keep track of which corral had just left when Tom showed me something really cool regarding the fireworks they shoot off at each ‘start’. Most runners (even I) never look behind them, but there is a large firework that goes off BEHIND the final corral, as well as the fireworks that shoot off at and near the start line. You can see in the photo how much space there is between the front and the back!

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After the final corral (P) had taken off, I made my prediction (I do this at every race) that the first finisher would come in around 2:20.

Now the DJ is playing at the Finish Line, trying to ramp up the handful of people that had already made their way to the bleachers. I had to give him credit – he did the DJ Thing of turning down the music and getting the crowd to sing, but no one in the crowd was warm enough to sing back (at least, that’s how it seemed from our end). It was like “I throw my hands up in the air sometimes, singing….. “ It was kind of funny.

This cool horse-trailer pulled up soon after that, and we joked that the finisher would ride out on a horse, but a while later the top opened and a Jumbo-Tron popped out! Oh, man I need one of those for my backyard!

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When we heard that the wheelchair racers were about 5 miles away, 12 of us were lined up in a V-formation, each with a few medals. Our shift was almost over, but we would be able to give out a few at least.

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I was able to give a medal to the 2nd place Wheelchair finisher, David, bib# 20001. The Kiddo gave a medal to one of the Wheelchair finishers, but further down the chute, he actually gave it back to one of the other voluntEARs because he’d already been given one closer to the finish line.

The first runner, Fredison Costa, finished in 2:18:06 – I was REALLY close with my guess! The second and third place finishers came in within 5 minutes of the winner, so it was a pretty close race.

Sadly, at this point, it was time for a shift change, so we passed our medals off to the new voluntEARs, gathered our bags and got in line for Patrick to sign off on our badges. If your Team Leader doesn’t sign off on your badge (which is proof that you worked), you don’t get a ticket back at the voluntEAR tent.

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We hiked back to the bus and collapsed – we were so tired! It took a while for the bus to get out of the area, due to lots of other buses coming IN to the area. We drove out past the Center for Living Well Family Pharmacy and what looked to be a Cast Member entrance to Epcot.

Back at the Volunteer Tent, we checked in again with our badge and traded in our letter (that we got on Saturday at the Expo) for a FREE One Day, One Park pass. For the first time, it has blockout dates – we’ll be unable to use it from Christmas Day to New Year’s Eve.

After leaving, we were headed towards WaWa for some breakfast, and we encountered the runners on Osceola Parkway! We all rolled down our windows and stuck our hands out and waved and cheered them all on! It was great to see all these guys still looking strong with almost 10 more miles to go!

Once we finished at WaWa, we went BACK to OP just so we could cheer on runners some more, at least until we had to exit at Western Way and go home.

I hope you guys enjoyed a Day in the Life of a VoluntEAR! We’ve been doing it now for more than a year and I LOVE doing it – I look forward to doing many more!

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Amy Weber began running in 2012 after deciding to make a lot of changes in her life. She’s done 4 half marathons, four 10ks, one 15k and too many 5ks to count! Upcoming races include Celebration ½ Marathon, Gasparilla Weekend and the Gate River Run. She’s married and has one daughter and works for the government, so running is her Me Time. You can find lots of race reports and Disney stuff on her blog TheLazyLady.Blogspot.com!

Mission to Marathon: 2015 WDW Marathon Recap

We’ve been following Hannah’s journey to marathon redemption in her Mission to Marathon series for a year now.  She has shared the realities of training and given up some great tips!  Well it all led up to WDW Marathon Weekend and when Hannah DID complete her first marathon, but not without some difficulties. This is a wonderfully honest recap and I’m so proud to feature it here.  

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Things NOT to do when preparing for a marathon:

  1. Don’t train (like…at all)
  2. Don’t hydrate/fuel in the days leading up to the race
  3. Don’t hydrate/fuel properly the morning of the race
  4. Don’t stretch or strength train to manage a prior injury
  5. Be super anxious and stressed not just for the race, but also about other aspects of your life

Yup…don’t do those things. But guess what, you can do all of them and still finish.

I’m not in any way advising you to do those things. And, I’m not suggesting it is a smart move to run a marathon after you’ve done them, but it is possible.

But back to what you want to hear about — The RACE!

Expo

Running at Disney is like nothing else. It is a completely different experience from other races you will run in. There is entertainment and support from volunteers and spectators that far exceeds any other race. Fair warning that I do not have many pictures. Well, none from the race itself. I will try to throw a few in and at the end you can click the link to watch my video (unedited raw footage and probably not that thrilling to most people, but you can see me fake a smile while in pain and head from the finish line to the med tent…but more on that later!).

Miles 1-5: Just full of anticipation. I feel like Magic Kingdom gets further and further away with every race, but it’s really just that it seems like the early part of the race, but it is five miles in so it its quite a bit of time before you actually get there.

Miles 5-6: Oh man, that anticipation kills you from mile five to entering the Kingdom. You’re SO close! And then you get your reward, you get to run down Main Street!!! This part of the course is PACKED with spectators and they are awesome! Hang a right and head through Tomorrowland then through Fantasyland before heading through the Castle. Yup! Disney lets you run through it.

The hubs and I got separated (bathroom break) so I waited on the backside of the castle until he caught up so we could run through together. Oh, and thanks to Anna and Elsa for a the little Disney magic of sprinkling snow! You finish up by running through Liberty Square and Frontierland before heading back outside the park. I was feeling pretty good at this point. Starting to think 10k is my distance, haha.

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Miles 6-8.5ish: This is a bit of a boring stretch, but it’s not that long and you’re still on a high from all the fun at Magic Kingdom.

Mile 8.5-9: Running the Track! This is truly a cool experience and the only race you get to run here! Here is where I was really wishing I’d kept up with training. Not because I was hurting, but because I knew I needed energy to get me through the entire race so I had to stay focused through here rather than enjoying myself. I come from a car/racing family so this is a big thrill for me and I couldn’t even pay attention to the cars.

Miles 9-12ish: Another boring stretch. I was starting to feel a little bit of the fatigue at this point. We had been doing 5/1 run/walk ratio and cut it down to about 4/1 at this point.

Miles 12-13: I love running through Animal Kingdom. Just be careful of your footing because the park is a bit rougher than the others! We got to see Monkeys jumping around and the park is already open by this point so people are out and cheering on all the runners. We debated riding Expedition Everest but decided if we sat down in the cars we couldn’t get back out at this point, haha.

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Mile 13.1: This was such a great point for me! Halfway done and also where the hubs and I parted ways last year. It was so nice to pound through this point and keep going, TOGETHER!

Miles 13-17: Last year I hobbled through until 16.5ish after the hubs went on his way. This is a long stretch on the dreaded Osceola Parkway. It started drizzling and then raining while we were running here. This was probably the beginning of my downfall. I don’t do well with weather changes under normal circumstance and rain just makes me cold. The bigger problem came after the rain stopped and then it got muggy hot. Ick! Oh, also, they switched up one of the fuel stops and instead of Clif Shots they had Clif Bars. I wish I had looked at the course map and known this. I would’ve scarfed down one of my own gels before the water stop. Instead I tried to choke down a dry, gritty Clif bar (sorry…but that’s what they taste like after 14ish miles). I only got about a third down before pitching it.

Miles 17-20: When you really look at it, you are in ESPN for quite a long time! Its a nice change of pace because you get to run off the track, but its also a windy route so its a bit confusing and turns you around. It started drizzling again through here. Also, my LEAST favorite part of the course. I HATE running through the baseball stadium. At this point in the race (or at any point) you don’t want grit and dirt kicking up into the backs of your shoes. You gotta slllooooooowwwww down to avoid this and it stinks. The crowds through there are a great, but I gotta be honest that they could cut this out and I wouldn’t care a bit.

Miles 20-22: This is where I really started to sink. I think everything just started hitting me at once. The Achilles in my right foot and my left IT band/knee were killing me so I was doing a bit of a shuffle. The hubs kept trying to get me to run, but it wasn’t happening.

Miles 22-23: Hollywood Studios! Woot woot! A little boost of energy to run through the park, but only after a pit stop for me to sit down and breath. I know sitting is bad, but I was light headed and afraid I’d pass out. The chocolate candy (holla at ya Hershey’s!) helped, but not enough. But the run through the park, past the hat and out the entrance was great!

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Miles 23-25: What? We’re this far into the race? Really?! Running through the Boardwalk was really neat, but that lightheadedness and the slat boards of the boardwalk were just making me dizzy. Hubs said there were a lot more spectators out by this part of the race last year, but it was pretty sparse when we came through. Still fun and a great part of the race!

Miles 25-26: The LONGEST trip you will ever take around World Showcase! BTW…anyone else on the slower than slow track of this marathon, did you see John Stamos at Mexico? Hubs says “That guy looked like John Stamos” and I said, “I’m pretty sure it was” and then we kept moving. He had a sort of entourage and came running out to cheer someone on, so we’re thinking it was actually him? Anyone confirm?? On the bridge between World Showcase and Future World I took my 3-4 sit break to catch my breath. At this point I realized I wasn’t sweating, but there was no way I wasn’t finishing!

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Miles 26-26.2: Hubs tried to get me to run the WHOLE .2 miles but it wasn’t happening. We did hold hands and run across the finish line! Yay!! Such vindication after last year. It felt awesome!

Post race: But immediately after the finish line I veered right towards an RN from the medical tent and a wheelchair. She, of course, got us our medals before wheeling me to the tent itself where they checked my vitals, gave me fluids and a heated blanket. We were there for about a half hour while I got my body back under control. They didn’t officially say what it was, but we are thinking heat exhaustion from my symptoms. After about 10 mins of being there I started getting really confused and was shaking and crying…but they gave me the heated blanket at that point and some powerade and after another 10 mins I was feeling much better.

I am so very grateful to have my wonderful husband who puts up with me and all my craziness. He was the reason I crossed the finish line and helped calm me down in the medical tent. He was so encouraging and uplifting. I was afraid I was disappointing him, but he was just so proud of me pushing through. And, I am so proud of him for finishing his second marathon (without training)!

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We hopped a bus back to our resort, grabbed some food and rested in our room for a bit (with compression socks on…get some if you don’t have them). We were planning to head to Downtown Disney in the evening, but it was chilly and rainy, and my left knee was killing me. We ended up just doing a walk up dinner at Maya Grill at our Resort, Coronado Springs. I highly recommend this restaurant, especially if you are staying at Coronado. The food was delicious! We only ate about half our meals so we took them back and enjoyed the remainder for breakfast the next day (cold Tex-Mex is pretty good)!

So you CAN do everything wrong and still finish a marathon, but you will hurt like you’ve never hurt before, might end up in the medical tent, and will be so mad at yourself that you won’t enjoy the race.

That’s my recap!

Marathon Finisher Hannah

Congrats Hannah on finishing your first marathon and for being so honest about your experience.  I know first hand that it is an incredibly difficult experience.  

Here is Hannah’s raw footage from the Marathon and I think it perfectly shows the ups and downs of the race.  It’s not all smiles and running…and that’s ok 🙂

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Hannah is an attorney from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. She started running in 2011 while preparing for the Bar Exam as a means of helping her focus on her studying. Hannah completed her first half marathon in October 2011 at the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco. In 2013 she completed 13 running events including 5 half marathons, 2 10ks, 3 5ks and 3 fun races (2 color runs and a zombie run).  She enjoys setting goals and crossing things off of her “bucket list.” Follow Hannah at www.workorrun.com, where she blogs about her everyday goals and challenges.

The Health & Fitness Expo – A Runners Dream!

The Health & Fitness Expo at any runDisney event can be an endurance event in itself.  There is SO MUCH to buy see and do!  It’s a great place for all runners and fitness enthusiasts, even those not participating in the weekend’s events, to come and see the latest gear.  Jackie isn’t running until Princess Half Marathon Weekend, but that didn’t stop her from checking out all the rad things at the WDW Marathon Weekend Expo.  Let’s take a look!

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While I have yet to run a race during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, I have attended this race’s Expo many times, including this past one. The runDisney Health and Fitness Expo is the best way to kickoff the 2015 racing calendar and a run filled year. The excitement is contagious and you can’t help not wanting to be apart of it!

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The second you walk inside the Jostens Center at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports, you immediately feel the energy of thousands of runners anticipating their races and the vendors who are just as excited. As you are directed downstairs into the expo, you are immediately greeted with Raw Threads and the facade of the New Balance booth.

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Not being able to resist the Raw Threads booth, with their cute designs and soft fabrics, I walked through their space to see what was available. They were fully stocked with favorite character designs and also had some newer Frozen and Star Wars designs, which are perfect for the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend and Princess Weekend next month!

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My next stop was the New Balance booth. They had apparel and accessories available, but the main attraction are the official runDisney New Balance shoes! The latest shoes to join the collection are the limited edition 990v3 featuring Retro Mickey and Minnie, which were inspired by Steamboat Willie. You can checkout the new shoes and the older designs here.

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After exiting the New Balance booth, I made my way to the back of the Jostens Center where all the runDisney official merchandise was. There surprisingly was not a long line waiting to checkout, like there normally is during the expo; it’s better to get there early or in the middle of the day!

They had all different styles of shirts for each race, along with accessories, bottles, mugs, and much more! I love the ‘I Did It!’ shirts-there was one available for each distance, plus Dopey and Goofy Challenges. I saw a lot of these walking around at the end of the weekend at Downtown Disney at the Cool Down Party.

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Right in front of the runDisney booth, you can check out the medals for the weekend and chat with Jeff Galloway, who makes appearances throughout the day. I missed him this time around, but I did see him last year at Princess!

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As I made my way to the front of the Jostens Center, I stopped by the Transitions photo booth and Sweaty Bands. Transitions had tons of fun props to put on for a photo that they send to your email. They also had this booth setup at the Cool Down Party! Sweaty Bands always has super cute headbands in many different prints and patterns. You can even find ones to match your running costume!

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I had to stop by the Fit2Run booth, which is fully stocked with all your last minute weekend race needs from nutrition to apparel and shoes. You can pickup anything you may need for the weekend and training, which makes stopping by the Expo super convenient! I love how you can chat with the brand reps who will help with advice and their knowledge about the different products the booth carries. I had my eye on many things here, but my plan is to stock up Princess weekend! I have been eyeing some Dona Jo printed tights and I wish I just got them this weekend!

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After you leave the Jostens Center and enter the Champion Stadium, you could spin the Fit2Run wheel and win all different prizes including Fun Runs to spend at their location in Downtown Disney!

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Kicking off the year with the WDW Marathon Expo and Races are the perfect start to 2015! The camaraderie felt and excitement you experience at these expos just makes you more excited for your next runDisney event. Though I did not make any purchases this time around, I scouted out the goods for Fit for a Princess Expo next month and made a long list of items I have to get! Later this year I will register for the Walt Disney World Marathon (my first!!) and already cannot wait to come back and visit the expo and celebrate with all our fellow runDisney and RAD runners!

2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Info

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It’s almost here…the largest runDisney race weekend of the year!  Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend will bring over 50,000 runners and their families to the resort January 7-11, 2015.  With four races, two challenges, kids races and a TON of other events crammed into five days, it’s easy to lose track of why you’re really there…to run!  So I’ve put together everything you need to know to have a stress free race weekend!  Let’s get started…

Health & Fitness Expo

The race weekend starts with the Health & Fitness Expo at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.  Hours for the Expo are:

  • Wednesday, January 7th: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
  • Thursday, January 8th: 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
  • Friday, January 9th: 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
  • Saturday, January 10th: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Participants in all of the races must attend the Expo to turn in signed waivers (click here to print your waiver) and pick up race packets, which include your race bib with B-Tag timing devices, race shirt, and gEAR bag. The gEAR bag doubles at the bag to use for bag check during the race.  This is also where you will receive any commemorative items you may have purchased during registration, such as pins or necklaces or these new Dooney & Bourke bags!

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Because this race weekend is so large, the Expo is spread out through much of the Sports Complex.  Your first stop at the Expo should be the HP Field House for Packet Pick Up.  Starting with this weekend you can no longer have someone pick up your race packet for you.  Everyone MUST turn in a waiver, show ID and pick up their own packet.

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Because there are so many races and challenges over this weekend, packet pick-up is spread out over the two levels of the HP Field House.  On the Entry Level you will find: Kids Races, 5K, 10K, Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge, Dopey Challenge, and Pre-Purchased Commemorative Jacket Pick Up.  On the Lower Level you will find: Half Marathon, Marathon, ChEAR Squad, Race Retreat, and Family Reunion Breakfast Pick Up. The Lower Level is also where shirt pick-up is for Goofy & Dopey participants and where you will find Runner Relations and Castaway 5K information.

After getting your race packet, proceed across the way to the Jostens Center to pick up your race shirt and gEAR bag (except for Goofy & Dopey participants), visit with more vendors and spend all your money on runDisney merchandise.

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More vendors can be found in Champion Stadium along with Runner Tracking signup and pickup for Dooney & Bourke bags.

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Plan for BIG crowds at the Expo, especially early on when there will be long lines for exclusive Expo merchandise.  I recommend allowing at least two hours if not a full half day to visit the Expo.

Resort Transportation

Bus transportation will be available from ALL Walt Disney World Resort Hotels to bring participants to and from most events taking place during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.  This includes the Expo and all races.

Bus service to the Expo and the Kids Races will run during the following times:

  • Wednesday, January 7th: 9:30 am – 7:30 pm (last bus will leave for the resorts at 8:30 pm)
  • Thursday, January 8th: 8:30 am – 6:30 pm (last bus will leave for the resorts at 7:30 pm)
  • Friday, January 9th: 8:30 am – 6:30 pm (last bus will leave for the resorts at 7:30 pm)
  • Saturday, January 10th: 9:30 am – 3:30 pm (last bus will leave for the resorts at 4:30 pm)

On January 8 – 11, bus transportation will be provided for runners and spectators to and from the races.  For those staying at a Magic Kingdom resort on the monorail line (Contemporary, Polynesian and Grand Floridian), the monorail will begin running at 3:00 am each day to take guests to and from Epcot.  Here are the times the busses will run:

  • 5K, January 8th: 4:15 am – 5:30 am & 7:00 am – 9:00 am (runners must be on a bus by 5:00 am)
  • 10K, January 9th: 3:30 am – 5:00 am & 7:00 am – 10:00 am (runners must be on a bus by 4:00 am)
  • Half Marathon, January 10th: 3:00 am – 5:00 am & 7:00 am – 11:00 am (runners must be on a bus by 4:00 am)
  • Marathon, January 11th: 3:00 am – 5:00 am & 7:00 am – 2:00 pm (runners must be on a bus by 4:00 am)

Driving Directions

If not staying at a host resort, participants will need to provide their own transportation to all events.  On the mornings of the races, expect SIGNIFICANT DELAYS on all roads heading into Epcot.  You will need to enter via World Drive as Epcot Center Drive will be closed due to race course.  Leave early and allow from plenty of time.  You will need to arrive no later than 4:30 am to make sure you are in your corrals in time for the race start.

Costumes

Costumes are one of the best parts of any Disney race.  It’s amazing to see what some people run in!  I think one of my favorites from the Marathon in 2013 was this guy dressed as a flamingo!

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Please note that runners are NOT allowed to wear a face mask of any kind and will be removed from the course if this is violated.  This is for your own safety, especially during a night race!  So who are you dressing up as??

Bag Check

Participants MUST use the clear bag provided at the expo to check any belongings during the race and affix the label with their bib number on the outside.

Tip for you: Put a small, lightweight backpack or duffle bag inside your clear gEAR bag to transfer everything into after the race.  The strings on the gEAR bags make them horribly uncomfortable to carry around if you are planning on staying for the after party.

All bags are checked in the Family Reunion area prior to heading to the start corrals.  Here are the bag check times for each race:

  • 5K, Thursday, January 8th: 5:00 am – 9:00 am
  • 10K, Friday, January 9th: 4:15 am – 9:00 am
  • Half Marathon, Saturday, January 10th: 2:30 am – 10:30 am
  • Marathon, Sunday, January 11th: 2:30 am – 1:30 pm

Staging Area & Start Corrals

When you arrive at the Epcot parking lot, you will be directed to a large staging area before the corrals open.  This is where you will find bag check, water stations, photo ops and most importantly Port-a-Potties.  The corrals for the 5K & 10K will be located in the Explore Lot (see map below) and you will need to be in those corrals 30 minutes prior to the race.

2015-WDW-Marathon-Weekend-Runner -Staging

 

2015-WDW-Marathon-Weekend-10K-Corrals

The corrals for the Half Marathon & Marathon are located on Epcot Center Drive.  This is approximately a 20 minute walk from the staging area, so make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to get over there.  You can find your corral placement by printing your waiver and finding the corresponding corral for your bib number.

2015-WDW-Marathon-Weekend-Corrals

 

2015-WDW-Marathon-Weekend-Half-Marathon-Corrals

2015-WDW-Marathon-Weekend-Marathon-Corrals

2015-WDW-Marathon-Weekend-Goofy-Corrals

2015-WDW-Marathon-Weekend-Dopey-Corrals

Race Bibs

Bibs must be centered on the front of your shirt.  Safety pins will be provided in your race packet at the expo.  Do not bend our fold your bib, as the ChronoTrack B-tag will be affixed to the back of the bib which will be used to track your time.  If your bib is not properly centered, damaged or covered, your time may not be recorded properly.  Your bib will also be used for the on course photographers, so make sure the number is clearly visible.

If you are participating in Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge, you will be given one bib for both races.  If you are participating in the Dopey Challenge, you will be given 2 bibs.  One for the 5K & 10K and one for the half marathon and marathon.  Keep good care of these throughout the weekend!

Pacing Requirements

You must keep a minimum of 16-minutes per mile throughout the race or you will run the risk of being picked up and brought to the finish line.  Keep this in mind if you are planning to stop for character photos.  Those lines can get long and it’s easy to lose track of time.  Pace cyclists and the dreaded balloon ladies will be on the course to let you know if you have fallen behind.

Aid Stations

There will be 2 water stops along the 5K course and 3 water stops along the 10K course.  No PowerAde or fuel will be provided for either of these races.

For the Half Marathon, there will be 9 PowerAde and water stops along the course and there will be one food station at mile 8.5 that will have Clif Shots available.  For the Marathon, there will be 19 PowerAde and water stops along the course and 4 food stops.  Bananas will be available at miles 11.5 & 18.3.  Clif Shots will be available at miles 15.4 & 19.4.  In additions, there will be sponges distributed at mile 15.4 as you enter the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and candy will be available when you enter the Studios at mile 22.5.

Tip for you: Hang on to the sponge for the remainder of the race and soak it in water at the following water stops to keep you refreshed!

Aid stations will be located approximately 1.5 miles apart from each other for both races.  The PowerAde flavor is lemon-lime, so if that isn’t your thing you should carry your own.  Same goes for the fuel stops…don’t rely on those if you have trained with other products.

Course Maps

Walt Disney World 5K & 10K

2015-WDW-Marathon-Weekend-10K-5K-Map

Walt Disney World Half Marathon

2015-WDW-Marathon-Weekend-Half-Marathon-Map

Walt Disney World Marathon

2015-WDW-Marathon-Weekend-Marathon-Map

More information on other events like the Kids Races is available on the runDisney website and in the Official Event Guide for the weekend.  Also, check out some of my packing tips as your get ready to travel and more tips on getting ready for your runcation from RAD contributor Hannah!

Best of  luck to everyone taking on one or all of the races over marathon weekend!  I will sadly not be there, but be assured that I will be stalking my social media feeds and cheering you all on!

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Running Coast to Coast with Joe Quattrocchi

It’s time for the second installment of Running Coast to Coast!  This month Joe is here to share his experience as a new Disney runner, a first time marathoner and of course a first time Coast to Coaster!  Congrats on an awesome finish!

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Hey guys. My name is Joe Quattrocchi and I wanted to share with everyone my experience with completing the 2014 runDisney Coast to Coast challenge.

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This was my first year “Running at Disney” and the reason why I decided to start running at the Disney theme parks was to become a healthier person. I am a reformed cigarette smoker and quit smoking about four years ago. When I quit smoking, like most people who quit smoking, I gained some weight (about 25 pounds or so). I did not feel good about myself and for the first time in my life, I hit the 200 pound mark. This is when I decided to make a lifestyle change for the better and as someone who grew up going to Walt Disney World twice a year, what better place to sign up for a marathon and to get in shape and lose the weight than at Walt Disney World! So I decided to take the plunge, sign up, and start training for the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon. Not only did my journey to better health begin there, but also my passion for runDisney began.

I started my 19 week marathon training program that would lead me up to the WDW Marathon. Before I knew it, January 2014 was here, I was twenty five pounds lighter, and in the best shape I have been in a long time. I was ready. I had studied the course map, read every runDisney blog imaginable (Thanks RAD!), ordered books on Disney Marathons, listened to the Mickey Miles Podcast (Thanks Mike and Michelle!) for tips on Marathon weekend etc. I then arrived in Orlando and was ready to hit the expo. I was excited to pick up my race materials, marathon bib, take photos, and walk around the expo and take in all that marathon weekend had to offer. When I arrived at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, a feeling of excitement had overcome me that I had not experienced ever. I felt elite, like I was part of an exclusive club that I was going to have the privilege and honor of running in the Walt Disney World Marathon. This was a race that sells out so quickly and I was going to be a part of it. At the same time, immense jealousy plagued me as I saw the booths at the expo for the “Dopey” and “Coast to Coast” challenges. Thinking about how excited I was, I thought to myself, oh I got to do that next time!

Marathon morning came and you could not ask for better weather! It was a nice and cool 55 degrees with little humidity. I was in corral “E” and ready to take on 26.2 miles of magic that were in front of me. The countdown for the race started and one by one, each corral was released with a spectacular fireworks display. For lack of a better phrase, it was awesome, and I got Goosebumps as my corral was released. The miles ticked away quickly and before I knew it, I had arrived at the TTC and the first real sign of spectators. Then, we headed past the Contemporary Resort and hit the Magic Kingdom and Main Street U.S.A. Main Street was packed with spectators and as a Disney fan, it was everything you could imagine it could be.

The miles ticked away as we passed the Grand Floridian, Polynesian (where I got my picture with Lilo and Stitch), and headed to the rear of the Animal Kingdom. Running through Animal Kingdom was pretty cool and I was very tempted to jump on Expedition Everest for a quick ride, but decided against it! However, I did see a few runners take advantage of this perk! At this point, we were at the half marathon point (about 2 hours or so) and the crowds started to build everywhere. We then headed down Osceola Parkway which was probably the worst part of the race. This road was just extremely straight and just boring, but once we hit ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, I knew we were starting to make some head way towards the finish. A few miles in ESPN and back out to the roads and headed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This was another favorite part of the race for me as by the time we hit the studios, it was open to the public for the day. It was amazing to run through the park as it was functioning at the same time. Some of my fondest memories of that race day was random guests cheering my name telling me to “keep going” and that “You (I) could do it!” Just amazing!

Lastly, we exited the studios, ran past the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts and entered EPCOT where we were down the home stretch. Many things were going through my mind at this time. I could not believe that I actually made it this far and that I was about to cross that finish line and complete a marathon. Secondly, I couldn’t believe that something that I had thought about as a kid, thinking it would be cool to run the Walt Disney World Marathon and not knowing anything about long distance running at all, was actually going to happen. Lastly, I didn’t want this journey to end. It was a year long journey from deciding to run the race, to signing up for the race, to training for the race, and then actually running the race. I didn’t want my runDisney journey to end.

Well, I finally saw Spaceship Earth and made that right turn and crossed the finish line in 4:56:19. It was an awesome feeling having that marathon medal put around my neck knowing I completed a goal I had set for myself. I wore that medal proudly for the rest of my trip. When I returned home, there was one thought I could not get out of my mind. That thought was, “I gotta go Coast to Coast!”

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I made my decision to sign up for the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend and the Dumbo Double Dare. (Actually signed up for the Disneyland 5K too!) As someone who had never been to Disneyland before, this was going to be exciting not only visiting the “Happiest place on Earth” for the first time, but also to get my coast to coast medal.  It was a long trip across the country (from New Jersey) to Anaheim but it was totally worth it. Arriving at the Disneyland Hotel and entering the convention center, the excitement which I experienced in January was present again. I picked up my Dumbo race packet and got my Coast to Coast Challenge wristband, I was ready to go. I then proceeded upstairs to the expo and began to wait online for official race merchandise. While standing in line, I began to strike up conversations with others who were also attempting to complete their coast to coast challenge. Everyone started to share stories of which race they completed in Florida and how that experience was. It was almost a bonding experience you were sharing with other runners that you just met but running the coast to coast challenge, it felt like you were on a different level as a Disney fan!

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The next few days passed very quickly as I completed the 5K on Friday and then the 10K race on Saturday. These races were a lot of fun, but I was looking forward to the Disneyland Half Marathon where I would not only complete my Coast to Coast Challenge, but also the Dumbo Double Dare as well.

Race day was finally here and I was all set to go. I started in the B Corral and was waiting for the start of the race. The command was given and we were off! One thing I was disappointed in was that there was no fireworks shot off at the start of the race ( I am sure it was because the hotel and neighborhoods are so close to the starting line). However, runDisney made up for it with lots of lights and lasers and goodies like that. The crowds were fairly good at the start and unlike Walt Disney World, we saw spectators right from the start of the race which was really a nice touch. We raced past the outer perimeter of the Disneyland and Paradise Pier Hotels and made a left hand turn into Disney’s California Adventure Park.   Like Walt Disney World races, you get a lot of backstage time in the theme parks and Disneyland was no different. We entered the rear of DCA and then ended up in “Cars Land” which was probably one of the hi-lights of the race.

Now, unlike a Walt Disney World race experience where essentially you are running completely on the property and are surrounded by areas where characters and entertainment are set up for you, in Disneyland, about mile 4.5 or so, you exit and hit the streets of Anaheim and head towards the Honda Center and Angels Stadium. Even though you are not in the parks and are not seeing any character stops for 8 miles or so, Disney has done a great job of organizing local car clubs, ethnic group performers, cheerleaders, and local bands to help entertain you while you run outside of the Disneyland property. Its not quite the same experience as Walt Disney World, but Disneyland does the best they can with what they have. This is one of the main reasons I think that there is and won’t be a full marathon at Disneyland. Just not enough room. As the end of the race approached, it was a real treat to run through Angels stadium and see literally thousands of people that were outside and inside the stadium and to watch yourself on the jumbotron of a Major League Baseball stadium was pretty cool. In Walt Disney World for the marathon, you also run through the baseball stadium at Wide World of Sports, but this was just way better.

Coming to the finish, we ran around the parking lot of the Disneyland Hotel and finished beside the hotel. The finish was good but not as good as the finish in Walt Disney World where you see Spaceship earth and hang a right hand turn and head home with large grandstands on both sides of you. But don’t get me wrong, every finish at a runDisney race is Magical!

Finally, heading through the finisher corral and getting that Coast to Coast medal was an amazing feeling. After just completing the half marathon and Dumbo Double Dare, I wasn’t even looking forward to those medals. The one that I had my eyes on was that beautiful Black and Gold medal depicting the partners statue.

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After receiving that medal, walking around the parks all day and striking up conversations not only with other Coast to Coast finishers but with other park guests in general comparing stories was a lot of fun. This experience is something that I definitely plan on doing again in the future and I hope that runDisney continues to grow this program!

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Joe Quattrocchi is from Riverdale, NJ and is a proud member of the Essex Running Club.  He has been visiting Walt Disney World for much of his life and has taken over 30 trips to the resort.  Having recently caught the runDisney bug, Joe is the running correspondent for the ResortLoop.com Podcast and has recently joined the Mickey Milers.  He is now registered for the 2015 Dopey Challenge and you can follow along with his racing adventures on Twitter and Instagram!

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Have you completed the runDisney Coast to Coast Challenge?  Want to share your experience?  Send me an email to sarah@runningatdisney.com to be featured on an upcoming Running Coast to Coast!!

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