In 2012 I ran the Walt Disney World Marathon. I was a fairly new runner and it was my second marathon. My wife also ran her first Half Marathon during the 2012 marathon weekend and we had such a great time I really wanted to go back again. This year I signed up to run the Goofy Challenge and raise funds for Autism Speaks. As I had signed up for the Goofy my wife Shari decided that she would take on her first Full Marathon and my sister-in-law Rina (who last year came to help and support) signed up to run her first Half Marathon. A great weekend of firsts was ahead of us.
Friday January 11th
It has been a long time coming (we signed up before general registration opened) but we finally made it to the first part of our Marathon Weekend. The alarm clock went off at 4am and we made our way to EPCOT for the Disney Family 5K. Me and my brilliant sense of direction and lack of following instructions missed our exit and had to do a turn around to get to the starting line but better today than the big race days.
We still got there early enough, parked the car and got into our costumes. Shari was Cinderella and I was Prince Charming (in spandex). We parked next to a family dressed as the Mad Hatter, the Queen of Hearts and their little girl was dressed as Alice. Glad to know that everyone was getting into the spirit of the weekend. We made our way to our Corral (‘A’) and waiting for the fireworks. They still get me every time. This was my second official Disney race (I ran the Marathon last year) and I think there is nothing better than fireworks to start a race.
The race was so much fun. We ran slowly at first as I was concerned about my right knee but then we just set into a regular pace. Shari and I had so much fun spotting other people’s costumes and talking to the folks running alongside us. Once we entered EPCOT we made sure to stop and take pictures with each character we met. We didn’t care about the time. We even waited in line when Goofy had to ‘disappear’ for a few minutes. I took every opportunity to take a photo with Goofy this weekend. In the last mile bumped into Sid Busch who runs the Disney Marathon Weekend page on Facebook. I recognized him from his ‘Buzz Lightyear’ costume (an unexpected but nice surprise).
The funniest part of the race was that people were stopping Shari and I and asking to take pictures with us. It was just so much fun. We quickly learned to take pictures for other people so they would take pictures of us. We laughed so much it just relaxed us and set us in a great mood for the rest of the marathon weekend.
After a quick shower we all headed out to EPCOT for the rest of the day. The parks weren’t too crowded which was nice so we got to do all the rides, attractions and see all the countries we wanted. We actually hit all the countries in the World Showcase this year which was great for the boys. We then met up with the TeamUp (Autism Speaks) team for a pre-race pasta dinner and stayed for the fireworks before heading off to bed for as much sleep would be possible before the 2am alarm on Saturday morning.