20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon: 6 1/2 Hours and 27.3 Miles Worth Race Recap

bling (2)What a run and what a day, a really long day.    I would have liked to say to my time was a faster but being Disney, I also realized I only had 3 goals for this run:

  • Ride Expedition Everest
  • Finish
  • Collect the Bling

In this regards I was 100% successful!  I even got to meet one of my motivators to keep running Jeff Galloway at the running expo.  It was great to get to tell him thank you and meet him face to face.  I was also able to register for the Disneyland half marathon and the Dumbo Double Dare, so I will be getting some other bling in September.  This run meant to me more than just a shiny metal (although wickedly cool), it was a culmination of getting back to running and a year of recovery.  You can read about that here: A Year of Recovery and A Year of Altra.  In part making it through training and toeing the line at 4:30am I knew it was all worth it.  I have never been more ready to run then I was that morning, my training went really well and felt good.  With my 3 goals firmly in my brain we got ready to run! 

Wake up was the same as previous years, 2:45am and was on my monorail by 3:30 am to get to the start line.  What was most interesting was the 10PM water show that happened at my airport, woke me right up.  I think I had gotten a total of 3 hours sleep before the run.  So off to the race retreat I went to connected with my friends and other members of the P.A.C.E Labs race team.  It was great to meet them in the am.  They even talked me out of wearing my music in hind sight turned out to be a great thing.  After we got together, off we went to the race line and began the long walk to get ready to run.   The energy at the start line was more than I expected and you could feel me and 25,000 of my closest friends were ready to go. 

SAM_0302While this was my 3rd time running in Disney, this was by far the hottest day I have run at Disney.  Someone mentioned this was the hottest run they had in the past 10 years and boy do I believe it!  If you had followed my runs in the past the temperatures at the start of the run was close to 35 degrees Fahrenheit and would rise to about 65 degrees Fahrenheit.  Now that is perfect running weather.  However, the morning of the run the starting temperature was right around 65 degrees Fahrenheit and when I was done running 6:34 minutes later it was closing in on 89 degrees Fahrenheit with high humidity.  I knew at the start line it was going to be a long day, and as my good friend Lori’s husband mentioned he never saw more marathoners suffering at the end of the run.

The new course got us to the Magic Kingdom right around mile 6, in previous years this was around mile 13, so we got to have some fun a lot earlier the run.  The park was great and good way to start the run.  Got some nice pictures but the lines for the characters was the longest I had seen ever during the race.  We did not stop at as many characters as I would have liked, but I think if I would have stopped like I did in the past, I would most likely still be running right now.   Our next stop on the run was the speedway, which was pretty nice seeing all the cool cars, however the entrance into the race track was not safe to run.  With all the people at the beginning of the downhill ramp, we had no choice but to walk into the race track.  It was a good addition to the run, I hope for future runs that they get rid of the hill to enter the track.  The only part of the run I did not feel safe on.

SAM_0306After the race track it was on to Animal Kingdom and one of my race goals.  The goal was ride Expedition Everest, with the course change this year, I was not sure I was going to be able to make this one.  I was not sure the roller coaster was going to be open that early in the morning.  In prior courses Expedition Everest was later in the course and saw several runners jumping onto the ride.  So as we rounded the corned and could see Expedition Everest was running, there was a huge excitement in the air.   Lori, Kendra (new Galloway friend) and I all headed to the roller coaster.  What a rush, and I am sure this is why my marathon was 27.3 miles.  What is even cooler if you look at my Garmin data below, checkout mile 13.52 where I was running at 40.5 mph.  Smile 

What a way to cross the 1/2 marathon mark by riding a roller coaster!  I was all jacked up and ready for the next 13.  I also knew the next several miles until about mile 23 there would not be any parks until we got to Hollywood Studios.  This is where the course changes provided a long gap in running.  If the weather had not been too hot, I am sure Disney would have had more characters and distractions along the way.  Talking with other folks that finished before me before the heat really hit mentioned there were quite a few things out.  I just did not see them.  This is also where we had a new course edition at the Espn Wide World of Sports.  I really liked the trails at this portion of the run and was better the years previous turn around.

SAM_0307It was also around this time at about mile 17 I started feeling off.  I was feeling weak, although my legs felt good, and cardio was fine, I was not recovering really well.  I had taken water at every water stop, and I began to have a sneaky feeling that I was getting dehydrated.  Worse yet, I really wanted to brush my teeth, my mouth felt sticky and I could not clear it.  I mentioned this to my friend Lori and we agreed I was dehydrated.  So I knew it was not a mental wall, more importantly had I been listening to music, I may not have really noticed until much later in the run that I was in trouble.  This really could have caused bigger issues.  So not wanting  a free ride in an ambulance, I decided to just start walking, and I walked about the next 6 miles. 

At this point I just wanted to finish and sit.  I was very happy I was to finish running the last 3 miles via the Galloway method, but it was rough going.  I do not remember much about those 3 miles, but I do remember taking a picture with Ralph.  I was able to finish and I was a little foggy.  I had made it back to the race retreat, connected with Jimmy as we waited for our friend Dan to finish his first marathon (which he did).  As I was sitting there Dan had asked me how long I had been there, my answer was about 10 minutes.  I was quickly corrected by Jimmy, I had been there for about 1/2 hour.  So I was out of it but recovering.  A huge thank you to one of my new loves, Kelly, as I was sitting there she took care of me and brought me water, Gatorade, bacon and potatoes.  Got to love a women who brings you bacon, and I am sure I told her that.  I think they give medals for that!

So I had survived the marathon and I was able to get running fully back in my life.  I was more than a little frustrated I got dehydrated but made my three goals! 

So what are some of the lessons I learned from this run:

  • Drink even more water before the run, I think this is self explanatory, but walking in the parks, coupled with the weather before the run wore me down more than I thought.  Ultimately I think this is what really got me on the run, I did not drink enough water during the beginning of vacation. 
  • While 80 degree makes for a great vacation weather, it does make for a hot run.
  • Look to the color of your shirt, looking at the couple of early pictures I took, my shirt was a different color than my running partners.  I was sweating a lot and not taking enough in
  • Great training can get you through a bad day.  This was probably the best training I have had for a marathon, and really paid off.  I hate to think of where I may have been had I not trained as hard as I did.
  • Having a Cold right before the run does not help to keep you hydrated.  I was fighting off a cold for almost 2 weeks before Disney, this could have factored in as well.
  • Running with friends is so much more fun than running by yourself!  A huge thank you to Lori for sticking with me as I was dealing with my dehydration.  More importantly having someone to bounce ideas off really helped me get through it.
  • Riding a roller coaster really improves your time!

So here is the run:   


So what’s next for me, simple lose weight.  While my cardio is solid, I am carry too much and I expect to be much slimmer for the Disneyland 1/2 marathon and 10K weekend.  If you have any questions about running in Disney or about my training, drop me a line!  God Bless and have a fantastic day.

Comments (2)

  1. Pearl Quan says:

    A little late… but I was waiting for you post and I guess I missed it!   Congratulations!   Love reading your recap of the race…. It did make me really jealous but I am now REALLY looking forward to Goofy 10th Anniversary… especially since I just saw someone who came back from Disney 1/2 Marathon princess which was really cool medal..   Keep running and I am going to try and pick up and do more running so I will be ready for 10th year Goofy!

  2. Anonymous says:

    So I know this is very late, but wow what a year! I had a great year of running in 2013, and all of my runs in my Provision 1.5 by Altra, still the best shoe on the planet. As you can see from my bling board I did a lot of running.

    One thing I really

Skip to main content