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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Walt Disney World Marathon 2013 Race Report Part II

It’s four month’s late, but I’ve finally finished Part II.  Go here for Part I of the Walt Disney World Marathon 2013 Race Report.

We left off Part I of the Walt Disney World Marathon 2013 Race Report with me leaving the Magic Kingdom and heading towards the Animal Kingdom.  Before reaching the Animal Kingdom, we had a short stop off at the Walt Disney World Speedway.  Coming through a tunnel, we emerged onto the track to see probably over 100 classic and modern race cars lining the track.  Looping around the track, this was the first really good view of the field ahead of me.  Packed to the hilt with runners of all sizes, colors, and fitness levels, truly an amazingly diverse group of racers!

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I enjoyed seeing all the different cars, taking some photos here and there, but I wanted to keep moving, that is, until I ran into Mater from Disney’s Cars.  Of course I just had to stop for a photo with the ole clunker. :)  Lightning McQueen and Finn McMissle were right next to Mater, but I didn’t want to spend too much time, so I skipped on them, and headed out of the raceway and towards Animal Kingdom. 

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There wasn’t much too look at for a couple of miles, until I started to notice something foul in the air.  Looking around for the culprit, I realized it was the sewage treatment facility.  Yeah, it stank!  Picking up some speed, I high-tailed it away from that mess! 

Arriving into the backside of the Animal Kingdom, there was a line of animals and their trainers waiting to greet us.  I still had not fully jumped into Disney Spirit, but I stopped for a few photo shots with some animals before heading into the park. 

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Animal Kingdom is by far my favorite Disney Park.  I’m a Nature Nut, and the feel of the park is nothing short of a world wind tour safari.  First stop, Mount Everest, and another potty break (Really!!  My first marathon I didn’t stop but once.  My second marathon, only a couple of times. This marathon, I’ve stopped like it was the only potty on the whole course!).  As I was heading away from the Everest section, I noticed the rollercoaster was going, and people were on it.  DAMNIT! The park was closed.  Those WERE runners!  I gave it a brief pause to turn around and run the 1/8th a mile or so to the entrance, but decided to press on in the hopes that the Tower of Terror would be open.  In hindsight, I should have gone for it! 

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I saw Minnie Mouse, and just had to take a photo.  Right after getting one with her, Daisy Duck came out, and got one with both of them. Pressing on, I came to the entrance of the park, and they were just beginning to let people in.  There was a large line of spectators/park goers cheering us on.  Another fantastic part of the race.  From here, it was a long trek over to the ESPN Complex. 

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The trek to ESPN seemed rather long.  I didn’t study the course enough to know at what mile point I entered the park, so I just kept trudging along.  Jen was awaiting me here, and I was excited to see her.  After what seemed like forever on the plain jane roads outside the parks, we entered into the park.  I also didn’t know how long we would be winding through it before hitting the big stadium.  I kept thinking it was around the bend but it wasn’t.  Through several training fields, around an outdoor track, and more training fields, and we finally hit the stadium.  Jen was at the bottom of the grandstands and I meet up with her for a couple of minutes rest.  We were expecting a big surprise at mile 20 and everyone seemed to think it was in the stadium, it wasn’t, we had about 1/2 a mile to the 20 mile mark.  The big thing at the stadium was live video of runners on the Jumbotron.  After saying “hi” and “Bye” I was off around the outfield and out of the ESPN Complex. 

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Shortly, we hit the 20 mile mark.  Lots of characters, including Mickey and Friends dancing up on a stage.  Not as impressive as the made it out to be.  We had a good couple of miles to Hollywood Studio’s, where I was hoping to redeem myself for not riding Everest.  I was fairly certain that the course ran near the Tower of Terror, and I was determined to hop a ride.  The crowd was still quite thick along the road and I was having a difficult time trying to pass runners.  Gaining ground was just not an option through here.  I estimated that at any given moment, 75% of the runners were walking. It was worse than the Army Ten miler crowds because at least with that heavy crowd, the majority of people are running. 

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We entered the Hollywood Studio’s park along the Studio Backlot tour.  I’ve always liked this ride, and enjoyed seeing all the memorabilia from movies gone by.  Much to my dismay, we did not make the left and head towards the Tower of Terror. Instead, we ran through the heart of the park.  Somewhere along the way, I came across someone dressed as Princess Leia. Given my Yoda hat, I just had to strike up a conversation.  She was quite friendly, and offered me to join in a special event at the 25 mile mark.  I thanked her, but somewhere along the way, she strayed behind.  I didn’t expect to see her again. 

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We left the park and followed the Epcot Resorts – Hollywood Studio’s Connector Path. I didn’t realize how close these two parks were. This stretch had the biggest amount of gridlock on the course, and most everyone was walking. Grrr!! Somewhere along this stretch, I met back up with Princess Leia, and she said to stick with me to get the royal treatment. I obliged. :)

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Finally we came into Epcot, the final park, and a little over one mile to go.  Hitting the2 5 mile mark, Princess Leia was true to her word.  A tent for a group called “Run Disney to Eat Disney”.  For those that sign up, the have to eat three pieces of bacon and they get another medal.  I didn’t sign up, so no medal for me, but I had some bacon and a glass of beer while Princess Leia (The groups leader) was interviewed by Run Disney!  I didn’t get the chance to thank her, as she was being interviewed, but I found her on Facebook and did. 

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DSC06474From here, it’s a loop around the countries, by the Ball, and out the front gate to the finish line.  The crowd was fantastic.  Cheering us all on. After leaving the countries I realized I was running behind a guy dressed as Elvis.  It was quite comical.  Apparently he was pacing a group and kept turning around giving them words of encouragement.  I stuck behind him through the end.  Through the finish, I got my medal and found Jen.  That last mile was a struggle, but I ran nearly all of it.

 

 

 

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We hopped the bus back to the car, returned to the hotel, and promptly took a long nap. 

The following day we chilled in the hotel room about half the day, then went to Animal Kingdom and enjoyed the animals and food. 

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After that, we headed to Downtown Disney for a drink and some music. We ran into a guy we saw here on Friday night.  He’s a flamboyant older gentleman that apparently enjoys dressing up and dancing around crowds.  I wish I was as carefree.

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All in all, this was a great race.  I finished in 6:27:58.  Calculating all the stops I made for photos with characters, I estimated I was standing in line well over an hour, so had I not done that, this would have been a PR.  But also, had I not done that, I would not have embraced the spirit that is a Disney running event.  I don’t foresee this being the last of my Disney Runs.  Hopefully in a few years, we will return and be able to run it together.

Some “official” photos.

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