Saturday, January 27, 2018

2018 Walt Disney World Marathon Race Report and Video - January 2018

Here is Holly's report from the 25th Walt Disney World Marathon. Dave took the lazy route and only spectated from one location. Many of the photos are from Disney's on-course photographers.

I did not want to go back to Disney and run their marathon one more time, but my entire group of friends was heading there for a reunion and I couldn’t pass up the chance to see all of them. Plus I had some unfinished business on the marathon course. Most of my friends were doing the Goofy Challenge but I wanted no part of another one of those multi-race challenges. I enjoy sleeping in and did not want to do that same boring half course that I have done too many times.

Florida was having a cold spell while we were there which meant that we would be freezing in the corrals and staging area for two plus hours before we started. I was bundled up with a heat sheet and a blanket and it was still chilly. 41 degrees is cold in Florida, it must be the humidity. The plan was to run with Stan, Alex and John with Lee catching up from one corral back. We finally got started just before 6am. Lots of great fireworks and Mickey Mouse sent us on our way. The beginning was cold and dark and it was a pretty boring run up World Drive until we got to the Magic Kingdom parking gates. At that point some characters started showing up. Lee caught us right around the Contemporary and promptly tripped and did the most amazing stuntman roll. He was very lucky he didn’t hurt anything.

New to the marathon this year was actually running through the front gates of the Magic Kingdom and under the train station. The Fire Chief and the trolley show dancers were up there and I started to get a little misty. I really enjoyed running up Main Street and through the Magic Kingdom. We stopped for a castle picture and then of course a real bathroom break. Unfortunately my interval timer came off during the bathroom stop and I lost the battery back to it. This would lead to me having to re-sync with John every couple of miles. He was a great sport and kept counting down for me. 5, 4,3,2,1- Liftoff!! Soon we were in dreaded cone alley, so narrow and crowded.

Next it was the turn onto the road to Animal Kingdom. Lots of old attraction vehicles back here and that was cool to see. I was watching our pace because I wanted to be sure we were going slow enough to get to Animal Kingdom after the park was open. That was my unfinished business. I wanted to ride the roller coaster, Expedition Everest, during the race. I have always chickened out in previous years, because it can make me motion sick and I didn’t want to risk ruining a Goofy or Dopey attempt. I was fine if I got sick this time around, no pressure. We got to Animal Kingdom right before 9am. We saw Dave and Charlie and they were stuck behind a rope and they weren’t letting them through. We were hoping they would ride with us. Luckily we stopped for another bathroom break and I had a line. This allowed them to go around another way and they caught up to us as we got to the Everest line. It was a long wait, about 20 minutes, but worth every second. I laughed and had the best time and best of all, no motion sickness. It gave me a nice adrenaline rush for the second half of the race. Mission accomplished!

After leaving Animal Kingdom we saw some of our cheer squad, Molly, Jan, Laura and Jill and they gave us some much needed snacks! Then it was on to Osceola Parkway where we saw Laura O, another fantastic cheerer, and she may or may not have had the best, coldest, Yuengling I have ever had. It was only Mile 16 here so I only had a couple of sips because we still had 10 miles to go! Next up the Wide World of Suck, I mean, Sports. Lots of turns and running on sidewalks made my lower legs hurt for the first time of the day. We were glad to leave that and soon we were in the Studios for my other checklist item of the marathon, a picture with Oswald! He was great and even did Oswald ears with us. Now it was time for the run to Epcot. This is also a narrow crowded section, but at the end you are rewarded with hug from Deb Wills (, the best!

Soon we were in Epcot and we had been tracking Pam, Stan’s wife, who was doing her first marathon. We knew she was not that far behind us, so I suggested we stop in Mexico and get some margaritas to wait for her so they can finish together. Stan and Alex were happy to hear this plan. We sipped our margaritas, gave ourselves brain freezes, and soon Pam arrived. It was great to see her and to watch her finish her first marathon so strong. And as a bonus, I checked off the last item on my Disney Marathon bucket list. I ran across the finish line with a margarita in my hand. I had a really fun day and I am glad I came back for one more Disney race. It was nice to run truly for fun and with no pressure. Running with friends is truly priceless.


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