Skip to main content

The 2018 WDW Marathon

The biggest lesson I learned during the 2018 Walt Disney World marathon was not to cry while running because you can't breathe.

Ideally, I'd like to do the trip reports and race recaps from Dopey 2018 in order, however, I'm still having some photopass download issues, so I'm starting with the headliner: the marathon.

First of all, purchasing race retreat for the marathon was one of the best decisions I could have made.  I look at it as "weather insurance."  If it's a nice morning, you really don't need the heated tent, but if it's cold, it's a lifesaver. Since marathon weekend this year was SO cold, I was very glad for race retreat the morning of the marathon.

I hopped on the first bus leaving Port Orleans: French Quarter and before I knew it I had arrived at the staging area.  I made my way to the race tent and was glad to get out of the cold.
The 25th anniversary cake was on display in the tent
I got a cup of coffee and looked to see who the character meet and greets were.  Race retreat typically has different characters than the ones in the regular pre-race staging area.
I got to take my picture with Peter Quill aka Starlord from Guardians of the Galaxy.  Doctor Strange was also available for photos.
After getting my picture taken, I decided to rest a bit.  Around 4:30AM, I started to make my way to my corral.  Because I knew the marathon was going to be a long race, I wasn't AS concerned about making my way to the front of my corral.  I got close enough to the start to go with the first wave of Corral A.
Not the best picture of the start line, but there it is.
The course took us out of the Epcot parking lot and on the highways towards the Transportation and Ticket Center and to the main entrance of Magic Kingdom park.  The new course this year had us running right through the main gate of Magic Kingdom with the citizens of Main Street U.S.A. cheering us on from the Main Street train station.  It was a great moment.
Running down Main Street U.S.A.
My mom was waiting for me on Main Street and I got to see her cheering before running the rest of the street.  There is nothing better than running along Main Street, hearing the roar of the crowd, with Cinderella Castle lit up in front of you.  It's a completely magical moment. I started to feel my eyes tearing up, but then I couldn't breathe, so I had to force myself to pull it together!
Running through Cinderella Castle
 Once we were out of Magic Kingdom, we ran past the Grand Floridian and then on the highways on our way to Disney's Animal Kingdom. I knew that Nicole, her sister Danielle, and some of their friends would be at the exit of Animal Kingdom, which definitely helped me get through this stretch.  Typically the 13.1 mile marker is the most depressing part of the marathon.  You've run a half marathon and you still have another 13.1 miles to's just rough.  But looking for those guys helped distract my mind.  The scenery in Animal Kingdom helped a bit too.
Running through Disney's Animal Kingdom
First of all, the out and back going into Animal Kingdom was awful. Ugh, definitely one of my least favorite moments of the course.  I loved running through Animal Kingdom, it's becoming one of my favorite parks.  Upon exiting Animal Kingdom, I saw the cheering section, which was awesome.  Definitely gave me the push I needed heading into ESPN's Wide World of Sports complex. I got a little choked up by this too, but then I couldn't breathe so I had to put a check on those emotions.
Running through the stadium
As you can tell by these photos, I was working hard.  Right around mile 20 I looked at my watch and knew that barring any unforeseen disasters, I would be able to qualify for the Boston Marathon.  I put my head down and tried to stay focused for the next 10K.  Luckily, I knew there would be plenty to look at from here on out.
#uglyracepic running through the studios
 Running through Disney's Hollywood Studios was a blur, and not just because we spent less than a mile in the park.  I was so locked in that I barely remember the last 6-ish miles of the race.  I know we run through Boardwalk, but I have no memory of actually doing it!  I just kept looking at my watch and putting one foot in front of the other.
Running through Epcot
At this point, I knew that I would achieve my "A" goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.  Every time I found myself thinking about this, I would start to get emotional, and then not be able to breathe.  Once again, I found myself having to focus and shut out the emotions of the moment.
High-fiving one of the chipmunks at the finish line!
As I came down the final straightaway, I could see the finish line and hear my family cheering for me.  It was a great moment and an amazing feeling.  Looking at the clock, I knew a BQ was mine.  I finished in a marathon PR of 3:24:50 and I couldn't be more proud of that time!
After finishing the race, I burst into tears, the emotion of the moment finally overwhelming me.  A very nice medical volunteer came over to see if I was okay.  I explained to him that I was fine and just emotional.  One thing I've learned from the marathon experiences of others is: do not get grabbed by medical except if it was absolutely necessary.  All I really needed was a good cry and a bagel.  So, sorry to the sweet medical volunteer that I basically ran away from!
Final thoughts:  I NEED to do this marathon again.  I want to run it for fun and take character pictures!  It killed me to pass up a couple of those unique stops:  Hades with Pain and Panic, and Carl, Mr. Fredrickson, and Dug.  I love stopping for character pictures, but I knew that if I wanted to BQ, then I would need to skip those this race.  The Dopey Challenge was a great overall experience and I had so much fun and I can't wait to do it again!


Popular posts from this blog

Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios

After much anticipation, Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios is finally open!  The more information I read and pictures I see, the more excited I am (the opening day crowds, not so much).  Originally, I was not super excited about this land coming to Hollywood Studios (though I know that the park needed something for the younger kids).  However, now that it's finally completed, I can't wait to go!
Some of the favorite things we love about Pixar Place are still going to be present. 
Ever interacted with these guys? They are so much fun! Fan favorite Toy Story Mania is still around so you can still play and try to beat your record.  I still haven't figured out how to beat Nicole.  I'm always leading until the final round and then I never win. It's maddening :) Plus there are two new attractions to enjoy: Slinky Dog Dash & Alien Swirling Saucers. I have to admit, I wasn't too excited for either attraction and Nicole and I discussed skipping them …

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

One of the most beloved hard-ticket events at Disney’s Magic Kingdom is Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween party.Running on select nights from August 25-November 1, this party invites guests to enjoy tricks and treats in Magic Kingdom.Some of the highlights of the party include trick-or-treating through the lands of the Magic Kingdom, special character meet and greets, and special entertainment.I attended the party this week and I’d love to share my experience with you! The Basics: Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) is a hard-ticket event.This means that a separate admission must be purchased (you many not use one of the days on your multiday ticket to get into the party.The prices of this ticket range from $74-$115.The price varies based on the date you select for the party.They generally increase in price the closer you get to Halloween, with Halloween night (which is sold out) being the most expensive.Each member of your group above the age of 3 must have a party ticket for …

Before You Go to Walt Disney World...Part 1

Planning a trip to Walt Disney World can be overwhelming.  From the sheer size of the resort, the number of hotels, a touring plan for the parks, plus dining and fastpass reservations, it can make your head spin!  So, what do you need to do before you travel to the most magical place on Earth?

Make a Hotel or Package Reservation: In recent years, the hotels on Walt Disney World property have been almost full all year.  Due to discounting and travelers looking to go at different times, there is no true "slow" season in Walt Disney World.  Sure, some times of year are better than others, but no matter when you go, you need to make a reservation.  If you're staying on-site, then you have two options: a vacation package or room only reservation.  Vacation packages bundle all the aspects of a Walt Disney World vacation (room, tickets, dining, extras, etc.) into one convenient reservation.  Most people who travel to Walt Disney World for vacation will pick a package. When you b…