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Once again I had a major life moment at Disney World — along with about 50,000 other people.
I drove in the evening before the half marathon, which turned out to work really well. I arrived Friday evening and joined some of my friends for dinner at Beaches & Cream. This was a perfect way to take the edge off the nerves with laughter and French fries.
I paid extra for the Runners Retreat. That was money well spent. At 3:00 AM the Runners Retreat opened. The Runners Retreat is a heated tent with food, beverages, tables and chairs, Disney characters & stretching area. Other than running 13.1 miles, and getting up in the middle of the night, the hardest part of Disney races is the hours of standing around before the race. I sat in the Runners Retreat until they made us leave to go get in our corrals.
After I had crossed the finish line and hung my precious Donald Duck medal around my neck, chatted with my stud muffin friends Laurel (who finished the race almost an hour before me and turned around the next day and ran the Marathon. Wow! ) and Len (who ran the Marathon) I headed back to the Runners Retreat. A hot breakfast buffet was available along with a variety of beverages. It was delicious. I don’t even eat sausage and I loved the sausage. You could also pay $1 per minute for a massage. The line was too long so I didn’t get one. I loved the Runners Retreat and will do it again. I’ll start saving now for next year.
The January half marathon course is the same as the Princess with one big difference. You run longer in the dark during January Marathon Weekend. Our race began at 5:30 AM. It was a good hour before the sun came up.
I wasn’t part of a team and I really wish that I was. After 3 half marathons I have realized the camaraderie & encouragement among the runners is what makes these endurance events fun. I loved Marathon Weekend. All the finishers wore their medals around for days after the races. We’d pass each other and say, “Congratulations,” or just give the knowing smile. Running bonds people.
What a thrill it was to accomplish a goal that I never dreamed I could accomplish in the place I love so much. I almost didn’t register for Marathon Weekend. I am so glad I did. The spirit that runs through Disney World during Marathon Weekend is just a little different & very special – not just for the runners, but for the people that cheered from the sidelines. It was a victory for all.
I would love to hear about your experience.
You can follow me on Twitter @Caroline251