runDisney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Recap

We all saw the forecast a few days before the race.  We all knew there was a high probability of rain coming in Saturday night.  We all stared at the sky for hours looking to see how things would play out.  Brooklyn & I arrived at the Epcot parking lot around 6:45 pm and met up with our friends Shawn, Missy, & Ginger.  We all made our way to the shuttles and were heading to ESPN WWOS for the race start.  The Runner’s Village was in full swing and after a quick bag check and a meet up with a few Team runDisney we were off to the porta potty lines and into our corrals.  The rain was sprinkling at this point, nothing to heavy.  Ginger & I were both in Corral A and we were one of the lasts to make it into the corral area. After the Star Spangled Banner and a fireworks explosion we were off.

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Ginger had already ran a Tough Mudder earlier that morning and I told her I’d stay with her during the run and we would party together for 13.1 miles through the Disney Parks.  We took Victory Way out of the Wide World of Sports Complex and left on to Osceola Parkway. I was told earlier in the night by a runDisney friend that the rain would dictate whether or not characters would be out for photos.  The first 3 miles were long, dark, and dull.  All highway miles with no characters, no entertainment.  It was disappointing but understandable.  After we crossed the 5k mark we turned into the Animal Kingdom, Rafiki was there greeting runners entering the park perched under an awning for pictures.  For the love of Mickey thank you! Characters would be stationed throughout the Animal Kingdom as often as they could find cover and I knew it would be a great rest of the run.  We stopped for pictures with Rafiki, Pluto, and Timon (I heard King Louie was around too, but we never saw him) before heading out of the park and back on to the highway for a few more dark highway miles.

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We crossed the 10k mark and turned left onto World Drive heading towards Hollywood Studios.  We entered the studios from the north side by the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and the Rock’n Roller Coaster.  Carrie from Sparkle Athletic came speeding past me as we were coming up on the tower, luckily I convinced her to stop for a quick picture with me, those girls rock.  The true highlight of the race was coming around the corner in the studios and seeing the Osborne Lights covering the Streets of America.  What an incredible display! I’ve never been to the parks around Christmas to see them before.  Truly breathtaking to see.  We missed the photo stop with Darth Vader (never saw him, apparently it was dark outside) but we did luck into a photo stop with Buzz & Woody!

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From here to the finish the course follows a very similar (if not identical) pathway as the January WDW half and full Marathons.  We came out of the Studios and onto the pathway wrapping around the lake and onto the Boardwalk in Epcot and around the U.K., Canada side of the Blvd of Nations and into Future World, around Spaceship Earth and into the finish area.

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There were parts of this race that were sprinkled with light rain, parts with heavy fat rain drops, parts with giant puddles, and parts with low light, but by far this was my favorite runDisney race run to date.  The night light atmosphere makes for a great time and weather conditions made it even more memorable.  Ginger was a fantastic race partner and made every mile fun! I can’t wait to run with her more around Disney World in January for the Dopey Challenge!

Official Finish: 2:37:57

Division – 292

Gender – 1976

Overall – 4299

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