Thursday, January 22, 2015

Walt Disney World Half Marathon 2015 Recap

Well, it has taken me absolutely forever to write my recap of the Goofy Challenge races! We had a great trip to Florida filled with running and lots of Disney eats. The weather was the only bummer of the trip. When we left from DC the temperature was 11 degrees and when we arrived in Florida it was in the low 40's. So we still had to wear jeans and long sleeves, boo!

We arrived at the Polynesian on Thursday and headed straight for the expo. There was nobody at packet pick-up and we walked right up and got everything we needed.

We headed over to the expo and began browsing the official merchandise. I ended up getting the Goofy Challenge and marathon "I Did it!" shirts and a marathon tank top. I loved the official shirts that we got with registration this year.

I love the maps on the back of the I Did It shirts

Official Shirts

We checked out some of the vendors and I picked up my Sparkle Athletic Minnie Mouse skirt that I was going to wear for the marathon. I spotted Bart Yasso at the Runner's World booth and stopped to say Hi and take a picture. Such a cool guy!

We stopped for the obligatory picture with the sign of the race you are running and headed back to the Poly. 

Saturday morning rolled around and we had our 3:30 am wake up call. Since we were using the monorail as transportation we felt like we could sleep in a little. We learned last year after getting on the monorail at 3:30 that we could have gotten to the race much later haha. We left the room around 4:10 and decided to ride the monorail around the loop instead of walking to the TTC because it was cold out! I was planning on wearing my blue #teamsparkle skirt with my striped shirt and dress as Mr. Smee, but I had to add capris and long sleeves to the outfit so I didn't exactly look like him. It was comfortable and kept me warm. 

We got to Epcot and stop to use the bathroom then started the cattle crawl to get to the corrals. The National Anthem started playing as we got to the corral entrance. I dropped back to corral M so that I could run the half with Em. The wind was bitter cold and I couldn't stop shivering. I just wanted to run! I knew as soon as we started I would warm up, but waiting took forever. So after 45-50 minutes it was finally time for us to start! Our plan was to take it easy during the half and save our legs for the full the next day.
We ran the first mile straight in hopes that the crowds would thin out a little bit. The crowds didn't really thin the entire race which made for a lot of weaving and running in the grass to get around people. We ran the rest of the race using 4:1 run-walk intervals. 

The first "entertainment" we came upon were the stilts guys from one of the Magic Kingdom parades. They were cheering and "Pumpin' Up the Party" was playing (I find that song so catchy haha!). They were also on the course again towards the end. 

My favorite part of the half marathon is miles 4-7. You go under the Magic Kingdom sign and then through the transportation and ticket center. The energy level of the spectators there was incredible! Definitely a highlight from the races on both Saturday and Sunday. People had some hilarious signs at the TTC that also kept me chuckling. I gave out lots of high fives here.

Then we then came up on the tunnel that takes you past the Contemporary. The DJ on top of the bridge is pretty awesome and keeps your energy level up. Then before I knew it we entered a backstage area and were headed towards Main Street USA! I couldn't believe everything was still decorated for Christmas!

I love making the right hand turn and looking down at all of the incredible spectators cheering on Main Street. Running towards the castle is the cherry on top. We stopped for a picture with the castle and Em saw a group of girls taking a picture with the castle and said, "Isn't that Liz?!" I was so excited to find one of my high school friends in the middle of Magic Kingdom. She was running her first half and doing an awesome job! We saw her several others times throughout the race too. Side note: She is now hooked on distance running and runDisney (it just happens!). 

Liz Selfie!

We ran through Tommorrowland and Fantasyland. There were quite a few characters out. I snapped a picture of some random people with the Mime from Tangled. 

 The crowds were ok until we got to the castle where we had to walk because there were so many people. So took the opportunity to take a picture looking down Main Street from the castle. We ran through Liberty Square and Frontierland and then headed out of the park.

We headed past the Grand Floridian and Polynesian and back down World Drive. Genie and Abu were somewhere on World Drive. I took another picture of random people with them. I thought Abu was really creepy looking haha.

I really enjoyed the music that they were blasting between miles 11-12 prior to entering Epcot. They had a large screen with cartoons on it that kind of went with the music.

Right before entering Epcot there was a DJ blasting “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston and that gave me a huge burst of energy and I was ready to finish strong! We dashed through Epcot in what seemed like a few seconds, passed the Gospel Choir and there it was – the finish line! We finished in 2:59:32 and were feeling great! One third of the Goofy Challenge was now complete. After lots of stretching we headed back to the Poly to relax for the rest of the day. 

Cameron ran his own race during the half and was sweaty and cold at the end of the race so he went back to the Poly when he was done. He ran a 1:51:08, less than 2 minutes from his half PR! He was crazy and definitely feeling it the next day.  

I love this half marathon! I think it is near and dear to me because I ran this course as my very first half marathon last year. 

Check back for my Marathon recap in the next few days!

That's all for now!


  1. Great recap! It looks like you had fun! The shirts were great. I always find Disney has the best race shirts at whatever race I'm NOT running that year. Lol!

    1. Thanks Jaime, it was so much fun! Haha, I totally agree about the Disney shirts.

  2. Oh man, SO JEALOUS!! I want to do the Disneyland half marathon SO BAD!!

    Anyhoo, I found your blog through a fellow blogger and thought I would stop by and say hi! It would totally make my day if you did the same... or better yet, keep in touch!! <3 -

    1. Thank you Gingi. The Disneyland Half is on my race bucket list too.

  3. Glad you enjoyed the race! So funny that you saw a friend in MK. What are the chances? We stayed at the Poly last year and love it. We actually skipped the first monorail and walked right to the TTC to get on the Epcot monorail. It was pretty convenient! Glad we got to meet you later that day!

  4. Sounds like a fun race! Glad you were able to enjoy it while saving energy for the next day. I think I'd be scared about that in a challenge race.