My running buddy Jim DeMarco was one of the lucky few who got into the very first runDisney Meet Up to be held at night over Disney’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend. He was awesome enough to recap the whole event for RAD and it looks like it was a blast! Take it away Jim…
Well, it was my third Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend, and I was extremely excited (and nervous) as the time got closer. The week before the race though, something great happened…I was one of only 125 people lucky enough to be chosen for the runDisney Wine & Dine Meet Up!!! This was my second meet up (first one was in Disneyland in August), but this was also the first nighttime meet up!
The meet up took place the Thursday before the race. Check in was in front of Epcot at 7:00 pm, where we received a great maroon runDisney shirt, as well as a Fast Pass for Test Track! Something to do until we had to reconvene at 8:45 pm! What was at 8:45 pm you may ask? Exclusive priority viewing for Illuminations!!!! I haven’t seen Illuminations in years, and boy, did I miss it! All 125 of us got to mingle for a few minutes before 9:00 pm and the main show took place!
After Illuminations ended and cleared out, we all marched over to the American Garden Pavilion to have some vegan chicken skewers, cookies and vegan wine (who knew there was vegan wine? Not me!!!).
After we all got to nosh on some food, we sat down for the main presentation. Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director at Walt Disney World, acted as MC to introduce the main guests!
After Jeff and Tara, we were treated to a presentation by two of the chefs and a wine connoisseur for Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival! They talked about their favorite foods and wines, and even guided us on what vegan wine actually was!
Then came my favorite part – the New Balance folks took the stage to talk about the 2014 runDisney running shoes! While we didn’t get to actually see the sneakers, we did get to see a video, which showcased new running shoe inserts coming in 2014. The inserts will commemorate the races of those special weekends! Even the box that the shoes will come in has been redesigned for 2014, featuring Mickey on the cover!!! (Get a sneak peak of the new shoe designs here!)
After the New Balance presentation, we got to have pictures taken with the BIG CHEESE!!! (here’s one of me and the head honcho!).
Now it was officially time to do some running! We were split into two groups, straight running and the other group was Run/Walk (Jeff Galloway method). We did one and ½ loops around World Showcase and then headed to the big fountain in Future World for a group photo (BIG GROUP!!!)
Well, the clock was about to strike midnight…and what does one do during the Wine & Dine half weekend at midnight? Have a champagne toast!
Overall, it was a great meet up, got to meet some great people and see old friends, and spark the flame for the weekend! runDisney meet ups are amazing! If you ever have the lucky opportunity to attend one, get pumped for some fun and surprises!!! Cheers!