Walt Disney World Marathon 2016 Report – Part 1
The next day was the main event, the 2016 Walt Disney World Marathon. After feeling some pain at the end of the Walt Disney World Half Marathon, I decided to take it easy the previous afternoon. Well, if I’m being honest, it’s more like the weather forced me to take it easy. We had headed to the Magic Kingdom to get some attractions in and do who knows what else, and it started pouring in the late afternoon, killing the prospects of yet another sunset.
We were at the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover when it started raining, and for the next few hours, we bounced back and forth between that, Carousel of Progress, and even Monsters Laugh Floor (which we really enjoy–but I know we’re about the only ones). By the way, big shoutout to the incredibly rude Cast Member at TTA, who I repeatedly heard yell “hurry up, keep moving!” to parties who were moving too slowly for his liking. Disney magic at its finest.
This rain was probably for the best, as I even though I knew I needed to take it easy that afternoon, “logic” and “thinking” both go out the window when I’m chasing the light for photos. I operate on a purely instinctual level, grunting and growling as I pursue my photographic prey.
As for the morning of the Walt Disney World Marathon, I was up bright and early just before 4 a.m., showering and getting ready as quickly as possible before requesting my Uber. Now, it wouldn’t be a good trip report without a bit of drama thrown in for good measure, so here it is. The Uber was 10 minutes away, which is higher than the norm, but no big deal. I gave myself a little cushion.
I waited and watched the driver’s progress. A little over 10 minutes passed, and he was pulling up (on the map) right on schedule. Until he didn’t, but instead kept driving. After 5 minutes, he appeared to be parked at the edge of a lake(???) nearby per the map, so I called. He had gone to get gas without letting me know. Uh…okay. Ten more minutes passed, and he was still there. Of course the day of the Marathon I’d have my first issue using Uber at Walt Disney World. Of course.
Due to road closures that would start soon and delay traffic, I was starting to freak out a bit at this point. Then, out of nowhere, a car pulled up next to me and the passenger rolled down the window and asked if I needed a ride to the marathon. I kid you not. Now, I follow @FloridaMan on Twitter, so I knew this could be start of a comically horrific headline, “Florida Man Traps Blogger in Car, Flinging Feces to Defend Honor of Dino-Rama.” There was a baby in the backseat and the people didn’t look like feces-flingers, so I decided to roll the dice.
Given that I’m writing this today, you know I wasn’t abducted or anything. We only hit minor traffic hiccups, and managed to make it through areas that would close about 5 minutes before they were scheduled to do so. From there, it was off to the corrals…
It was fun to listen to the announcers talk about all of the serious participants (mostly from Brazil and Chile) in the early corrals, and others who were running for a cause or overcoming adversity.
To my knowledge, these same announcers call all of the runDisney events, and I think they do a pretty good job. They’re family-friendly, but still funny. Certainly helps pass the time when you have to wait for Corrals A through N before you start! 😉
You can see we’re already off to a great start with the photography this time around! Not that the photos in these reports are anything special to begin with, but what you don’t see with the finished product is just how bad the vast majority really are.
Photos that are blurry from movement, photos with random, stray runners awkwardly contorted, photos that are totally out of focus, and photos inadvertently taken of the ground or up my nose due to my accidentally pressing the shutter while running.
I try to stop as briefly as possible so photography doesn’t negatively impact my run time too badly. I’d probably be better off stopping longer to make sure the shot is good, but fewer times. Quality over quantity and all of that.
When it comes to this balloon, you know I’m stopping to take my time and get a photo I like! I know I shared a photo of this in the Walt Disney World Half Marathon Report, but balloon photos are like bread cat photos–any reasonable person simply cannot get enough.
I know Disney has hot air balloons of Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Cinderella Castle, and it is on my photography bucket list to get shots of them. If I knew these balloons were going to be out, I’d run the full marathon with my DSLR and tripod! (If someone from runDisney happens to be reading this, please make it happen. PLEASE!)
Although the photo quality doesn’t bear it out, I also paused here to wait for the the monorail to enter the frame. Every photo is better with a monorail.
At the Ticket & Transportation Center, I spotted some friends who were cheering on me and other runners in our group. Based on my reaction in the photo, you’d think I just got the winning Powerball ticket.
In reality, I was going in for a high five on Adam Hansen. He can vouch for this, but even running in stride, I can deliver some excellent high fives. The crisp, on-the-money kind that are really rewarding because they make you feel alive. (Thanks to Katie Hansen for the crazy/awesome photo above!)
Having people there to cheer you on is a really motivating component of running, and makes me understand why people love running groups so much. Even if it’s not people you know–just people who read your name off of your bib and feel like you could use an extra push–it really helps keep you moving.
This is such a big X factor when it comes to running in these events, and I think it’s impossible to fully appreciate it until you’re actually out there, running. At home when I run, I can barely do 2 miles before needing to alternate to walking. At a runDisney event, I can do 10+.
And with that, it was time to enter the Magic Kingdom again…
I love the bread cat link!
For the record, we like the Monsters Inc Laugh Floor too. My husband was once “that guy” and they gave him a sticker afterwards that says “I was that guy”. It was probably his proudest Disney moment thus far.
Love reading these recaps! Bummed I missed you and Sarah marathon weekend, though apparently, I was just outside the frame of your picture in Japan during the 10k! For my first marathon I thought the characters they had out on course were amazing. There were a lot I hadn’t met before. The petting zoo animals were a huge boost coming into Animal Kingdom! You must have hit AK before the park opened, for me riding Everest was the highlight and gave me a huge adrenaline rush! Looking forward to your next installment!!!!
Yep, the animals were a huge boost. I’m not so sure I could’ve kept going if I sat down for Everest, ha!
Love love reading your reports – I’m coming next year for my 40th birthday amd I can’t wait to do the dopey challenge. Thank you so much in advance for your blog, I cant wait to read the next instalment. What camera are you using in the marathon run? Thanks again
I used the Sony RX100 mkII.
I can confirm the high five and that it did hurt for the second year in a row. I’m hoping the king fu kick makes it into part 2 of the report.
You’re not really living until you’ve felt the warm sensation of a crisp high five. Not only that, but they build character. So, YOU’RE WELCOME for the second year in a row!
Oh, and thanks for the spoiler on the kung fu kick…
Did you get to Everest before 9 am? We rolled in around 8:15 and my husband was upset. You know because the whole point of running a marathon is to ride a roller coaster that you’ve been on a couple dozen times…
I assume I got in there before 9 a.m., but I was definitely in there before park opening last year, too, and the ride was running. Maybe I was closer to actual park opening time last year?
Lame, regardless. Entry fees are expensive. No reason they can’t run the ride earlier (even if it’s not something I’d do).
We love the Laugh Floor too. I was once the “churro” guy and my daughter had her joke read. Good times! Excellent photo of you mid high-five! The picture is evocative of the crispness to come! An epic 5 was enjoyed, no doubt!
Congrats on completing the Goofy Challenge and I’m not joking about that. Quite an achievement.
We’ve done Laugh Floor a lot, and I’ve never been picked on. I feel left out.
Hey, don’t sell me short, it was the Dopey Challenge, not “just” Goofy. I ran an extra 15K for that distinction! 😉
When I ran past Expedition Everest around 9:15 am, it was operating so I decided to ride it. I had heard in past years that they had let runners through the Fastpass line (I’ve never done the marathon so can’t confirm this), but this year we had to wait in the regular or single rider- I did single rider and waited about 10-15 minutes to board. I was a little disappointed with how long it took; it almost seemed like it was no longer considered race entertainment, which is unfortunate because that was a huge draw for me! I also felt that some stretches of the course were short on entertainment; even having more loudspeakers playing Disney or pump-up music would have been nice!
I’ve heard the same about letting runners through the FP line, and I heard people complaining about having to do Single Rider this year on Twitter, so I’d assume that your info is accurate, and is a change for this year. Sort of a bummer.
My husband and I also love laugh floor! Way to go with every race 🙂
We noticed this time that there had been changes to Laugh Floor, but in a couple of performer voices, and also in expanding the people being “picked on” to include audience members nearby them. I really like how the show continues to be tweaked over the years, and is never the same thing twice.
I love reading your race reports! I want to do the half next year! And fyi, I also love Monsters. Thanks for sharing your adventures with us!
You’re welcome! Good luck on training for the Half next year! 🙂
The cute little animals at Animal Kingdom boosted my mood and gave me energy to power on! Of course I had to stop and pet each one. I was so tired from sleep deprivation (I did Dopey as well) that I don’t remember much of the course, and I didn’t take any pictures other than of the animals. I would have stopped for Figment and Dreamfinder for sure. Can’t you picture Figment with a little racing bib?
Oh wow, I would GO CRAZY if there were Figment and Dreamfinder on the course with racing bibs. I know D23 has had the original Dreamfinder back for a couple of events, and there are also a couple of fans who have incredible costumes. RunDisney really should make that happen–they totally could!