The big day has arrived. Going to bed early the night before paid off. The alarm went off at 1:45am (I wish that were a typo) so that we could get to the start area early. Since I missed out on a Dopey Challenge race banner last year, we had decided to arrive very very early. That meant driving. It worked. Arriving at about 2:30am, we were about the 5th group in line at the merchandise tent. The merchandise tent itself did not open until 3am.
I got my Dopey banner and also picked up a Goofy one as well. They look great hanging in my office. (We get them signed by characters.)
After picking up the banners, I headed back to the car to relax. Since we arrived before everyone else, we had a pretty sweet parking spot. Having the car there meant I was able to spend some time in a nice warm comfortable seat. Very convenient since I was feeling a little twinge in my ankle. DisneyBride kept trying to get me to take a nap, but I was too excited to sleep. So at about 4:45am we got out of the car to go catch up with a friend.
With Michelle from https://middleofmainstreet.wordpress.com/
Speaking of costumes - this might just be my first runDisney event where I did not wear a costume or at least something costume-like. Instead I had on my Marathon Maniacs gear (because the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon qualified me to be a Maniac). I also wore InknBurn shorts, my custom Run Alice Run arm sleeves, and my Orange Mud Vest Pack 2.
After catching up with friends for a few minutes, I gave DisneyBride a goodbye kiss and headed for my corral. The weather for the marathon was far better than it had been for any of the other races. Even so, I kept my trash bag on to keep me warm.
The fireworks to send off the runners were amazing. Better than I've ever seen at a runDisney race start, and I've seen a few. I need to learn how to get better photos of the display. Thankfully, most of you read the blog for my humorous take on running, not for my photography skills.
The course starts off the same as the half. For the Dopeys, the 2 mile marker is an important one. It is just past the halfway point of the Dopey Challenge's 48.6 miles. Pretty amazing to think that 2 miles into the marathon, you are only half way though the challenge.
Outside the Speedway, a few new cars were out on the course.
Just outside the Ticket and Transportation Center, I ran into DisneyBride. It's always great to see smiling faces.
DisneyBride looking good with her Mickey hand and Buzz Lightyear hat.
Speaking of smiling faces, the High School bands really knocked it out of the park again. Here is the Timber Creek High School band, my vote for the best band of the weekend.
The run from the Ticket and Transportation Center to the Magic Kingdom is pretty uneventful. The DJ with the huge Mickey hands always does a great job of pumping up runners to make it up the hill in front of the Contemporary.
Arriving in the Magic Kingdom the first picture should come as no surprise. The one, the only, the Buzz Lightyear.
Second stop was the Mine Train. Thanks again runDisney for giving us the false impression months ago that the Mine Train would be operating during the Marathon, Apparently, running past the Mine Train was enough to make it "part of the race course". Yes, I did 'air quotes'.
I said it before and I'll say it again, it never gets old running through the castle. I even managed to get a spectator to take another great castle photo for me.
Leaving the Magic Kingdom you make your way past the monorail resorts. My first stop after Magic Kingdom was Genie and Abu. Apparently, my luck ran out right before it was my turn for a photo. The Genie had some sort of genie emergency and had to take a few minutes.
Next up was the Speedway, running on the track is always a really awesome experience. Several local car clubs bring out some cars to show off. My favorite was a 1966 Ford Fairlane. I probably liked it because it is very similar to my 1st car, a 1967 Ford Galaxie.
After leaving the Speedway, we started heading to Animal Kingdom. The first stop was the couple partying with their RV. Last year they had pickled herring to help fuel the runners. Unfortunately, they didn't have any fish to fuel us, but they were enthusiastic cheerleaders. It was nice since the next several miles are pretty boring/gross.
First up, the compost facility and the solid waste transfer station. Super pleasant to see and smell. It's a little too 'behind the scenes' for me.
Then the Country Bears were jamming out. I guess runDisney really wanted us distracted. Because the next sight is probably the favorite of all the marathoners. The waste water treatment facility truly sprinkles 'Disney Magic' upon our noses. Even being a pretty cool day and the plant spraying to keep the smell down, it was still there. Oh the joy!
The cast members had several animals out again. I managed to stop for the sheep and pig. The animals also had custom bibs, a really nice touch. Perhaps, I should have gotten better pictures of their bibs. You know... just to check the results and see if they beat me.
I had hoped to ride Expedition Everest upon my arrival in Animal Kingdom. Since I arrived just minutes before the park opened, the ride already had about 30 minutes worth of runners waiting to get on. I decided to pass, waiting that long just wasn't an option.
Leaving the park I finally hit the halfway point.
It really seemed like the second half of the course flew by. If your are still reading, I promise the second half of this recap isn't as long as the first half.
The parking lot to the Animal Kingdom had quite a few spectators with really great signs. Also, Mickey was on hand to ensure that everyone was having a great time.
I always enjoy the run through Wide World of Sports. The cool towel on the way into the complex was really refreshing. Nothing like having something cool to wipe the sweat from my face and neck. The constant scenery changes, the varied surfaces, and the twists and turns keep you distracted from the run. The run through the baseball stadium is one of the highlights for me.
After leaving the complex, I finally arrived at mile 20 marker.
Its just about 2 miles until you arrive at Hollywood Studios. Hollywood Studios has probably my favorite aid station. Yep, cool delicious chocolate.
The run through Hollywood Studios is short, but very scenic. It was also my opportunity to make up for not being able to run Expedition Everest. While in Hollywood Studios I decided to go off the course and ride Toy Story Midway Mania!
If was funny watching people yell at me "You're Going the Wrong way! Then they laughed when I told them I was heading to a ride. It might have been even better than riding Expedition Everest. I think I have a new tradition.
|In line for Toy Story Midway Mania!|
|Who rides the rides in the middle of a marathon? This guy!|
|I cannot believe how AMAZING this grapefruit beer is! I gotta bust out some dance moves!|
Crossing the finish line, I felt really good. I immediately received my Marathon medal and headed for the Dopey tent. Anxious to see what they were going to confirm, I peeked at the computer as they typed in my bib number. All they checked was that I was the one who had picked up the bib at the expo. I don't believe they actually checked to ensure that I ran the other races, just that I picked up the bib. I hope that they eventually get to the point where they verify times for the Challenge participants.
|Marathon medal Volunteer!|
|Goofy Challenge Medal Volunteer|
|Dopey Challenge medal volunteer|
Finally, DisneyBride understands my love of Tonga Toast and came through again this year. Waiting for me was an order of Tonga Toast and some bacon.
I was only back home a few days before a few friends agreed to sign on for 2016 with me. Yep, I'll be heading back for another Dopey next year!
Thanks for reading!
For my other 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend recaps see the links below.