Race number one of Marathon Weekend! The Walt Disney World 5K presented by Cigna. RunDisney describes the 5K as “a great run the in the shadow of Disney’s spectacular Epcot® Theme Park” and it really was.
Like all the (non-kids) races for the weekend, the 5K started at 5:30, and yes that’s A.M.! I set my alarm for 3:30 figuring it would only take me about 15 minutes to get ready and out the door. I had laid out everything the night before so there was no actual thinking required – that’s important at 3:30am with no coffee had yet. In fact, the first thing I did when I woke up was go turn on the pot to let the coffee brew while I got dressed.
I don’t know about you, but when I think of Florida I think hot. Yes, I know January is winter everywhere in the northern hemisphere but still… I think hot when I think Florida. Even knowing it was supposed to be cold, I still forgot to pack most of my winter run gear, because… Florida… hot. Unfortunately, Thursday morning was in the 20s. Yes, Fahrenheit. Yes, really. Well, I didn’t bring my thermal tights, so I decided to wear my dark wash skinny jeans under my skirt. In hindsight I should have gone with the black leggings I wore on the flight down but oh well! I also threw on my black fleece-lined runDisney pullover under my costume tank.
Flaw with my coffee plan: it was too hot to drink and I didn’t have any disposable cups. I didn’t want to bring my nice travel mug with me to the race, because I didn’t want to have to go to gear check. Soooo… I left without my precious coffee!
There was a wait for the bus but it wasn’t too bad. I only stood outside for maybe 5 minutes before getting on. At any one time there was always at least one bus there being loaded! Inside was so nice and toasty, which of course made getting out at Epcot even worse. As we all walked from the bus to the actual staging area, I felt so alone… surrounded by thousands of runners. Every other runDisney race I had ever gone to, Heather was with me. She wasn’t in Disney for this trip! Boo!
Once through security, I found a PhotoPass photographer and got a picture. I call it my “its really cold and I don’t really know why I’m here” picture!
Shortly after that, while I continued to wander around alone, Suzie, a friend from back home, spotted me. It was great to have people to chat with for a bit. I don’t do alone well!
In the corrals things were looking up. No longer alone, surrounded by hundreds if not thousands of people standing very close (which both blocked the wind and generated extra heat! WIN!), and the pre-race hype was on point. Seriously, the music was fun and loud, the MCs were funny, and they had guest speakers talking about various charities that the weekend events support. I really loved the pre-race for the 5K!
Okay, so, the big deal that people were wondering about: fewer corrals with mini wave starts. Honestly, I’m meh about the change. In years past, there would be X amount of corrals, and when one corral started, the whole corral started. All the A corral runners took off together, all the B corral runners took off together, all the C corral runners took off together… you see where I’m going with this? But now, they’re dividing up each corral into groups (and it isn’t official, like the actual corrals are, its just done by volunteers and based on when you arrive there) and so the first section of corral C takes off, then 30 seconds later the second section of corral C takes off, then 30 seconds after that the third section of corral C takes off.
I do think that it helped with some of the crowding at the very beginning of the race, which is good. But I don’t know that it helped that much, and since they’re still doing fireworks and a big send off for each wave, it certainly didn’t help with runDisney’s costs. I think the only reason they’re doing this instead of just having more corrals is that so many people would be upset if they were in corral J instead of corral E section 2. Maybe. I don’t know. I will be interested to see more official stats on all this down the road!
When it was our turn we all took off at a good jog. The first half mile or so was by the buses, and it was miserable. The exhaust was disgusting. After that though it was okay. Still dark, but some really cool costumes were passing me and I was eagerly waiting until we got into Epcot.
Right at the Mile 1 marker, backstage of Test Track, Chip & Dale was out for runners to take pictures with. I didn’t stop, but I was so happy to see the way the line was set up – you passed Chip & Dale and kept going to get to the end of the line. Unfortunately, that was the only character picture line like that. The rest of the lines started before you got to the character, which meant that you either had to get in line and spend that time waiting for someone you might not want to wait for (like… I can see Chip & Dale in the parks, I wasn’t going to take up race time) or you would have to run up, see who it was, and then run back to get in the line. That ish drives me nuts!
Anyway. Moving on… after a little bit of weaving through backstage, we entered the World Showcase! We came out in the Mexico pavilion and turned left. As we entered into Norway there was another character line – it looked like Vikings? I was running at that point and there were lots of people standing around so I’m not certain exactly. We kept inside of the World Showcase all the way through to France and over the bridge, but then turned left to head out the International Gateway. We were only outside the park for a short stretch and then back inside by Canada.
I stopped for a “ball picture”. Sadly, I tried to do a superhero pose (you know, because I was Mrs. Incredible)… sadly, because I don’t pose well. Yeahhhh…
There was a little out and back look toward The Seas with Nemo & Friends that I felt was blah. There was a lot of pushing and shoving from runners around me, and it was dark, and I was just ready to be done at that point. I was tired because of the no coffee thing! But finally it was FINISH LINE TIME!
After the finish line was straight up a cluster… the crowds around the volunteers handing out medals was insane, and then the crowds around the mylar blankets was even worse – and neither were labeled in any way. I actually walked past both and had to turn around to get my medal and then a blanket. Once I had my medal and a heat sheet I went through the food section, and on to the finisher pictures.
Overall I had fun! I would have much preferred to have been with friends for the whole way, but it was fun. There is only so much runDisney can do with the backstage stuff, but running through Epcot was really cool. I still have a dream of doing a runDisney 5K with my family, with all of us dressed as the Incredibles, but in lieu of a family run I’m glad I got to do my own Incredibles 5K.