Disney World Marathon Weekend 10th & 11th January 2009
The Disney marathon weekend was our first race of the year, Stanley and I headed out on Thursday in order to make registration on Friday. The marathon weekend consists of the following main events:
DISNEYS DONALD DUCK HALF MARATHON
DISNEYS MICKEY MARATHON
RUN FOR YOUR EARS!!
DISNEYS GOOFY CHALLENGE
26.2 + 13.1 = GOOFY
Stanley was registered for the Mickey Marathon hoping to beat his time from last year while I had signed for the Goofy challenge running both the half marathon on Saturday and the full on Sunday. This was to be a first for me after running the Marathon in Disney last year.
Friday was registration and we went and collected our chips, shirts , handed in our waivers and of course toured the expo. We were given bands of assorted colors representing the different entrances required. I had signed us up for the runners retreat which alllows you access both pre and post race to a heated tent area. This is carpeted, supplies pre and post race food and drinks, seating, massage, baggage claim and the al important porta potties. Limited to 500 people this area is well worth the extra expense!
Saturday morning the last bus left my hotel at 3am, entrance to the race area closed at 3.45am on arrival I checked into the retreat ate breakfast, checked in my bag and looked around for the other goofy runners. In a feild of 12900, 4000 were Goofy, so almost a third of the feild was going as Goofy as I was:-) at 5am we were marshalled down to the start line half a mile away were we slotted into the various corrals, the atmosphere was electric which in a small way helped just how cold it was 43 degrees!!! In usual disney style we were counted down by the Disney team and magnificent fireworks and the gun went off thousands of lights hit the sky with the final explosion and we were off. The race winds through 3 of the Disney parks, Epcot, Magic Kingdom and animal Kingdom finishing opposite the initial congregation area. With the true precision that is Disney fully loaded aid stations and medical tents, mile markers with clocks, Characters spectators and the sharpie thought provoking boards posted all along the way. All was going well and I felt amazing and seeing mile 12 was just wonderfull until........ another challenger patted me on my back and said "way to go goofy, only 27 more miles to go....." the realisation hit, I was doing all this again tomorrow! Crossing the finish line in a PB time with my Donald Duck medal shattered any doubts I had. I was a third of the distance down and just needed to get some rest and prepare for tomorrow. After receiving my medal I headed to the goofy tent to have my half marathon band removed and have it replaced with a full marathon one this was scanned and I was ready to go. My band now blue but still goofy I headed onto the bus back to the hotel. The different color bands seemed a little over the top at that stage but I was soon thankful for them. Todays were Green for the half marathon runners, Orange for Goofy. Tomorrow would be Blue for Goofy and Yellow for the marathon.
Sunday morning started the same time same place but this time Stanley was with me and the feild had ballooned to 22000. Stanley and I were not corralled together and we had already discussed that we would not run together, Stanley was out there for a PB of 5hrs and I just wanted to finish my first Goofy, knowing I had to take it easy if I was to complete the remaining 26.2 of my 39.3 mile race. With the same finnese as yesterday we were off at 5.45am, Stanley's race was just amazing only his second marathon and with training like only Stanley can! he headed out onto the feild at the half marathon stage he had slashed his Anguilla time by 26 minutes! and was going strong. At mile 21 his knee started to give him problems and the last 6k reduced his speed but he still managed to pass that finish line looking amazing at 5hrs and 14 seconds, with a smile and a Mickey medal around his neck he headed for the retreat to wait for me. I was busy behind him watching my mile pace dilligently, knowing this was a timed course and they do "sweep" you if you drop under a 16 minute mile. In the early miles this was not a problem but running on tired legs from the start I knew that the later miles would be tough. At mile 15 my body really started to complain over a marathon in the last 26 hours my body was not appreciating the pressure I was putting it under! by Mile 20 it was tough there is nbo other way to describe it but my saving grace was the bands. I just looked ahead until i saw a blue band, ran up to the said "hey goofy" and stayed with them until they outpaced me or I outpaced them. As usual I met the most amazing people including a 76 year old on his 4th goofy and 48th Marathon. No sweeter feeling as I hit the finishing shute this was it I had done it, I was trully Goofy, my mickey medal round my neck I headed once more to the Goofy tent and proudly handed over my blue band for my Goofy medal.
An amazing weekend, one I would do again in a heartbeat but maybe not this week............