The Disney Wine and Dine “Half” Marathon was an interesting experience to say the least. I have decided that this race recap will be in two parts. I will be sharing part 2 tomorrow.
The race was a night event which was a little different experience for me and I’m not quite sure I like racing at night. We got up on Saturday morning and left our resort. Disney makes everything really easy if you stay on property. We took a resort bus to the race expo at ESPN Wide World of Sports.
We got to the expo around 10am and picked up our bibs. I was in F corral and the Mr. was in L, so we decided we would be running in L. We didn’t waste much time at the expo. I knew I wasn’t looking to buy any race merchandise this race, although there was plenty of awesome stuff.
After the expo we went back to the resort and dropped our bags then headed to Hollywood Studios. It’s a fairly small park, but we managed to have some fun. We rode Star Tours, the Great Movie Ride and watched the 3D Muppets show. I didn’t want us to wear ourselves out on the day of the race, so these attractions were perfect. I didn’t like the idea of our brains and stomachs being jumbled from Tower of Terror or Rock n Roller Coaster.
I had made reservations at 3:30pm at Mama Melrose’s so we enjoyed a pasta lunch/dinner. The Mr. ordered spaghetti with red sauce and grilled chicken and I had papperdelle pasta with butternut squash, cremini mushrooms and truffle oil. The breadsticks that they brought to our table were delicious too so I packed them for later. The meal was incredible and I have already made a note of this place. We will be eating here again.
We left Hollywood Studios and headed back to our resort for some much needed rest. We tried our best to stay off our feet while still having a good time, but the heat was horrible. It was over 90 degrees with a feels like temp of almost 100 degrees. We toted a big water bottle around and took breaks for walking as much as we could. I didn’t want to go into the race dehydrated.
The Mr. took a nap and I tried to get some sleep. I got flat Alaina all ready to go. I wanted to make us costumes for this race, but it didn’t happen so I decided to wear my Minnie ears with some clothes I already had.
We headed to the front of the resort to catch the bus to the start of the race at Wide World of Sports. Disney usually always has a sort of pre party before every heads to their corrals. There was a DJ with loud music and colorful lights everywhere. I plan on doing a film recap of the race for ya’ll so I shot some footage and we just sat around. Suddenly the wind started picking up and the next thing I know everyone is walking toward the stadium within Wide World of Sports. I think it started sprinkling, but it wasn’t anything I was worried about.
We got to the stadium and sat. And we sat some more. The race staff played lots of popular music over the speaker system, but everyone someone would come on to make an announcement no one could hear anything. It was horrible. There was no transparency whatsoever and there was still no rain. We saw a little bit of lightning but that was it.
Everyone started walking back toward the race start and so naturally everyone followed. There was no announcement and we literally had no idea what was going on. Instead of the staff asking us to get to our corrals we were back in the “holding tank” area by the DJ and portajohns.
It was ridiculous. The race was delayed by a bit this time, but nothing anyone was concerned about. We were all angry that so much time was wasted getting everyone from the “holding tank” area to the corrals when we could have been there 20 minutes earlier if they would have pushed us there after we left the stadium. It was a mess. They kept making announcements, but no one could hear anything over the DJ that was still playing loud music.
They shuffled us to our corrals through one opening in the fence. I kid you not, one opening for a huge number of people that was the size of double doors. We were all angry enough with the delays, but then they made another announcement. It was still impossible to hear anything, but I picked up that the race course had been modified for our safety. I said it outloud and some runners in front of us said, “yea, they cut out 6 miles”. I was in shock! We were only starting one hour behind schedule. Just one hour and the afterparty didn’t close until 4am.
There is so much more that went wrong with this race. It took another hour for them to get to our corral. One hour. Just as an example, I was in the second to last corral for the Chicago Marathon (35,000 runners) and we started the race 30 minutes after the elites. The Mr. and I were in the last corral, but it was crazy to look around and see other runners just like us. I am talking about runners that have ran other races and were sporting other race tech shirts. These were not newbie runners. The Mr. is a newbie runner, yes but most races take pace into account when they place you in a corral. Disney still has a long way to go with corral placement, but I will talk more about that tomorrow in part 2.
This “half” marathon didn’t start out on a good foot. Make sure you check back tomorrow to see how it turns out.