Walt Disney World 10K – Marathon Weekend Report
The next morning of Walt Disney World Marathon weekend, it was time for the 10K. At just over 6 miles, I wasn’t really worried about this race, either. The Family Fun Run 5K had gone fairly well, and even without proper training, I could jog 6 miles without much strain. Plus, I had been advised by others doing the Dopey Challenge to take it easy during this race to avoid hitting a wall in the full Marathon later.
So, in my infinite wisdom, I decided to stay up late the night before and have a late dinner at Morimoto Asia after the parks closed. The meal was insanely awesome (review to follow), so it was worth it from that perspective, but that 4:30 a.m. wakeup call came way too early. I quickly got ready and headed out the door.
In yet another brilliant move, I decided to take my Nikon D750 DSLR and 24-70mm f/2.8 lens again. The only (well, not the only) problem was that I had not looked at the weather forecast. After racing downstairs from my hotel room to catch my Uber, I realized it was raining–and I didn’t have time to go back to drop off the camera since I was already running late.
Whatever. It seems “making poor decisions” has become something of a forte of mine, so I just decided to roll with it, and improvise an acceptable solution along the way. It was only sprinkling lightly at the time, so perhaps it would stop raining altogether. Ha!
The rain only intensified as I waited in the corral, and I knew simply covering the camera with my hand was not going to suffice as a strategy for keeping it dry. The D750 is weather-sealed and I’ve exposed it to snowstorms and sandstorms, but I still don’t trust the sealing when it comes to rain.
As we started, I noticed someone discard their poncho, so I grabbed it off the ground and tore it apart, tying it around the camera in different spots to fashion something of a makeshift rainsleeve. Given the circumstances, what I made was actually pretty effective and well-done.
Anyway…the race itself. This run sucked. It various times, the rain was really coming down, which caused some of the on-course entertainment to disappear. For example, there was an airplane sitting out that clearly was a character spot, but when I passed it, it was empty.
Turns out that earlier, Darkwing Duck and Launchpad had been there! As a child of the 90s and lover of things that are awesome, Disney Afternoon characters are the holy grail of rare meet and greets for me.
Not only was the course mostly devoid of entertainment, but it was thoroughly wet. (Hence the poor quality of the photos here, as I was trying to zip past and shoot through the makeshift poncho in the rain.)
Normally, I try to run on the grass or dirt along the edges of the road to save my knees as much as possible, but I realized that wouldn’t be an effective strategy this particular run as I stepped in a huge puddle in the grass near the beginning of the race.
That’s enough complaining, though. Once we got past the first couple of miserable miles running through pretty much nowhere, we entered Epcot. That was a huge relief. You really fixate on the rain when running through long stretches of nothingness, but it takes a mental backseat once you’re in a cooler area.
For a Disney geek like me, seeing the backstage areas of Epcot was just what I needed to take my mind off the rain. The constant internal grumbling of “why the heck did I sign up for this?!” quickly changed to “I’m running through Walt Disney World, how cool is this?!”
When the course entered World Showcase, the huge upside to running in the rain became apparent to me. With rain comes puddles, and I’ve never met a Walt Disney World puddle that I didn’t want to photograph. If ever you’ve spotted some crazy person with their DSLR on the ground at the edge of a puddle late at night in Walt Disney World, that was probably me. You could say I’m a puddle fiend.
Doing this during the race was really tough because my lens had water beads on it, and I had literally no way of getting rid of them. Every inch of fabric on my body was soaking wet, so short of making a pit stop in an Epcot restroom for some paper towel, I didn’t have many options. I decided to just shoot through the wet lens, and have the droplets add a bit of moodiness or ambiance to the shots…
It certainly didn’t help my total time, but I found myself stopping constantly throughout World Showcase to capture photos. None of these are anything I couldn’t do 10 times better on any given wet night in Epcot, but I felt it was a unique opportunity to document the combination of Epcot in the rain plus the race. Whenever possible, I tried to capture runners in my shots. Sort of a hybrid of landscape and documentary photography.
This made for a really fun experience, and although it’s probably crazy, in hindsight I’m a bit glad that it rained that morning. I didn’t feel that way then, but it made the race quite memorable!
Plus, I just love the Epcot area in the rain (and in the dark). It feels like it adds to the ambiance of resorts and World Showcase.
It also added to the difficulty level of the race. Not only did you have complete 6 miles, but you had to do so on some very slippery surfaces while dodging puddles. This required some added running strategery, as they say.
The last leg through Future World was pretty fun as the rain had mostly stopped by this point and it was still dark enough for some cool blue hour shots. With the finish line in sight, though, I was torn between getting a good time and getting good photos.
I ended up finishing in 1:00:42. Given that I’m not a runner, it was raining, and that I stopped for photos, I was reasonably happy with that time. It reminded me that I need some sort of running watch, as I thought I was going to finish under an hour, which is why I didn’t stop for more photos at the end. Had I known I’d be over an hour, I would’ve stopped for a lot more. What’s the difference between 1:00:42 and 1:05:00?
After finishing, I headed back to the finish line, where some friends had been cheering me (and others) on, and we waited for other people we knew to finish. Right about then, the rain started again. Being soaked head to toe, I decided that I probably shouldn’t get an Uber directly from Epcot, so I headed to Port Orleans French Quarter and cleaned up there before getting an Uber.
I took the Uber to the Orlando Premium Vineland Outlets, which is right next to Floridays where I was staying, because a few of you have bellyached about my choices in running shorts. Normally, I avoid outlets at all costs. They are a scam designed to appeal to brand-obsessed, budget-conscious shoppers. The vast majority of the time, merchandise sold at outlets is made specifically for the outlets–it is not past-season or overstock (Gap Brands, J.Crew, Saks, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Coach, and many, many other stores are all among the offenders). It’s lower quality stuff that brands slap their labels and ‘compare at’ stickers on, but really, those “comparisons” aren’t apt since the same materials aren’t used. It’s a ruse, and the discounts are illusory.
In any case, I was at a loss for other options, so I waited around for the Nike Outlet to open, and then grabbed a pair of running shorts there. I also stopped in the Disney Outlet (which is awesome–all overstock theme park merchandise!) and picked up a 2016 attraction poster calendar for $5. If not for a lack of room in my luggage, I likely would have bought a few more things there.
If you’re planning on getting into runDisney, read my runDisney Race Reports (plus other running-related posts). Also be sure to check out my runDisney Packing Tips post for what you should use to train, and what to carry on race day.
For additional planning resources, the best places to start are our comprehensive Walt Disney World Trip Planning Guide and Disneyland Trip Planning Guide to make the most of your experience!
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Did you run the Walt Disney World 10K this year? What did you think of the rain? Any questions? I’d love to hear feedback from other runDisney enthusiasts…or those who watch from afar!
I’m not really sure you were entirely clear on how you feel about outlets…. Hahaha
Hi Tom! I’d love to know more about your siccesses/failures with using uber to get you to the start line. How much time did you leave yourself to make it through traffic etc? I’ve heard it’s a nightmare. I’m doing princess in February and this might help me, greatly! Thanks! (even just point me to a specific post to read that already has uber on race day details).
I’ll cover this in a future post, check back soon! 🙂
How do other runners react to you stopping and taking pictures? Do they get annoyed that you are in there way? Just curious since if I ran the race is probably be stopping for some pictures too.
For these photos, I didn’t stop on the course itself. I went ‘out of bounds’ outside the cones and set-up. In fact, I usually used a cone to brace the camera for the photos.
Only on rare occasions do I take photos on the course itself, and that’s when I first look back to make sure no one is close behind me (and the area isn’t crowded).
Tom I know this is way off topic but did you hear the news about the Ahwahnee Hotel name change? As a supporter of our National Parks, I find this outrageous!
Yeah, I’m not pleased. I think Delaware North is going to have a PR nightmare on its hands.
What happens if you don’t make the minimum16 minute mile requirements to run a race? Do they really grab you and kick you off the race? That is something that I wonder about cause what happens if you stop for pictures or have a bad day getting up at 3am to go run? If you minutes turn into 18 minutes are they that strict about time?
They have certain points you have to cross. The 16 minute per mile doesn’t start officially until the last person crosses the start line. Then the sweeper clock begins. If you fall too far behind the balloon ladies (whom maintain a 16mm pace and start at the end of the last corral) then you will be told to get on the “parade bus,” which takes you to the finish line area. You have the option then to take a finisher’s medal (I would never!).
Um, an hour for a 10k is very respectable (in my opinion). 🙂 Nice work — glad you had fun! I am almost definitely running the WDW Marathon next year and I cannot wait to read your report. 🙂 🙂
Your race posts are so inspiring that I actually went outside and ran (well, sort of slowly jogged, really) yesterday for the first time since highschool. I wasn’t a runner then, I’m not now, and I did NOT get far but, I still did it and, that’s something.
Inspiring someone else to run is literally the worst thing this blog has ever done. I’m so sorry! 😉
I have to beg to differ with you Tom! you ARE a runner! Loving the run reports.
I’d like to think of myself as a Disney fan who tolerates running because it allows me to have fun experiences. 😉
I was getting a little worried about you, Tom. You hadn’t posted in a few days and I was beginning to think the Goofy challenge had done you in. My 14 year old daughter wants to drag me down to a Run Disney weekend. From your reports it looks like a good time. Really enjoyed the pictures even if things were a little damp.
Hahah, nope, I’m fine! Just took a break from posting so we could enjoy our time at Walt Disney World following the Marathon Weekend events!
Yeah the rain really put a damper on the race. My brother was in corral A and I was in C and neither of us saw Launchpad or Darkwing, I totally would have stood in line in the rain for them. I was a little disappointed there were no characters to take pictures with post race with our medals. The had time to put up an awening or soemthing. I well at least the 1/2 had better weather
I was in B and saw Darkwing. The Cast Member did warn us that they would be leaving any minute.