WDW Marathon Weekend: Day 1 - The EXPO! Shop and Volunteer

Thursday Jan 10, 2013

5am Tallahassee: Somehow this night owl woke herself up with no alarm.  Like a kid on Christmas morning, I was eager to get the day started.  Made breakfast and did some last minute straightening up while DG got moving, and we were on the road a little after 6.

Lake Buena Vista:  Like Wine & Dine Weekend, we headed straight to the ESPN Wide World of Sports before anything else.   We arrived a little after 10am.  Beeline to Family Fun Run 5K packet pickup at the HP FieldHouse.  Got our shirts, bibs, and commemorative pin.  Sweet!  A quick trip into the runDisney merchandise booth seen here... 

Got some cool stuff.

The Vinylmation runner Mickey was too adorable to pass up.  We are not running the Full, but I got one of the tiny Mickey 20 medals anyway to commemorate the weekend.   I already have a runDisney tech shirt, and I didn’t want merchandise for a race I wasn’t running this weekend. 

And an “In Training” for 2014 shirt.  I think there is a greater likelihood of my doing the Donald Half next year, not the Mickey Full, but I did like this shirt better.  My big complaint about the women’s shirts though is that they are cut really short in the torso and ride up on me.  My other runDisney shirt is a Men’s – shoulders are weird on me, but at least it is long enough to tuck in.

Now to the Jostens Center for the Expo.

Yes. This is a huge event.

When you first come in, you are by the New Balance booth (mega-booth was more like).   I rushed over to the new Official runDisney shoes and drooled.  Both the Mickey and Minnie versions are colorfully bright and adorable – with lots of great details.  I had told DG I wanted these as a birthday prezzie and was bouncing around from excitement.  Then I saw the tell-tale grey inner midsole under the arch… 

NOOOOO!  It’s a Stability shoe!  So many details to this shoe - so cute, I wasn't quite ready to give up yet.

Just in case New Balance does things differently – than say every other shoe company – I decided I would ask anyway.  My fears were confirmed and I sadly put the shoe back. I am a neutral runner, and I thought we were in the majority.  Never occurred that they wouldn’t work for me; I didn’t even ask to try it in my size.  I was pretty whiny at this point from disappointment so I started browsing the booths to perk up a bit.

The checkout lines were getting long at this point – so we quickly scoped the ones we wanted to spend more time with, and made mental notes on where to return on Friday or Saturday.  Now we had 30 min to grab some food and get to our Volunteer assignment!  Eek!

We ordered a turkey wrap and a small cheese pizza at the ESPN clubhouse. (If you don’t eat meat – the pizza is really your only option. Even the salads have meat.)  My pizza took over 25 minutes to arrive, my husband had to go back and ask where it was.  I scarfed it down – then we did a fast walk to the Volunteer check in area behind the HP Field House.

We showed ID and were checked in.  We were given a name badge (with a barcode), a black t-shirt with the Marathon Weekend logo on the front, and a box lunch.  Gah!  I had just spent over $20 on a mediocre lunch for us both and now we are being fed.   Oh well.  Since we had just eaten, we took our lunches with us.  Our shift was scheduled from 1:30 to 7:30, so we were figured we would snack later.  I got a Veggie Sandwich, kettle chips, cookie, and an apple w/ bottled water.  There was a lounge area set up for this shift of volunteers to eat their meal and chitchat until called.  I nervously wondered about training, since everyone I was meeting had volunteered at many Disney races in the past and seemed to know what to do.

DG and I got stationed in Marathon Pickup.  That meant we got a little colored sticker dot on our badge that said FULL.  5K and Kids had one color, Half another, Goofy another.  They called us by color group, so when we walked out – they sent us down the Marathon bib pickup line to a pair of volunteers finishing up their shift.  We watched them check in a runner. 
  1. Receive signed waiver, place in box for collection later. 
  2. Ask runner for ID to verify signature and name.
  3. For pickup by a third party, verify signatures, ID copies, and the extra waiver.  This process was something that seemed to confuse several people picking up bibs for their loved ones.
  4. Give runner his/her bib and bag check number
  5. If pre-purchased, give runner the commemorative pin.
  6. Find runner in logbook, have runner sign by name that he/she received these things.
  7. Show runner the B-tracker on back of bib, explain how and where to go to verify it is working.
  8. Direct runner to the Jostens Center for bag containing race shirt, safety pins, and program.
  9. Offer kids temporary tattoos with Marathon logo.

A lot to remember, right? It was indeed a lot of steps, but it wasn’t hard at all.  We were checking in runners like pros in no time, and one of the ESPN staff members was always nearby if someone had a question I couldn't answer.  If you were in Corral C for the Marathon, and picked up your packet on Thursday between 1:30 and 7pm, then either DG or myself checked you in!

Someone got wind of my language skills, and I did get pulled a few times to other stations to interpret for runners from Brasil, and the runners from spanish-speaking countries.  Lots of Columbians, Peruvians, Mexicans.  Quite the international event - I really like that!

We also saw our lovely friend, Linda of the Run Disney So I Can Eat Disney / Endurance Sports Connection group with her hubby, Seann. 

One cool thing was seeing many of the Perfect 20s check in.  The Perfect 20s are a group of 95 individuals that have run every single Disney World Marathon since 1994. All 19 years, now they are tackling the 20th race.  That is quite an accomplishment.  The Running at Disney blog profiled a few runners from this group.  Check it out here.

This group had VIP status over the weekend. Most of these runners were placed in the first two corrals.  So those working in the Elite and Corral A pickup were cheering, clapping, and really whooping it up for the Perfect 20 group.  I wish I had gotten a photo of one of the runners– they were identifiable by a red sash (like a beauty pageant sash).  I only had one red bib in my station. So of course I took a photo.

We worked our pickup station until 7pm when everything shut down.  We counted up the number of signatures in the logbook so we knew how many bibs had been given out that day and how many remained.  My book had 109 signatures at days end.  DG had 104. Then we went back to the volunteer check-in room and they scanned our badge to clock us out.  We also picked up the sheet containing the badge for our next assignment – Saturday’s Half. And that was it.

The Expo was closed, so no more shopping for runner stuff that day.  We were pretty tired but I needed to make a pit stop at World of Disney in Downtown Disney for this costume essential.

Can you guess what my costume for the Family 5K was?

Finally we finished up our long day with some dinner and a pint of cider at Raglan Road's patio in Downtown Disney.  We try to make it here every trip down, as we used to come here when we were first dating.

Stay tuned for recap of Day 2: Running through the World Showcase and Meet-up Madness!


My complete 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon recaps are here:
Day 1 http://www.runninghappilyeverafter.com/2013/01/wdw-marathon-weekend-day-1-expo-shop.html
Day 2 http://www.runninghappilyeverafter.com/2013/01/wdw-marathon-weekend-day-2-family-5k.html
Day 3 http://www.runninghappilyeverafter.com/2013/01/wdw-marathon-weekend-day-3-water-get.html
Day 4 http://www.runninghappilyeverafter.com/2013/01/wdw-marathon-weekend-day-4-here-piggy.html

Virtual Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Blog Hop Directory


Aaaahh what a fantastic day! I was there last year and just got home from the Tink Half in Cali! I'm so sorry the Run Disney sneaks won't work for you! I got mine and am sooo excited to break them in! I also bought one of those Vinylmations, but with a Tink ribbon. I'm a little sad they didn't do it like last year with different ones for each race, but I'm still happy to have it :)


Thanks for volunteering!


It turned out to be fun. The races were a lot more work than the packet pickup stations!


Thank you so much for volunteering (AND for linking up)! Volunteers are so appreciated, and I never feel like there is ample time for a proper thank you. I did volunteer once with Autism Speaks, but my duties were far simpler than yours! I'll add you to our little Facebook group if you like...


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