Saturday, January 26, 2013

2013 WDW Half Marathon Report and Video

Note: With this being Dave's first half marathon, we'll leave all of his thoughts on that topic for another post and try to keep this report as focused on the race as possible.

You know it's Disney race season when you have 3 alarms and a wake-up call set for 2:30am. The Walt Disney World Half Marathon takes place on the Saturday (this year January 12) of the WDW Marathon Weekend. We were out out the door by 3:15 and drove over from the Boardwalk Hotel to Epcot. We really like the Boardwalk for Marathon Weekend because of the ease of driving to the race start area. Usually takes us about ten minutes.

Once we got to the Runner's Village we met up with Team AllEars for conversation, group photo, pep talk, and corral matching. If you want to hang out in the corrals with friends you either need to leave together or keep in constant contact. Disney will start suggesting you leave for corrals starting at 4am for a 5:35 race start. The walk is just about a mile from the Runner's Village. We left around 4:20 or so and it took over an hour to get in our corral. We were in a sea of humanity (25,000 racers) squished together on a slow waddle to the start line. We made it to our corral when the National Anthem kicked off.

We were in Corral E which meant we would actually start the race around 6am. Each corral was sent off with fireworks. Drew Carey, star TV's The Price is Right, was at the start waving hello to the runners.  At 6am the course is still pretty dark. Disney had some generator lamps brought in to supplement the other street lamps, but for our pace it remained mostly dark until around mile 4. We decided at the beginning to run our own races which meant Holly would go faster than Dave.

Disney strives to entertain runners the whole way. Between Miles 0 and 4 we saw high school bands, Chip and Dale with NASCARs, Jack Sparrow and a pirate ship, Jack Skellington and Sally, and kites. Yes, mile two's entertainment was people flying kites - in the dark.  At Mile 4 we hit the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC), which is the first large spectator area along the course.

Right before hitting TTC Dave passed Holly while she was standing on line for a Jack Skellington photo opp. Our friend Dan met up with him at TTC and they traveled together towards the Magic Kingdom. Right around Mile Marker 5 Holly caught up and we entered Magic Kingdom together. At the very end of the hub/Tomorrowland Bridge we ran into our Team AllEars cheer section and found our friend Amanda there. We traveled Tomorrowland and Fantasyland together and started going through the back of the castle to Main Street.

Thanks for the nice picture Dan
Usually people have the opportunity to run through the front of the castle. We stopped dead halfway through the castle, because the course was so congested, and started walking through at the same pace we walked to the start line. In Liberty Square/Frontierland we split up to continue running our own races. As we entered backstage we found the princess parade float for a photo opp and the 10k marker.

After leaving the backstage area there was a good two mile stretch of narrow course. We never really thought about how many one way roads there were on property. When you cone-off all those roads to divide them in half it creates a crowded situation. During this time we were passing The Grand Floridian, Polynesian, the speedway, and a golf course. There was a Lilo and Stitch photo opp and some fake wedding by the wedding pavilion. A bit after mile 8 the course opened up as we approached World Drive for the return trip.

This is the time we started really feeling it warm up. Miles 8 - 12 are pretty much wide open streets with no sun protection. Disney did a great job with water/Powerade stops a little over a mile apart from each other. After mile ten some uphill work starts. Time to take a steep exit up to an overpass. This ended up another slow bottleneck area. Coming into Mile 11 was a nice downhill complete with entertainment by more kites.  Dave spent some time here with friends Tom and Molly.  As racers go down the hill they can see the next step is a hairpin turn up to another ramp.  Holly spotted Dave from the ramp - must have been 4-5 minutes apart.  We were separately greeted on the overpass by our friends Eddie and Mike. They finished the race and came back through to cheer for folks. When you get to this final overpass Spaceship Earth (the ball thingy in Epcot) looks pretty close and you get the feeling it is almost over.

Before getting into Epcot and Mile 12 there was a Phineas and Ferb meetup and a large spectating area. We saw lots of friends cheering on the runners at this location.  Dave met up with Holly just after entering Epcot. We did the last mile together through Future World.  We stopped for a picture of two and looked for a Duffy photo opp, but there was no Duffy today.  We crossed together with a time around 3 hours 12 minutes and were met at the finish line by our friends Faye and Jim.

We went through the lines and picked up our bananas, water, Powerade, and snack box. RunDisney puts together a pre-packed box that includes things like Larabars, almond roca, nuts, raisins, chocolate......

We drove back to The Boardwalk, showered (Dave had a beer to celebrate his first half marathon finish), went into Epcot for a World Showcase lap, went to our Team AllEars meet in The Dolphin. At our Team AllEars meet we learned the team had raised over $78,000. Since Team Tizzel was the highest raising team we got to be part of the reveal and it was an honor. After the meet it was back to Epcot for dinner at Tutto Italia with our friends Faye and Jim. We called it an early evening since another 2:30 wake up call was coming for Holly and Jim to run the marathon the next morning.

Here's our video from the race.  Sorry if it's a little long......

Overall RunDisney put on another great race. The one complaint we really have for the half relates to the overall crowd levels and bottlenecks. With that aside we both had a fun time during the race.
Next up, Holly's report on Sunday's Marathon/finish to the Goofy Challenge.

Half Marathon Course Map and Medal


  1. LOVE! I don't really know you two, but for facebook and TAE posts. But, I love that you guys are so supportive of each other and do these things together (even when you agreed to 'run your own race' you finished together!). Congrats Dave on your first half - hope I can join the ranks someday (maybe!). And Holly - you amaze me. Your list of races. jeez, girl, you're making the rest of us look bad! haha! Keep it up Tizzel. You're awesome. Tammi Trout

  2. Thanks for the nice comments Tammi. Yeah Marathon Weekend is always a blur and we never get the chance to talk with everyone. Maybe next year we can chat about your first half marathon? We know you can do it. Wanting to do it means you will find a way to work out the training and commit to it. The race wasn't as hard as some of the lower milage training runs I had. You'll do just fine.


  3. another great video! I have to admit, I got a little motion sick in this one, so while I love that Dave was doing the race, I think he needs to get a steady cam before he goes for the full marathon! (I know, I know, he's to smart for that!)

  4. This is why you usually see me with a tripod. Once we get the Never Land 5K post up you can let me know if I did any better with the GoPro strapped on my head.