After burning my legs during the 10k and spending 3 days already in the parks my plan for the Goofy Challenge days was to take things easy and have as much fun as possible. Wake up came early again and we made it to the staging area by 4:30. After stopping by to visit at the St. Jude Heroes tent we made our way along the trek to the starting corrals. For the half and full marathons I was starting in Corral C. After watching the first 2 corrals start it was our turn to get moving.
The course starts very slow with not much to look at along the highway, before wrapping around the WDW Speedway at mile 3 and not actually entering the Magic Kingdom until just after Mile 5. During the first mile of the run I caught up to runDisney training guru & former Olympic Marathoner Jeff Galloway! He was running 15 second walk/run intervals so I tagged along when I saw him just to say hello and ask a few questions. I ended up running with him for over 5 miles! We exchanged stories, his were much more interesting, discussed his run/walk training method, the reasoning behind his never stretch mindset, how distance running has evolved, and why we started running Disney events. It was by far the most interesting conversation I’ve had during an event and I was sad to see the moment slip away after entering the Magic Kingdom. I’m a sucker for photo stops and when Buzz Lightyear was on course in Tomorrowland I had toupee loft course to get in line, I never saw Jeff along the course the rest of the way to the finish.
The Magic Kingdom section of the course is by far the prettiest section. It runs through Tomorrowland, Fantasyland, through the center of Cinderella’s castle, and into Frontier Land before shooting back out on to the highway. A lot is crammed into that 1 mile stretch. Several character stops are all set back to back and the castle is illuminated.
After leaving the Kingdom we ran miles 7-11 getting back to Epcot. Stopping along the way for a few pictures and met a few friends from Instagram who recognized me by my beard, apparently it’s quite recognizable. I had a great interaction with Mary Poppins, I asked for a high five and was told very politely that a true lady shakes hands.
The half marathon is the only race of the weekend that does not feature any part of the World Showcase, it’s a let down to come in through the west side of Epcot and basically run a back and forth route for just under a mile to the lagoon and back out to the finish chute.
After crossing the finish line I kept moving quick through the medal lines and post race pictures to try to get to the line for Dopey pictures. After standing and waiting for a few minutes I took my 3rd picture of the weekend and was off to the shuttle to head back to Coronado for a shower and a nap before heading out for another day in the parks.