Walt Disney World Marathon - RunMarathon

View Member's Race Log View other race reports
Orlando, Florida
United States
Walt Disney World Endurance Sports
Total Time = 3h 52m 10s
Overall Rank = 1433/13466
Age Group = F35-39
Age Group Rank = 57/1130
Pre-race routine:

I am writing this review almost a year after the fact, so some of the details are fuzzy. I finally decided that my first marathon was worth a write-up, so here goes...

This race was the cap on a nice vacation. We rented a large house in Orlando with several relatives. My cousin Steve was doing the marathon and his wife did the half the day before. We spent the day before the marathon at the Magic Kingdom. Dinner was Carrabba's.

My only real goal for this race was to finish under 4 hours. I had trained for a 3:45 pace, but I didn't think I was quite there yet. Since this was my first marathon, I also had no idea what I would feel like when I hit 20+ miles (I had done a couple 20s in training). I had talked to a couple people who had run marathons and felt great at the half, were ahead of their half PRs, and then completely fell apart later in the race. I planned to run with the 4-hour group for a little while, then pull ahead if I felt good.

The house was about 30 minutes from the park, so we set the alarms for 3. The race started at 5:35! I made some black tea and had a banana and some peanut butter before leaving the house. Steve was living in Orlando at the time and he took care of the driving, which was nice.

I had read several race reports on marathonguide.com, so I had a pretty good idea what to expect come race day. One wild card was the weather. Some years the race had been hot and others the starting temperatures were sub-freezing. Fortunately, weather reports promised a 50 degree start.

Cars were streaming into the park, but I don't think we were held up to long. I ate a Luna bar before leaving the car. There are large televisions and music in the lot where we parked. Racers need to walk about a half mile to get to the starting corrals. Several port-o-potties are set up in between the two. There were some lines, but we got to use the facilities in a reasonable time (this was my second go of the morning, but it wasn't as good as I was hoping for). I took my Chocolate Cherry Clif shot about 15 minutes before the start.

I was in Corral B and Steve was in one of the later ones, so we said goodbye. I had positioned myself about midway in the group when I felt a Very Strong Urge to go again. There weren't any potties here, but there was a grassy area that sloped downward. I noticed that some other people were down there and I had headed down there too. The third time was the charm.
Event warmup:

Not much. I tossed all my warm clothes except for my gloves a few minutes before the start. The A Corral people were started with fireworks and cheers from Disney characters. We moved up and were started with the same fanfare a few minutes later.
  • 3h 52m 10s
  • 26.2 miles
  • 08m 52s  min/mile

There were several people in front of me, so my first mile was slow. I don't think this was a bad thing because it kept me in check. I had my MP3 player with me. I had never raced with music, but I thought it might be nice for the marathon. The songs in the first couple hours of my playlist were smooth and flowing. I put more uptempo and aggressive music toward the end.

Most of this course is very flat (overpasses are the main exception), which was nice for pacing. The majority of the course is not in the parks, but on connecting roads. Disney is good about putting characters and other diversions along the way, which was fun. Many of the male runners took advantage of the non-park portions to turn their backs to the road and relieve themselves. Many, many, *many* male runners. I had run 100+ races, but this was a completely different animal.

After my first mile, I was hitting sub-9s with regularity (a 4 hour marathon is a 9:09 pace) and was feeling good. I tossed the gloves around mile 3. I think I saw the 4 hour pacer around mile 8. I ran with them for about half a mile before I decided to pass. I felt like I was really holding myself back to stay with them. The sun was starting to rise as I approached Cinderella's castle. It was an incredible site and I actually got a little misty-eyed.

In the reports I read, some people had complained about sewage smells near the Animal Kindgom, and yes, it was there, but it wasn't too bad. There were some fun little signs with Donald Duck trivia around this area (Donald has been in more cartoons than any other Disney character).

I saw my husband around mile 19. I waved at him and then he saw me and snapped a picture. The course then hit a an out-and-back stretch that some people had complained was boring, but it didn't bother me. Next was a bit of a hill, but the Toy Story green army men were there cheering us on. When I passed mile 20, it was neat to think that each step I took was the farthest I had ever run.

I think the Hollywood Studios portion came after that. I had never visited it or even looked at pictures, and enjoyed seeing it. It was kind of Old Hollywood. The final part was heading back toward Epcot. When I hit 23 miles, I was feeling good and tried to pick up my pace (hey, I know how to run a 5K!) and I got slightly faster. There were some little rollers in the Epcot area, but there were a lot of spectators and cool buildings to look at. Disney put our names on our bibs, and I got some personal cheers.

There was a gospel choir (mile 26?) toward the end, which was really uplifting. I was still feeling pretty strong and overwhelmed that I was almost done with a marathon. I was also going to break 4 hours easily. I saw Minnie near the finish line and ran toward her to give her a hi-five as I crossed. Kudos to the folks in those costumes - they jumped around very energetically. The characters took turns manning the finish line.

When I as I approached the finish, I felt like I could have kept running for a few more miles, but I was certainly glad to stop. Once I did stop, though, it was all over. Let the limping begin! It had also gotten warm by this time. The heat hadn't really affected me, but it did get to cousin Steve who finished about an hour later.
What would you do differently?:

Not much, really. I thought it was really good for a first marathon.
Post race
Warm down:

Walk to the medal giver, bag pickup, and reunion area to meet up with Ted. I changed into some fresh clothes.

I didn't notice it until I got back to the house to take my shower, but I had some serious back chafe where my hydration belt had been. It was really bad on the right side. I hadn't even thought to put Body Glide there :/

What limited your ability to perform faster:

Inexperience, lack of marathon fitness.

Event comments:

I chose this race for my first because I knew there would be lots of distractions on the course, and if things went south, I could just chill out and enjoy the characters. The race was well run and fun. I want to come back again some time and do the Goofy Challenge.

Profile Album

Last updated: 2012-12-20 12:00 AM
03:52:10 | 26.2 miles | 08m 52s  min/mile
Age Group: 57/1130
Overall: 1130/13466
Performance: Good
Course: Mostly flat paced road that winds through the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and Epcot.
Keeping cool Good Drinking Just right
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5