Wayyyyy back in April 2013, I decided that I was interested in the new “Minnie” 10K during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. As an avid runner, many asked if I was interested in that other inaugural event for 2014 – the Dopey Challenge (5K, 10K, 13.1, and 26.2 – a race a day) – to which I adamantly refused (see my post on that here). After all, I had just completed the 20th anniversary full marathon months before, and though it was an incredible experience, (I even declared it “the Best Day Ever“) I decided, back then, that I wanted to keep that memory frozen in time for a while. Plus, the 2011 Walt Disney World Half was my first 13.1 distance ever, which would forever solidify the “special-ness.” Still, I knew I couldn’t resist the magic of the race weekend, so running the 10K sounded like a great way to enhance my Marathon Weekend memories, so it was settled.
Fast forward to the end of 2013 – my good friend Dani (who, in fact is running the Dopey Challenge as I type this – you go, girl!) and I were chatting about the races, and we decided to run the 10K together! She was going to dress as Tinkerbell (she actually has a costume each day) and so I began to craft my Tiger Lily costume. We didn’t have a time goal, other than to keep the pace nice and easy for her legs to be fresh, so it was going to be a totally fun run. I didn’t even wear a Garmin!
On race morning, I woke before my 2:45 AM alarm (ouch) and prepped my costume before heading down to meet my friend Marc. We were staying at the Villas at the Grand Floridian (review on that coming soon) so we would be taking the monorail to Epcot and the race start. It was a nice, empty monorail ride!!
Once we arrived at Epcot, we headed over to the runner’s area and the “Race Retreat” tent to meet some of our pals with Team #runDisney, and I texted Dani so we could meet up, too! It was nice talking with some friends (and meeting new ones) but before we knew it, it was time to start walking to our corrals and hitting the portapotties!
The portapotties by the corral staging areas were plentiful, so we didn’t have to wait long at all (bonus). In our Corral, I ran into some friends too, which is one of my favorite things about these races (Hi, Beth! Hi, Matt!)
The temperature at the start of the race was pretty mild (probably in the high 60’s) but the humidity was, as it often is, in Florida, already out of control. I was thankful to have chosen to wear a tank and shorts (and Sparkle Athletic skirt, of course).
After a second quick trip to the portapotties, Dani and I “sashayed” our way to about halfway through our Corral as it began moving toward the race start. We saw Christine and Pam, so that was a nice sunshiny way to get moving!! After the wheelchair start, we were off on our magical 6.2 mile journey around the Epcot resort area.
The course itself was pretty simple – a jaunt through, and then out of the Epcot parking lot, then on some access roads to head out and around into the park by China (in the World Showcase), around toward International Gateway, out of the park, a loop around the Boardwalk area, back into Epcot’s backstage area, back in the park by the Imagination pavilion, then through Future World, crossing the main entrance area, and out to the parking lot again. Since the race started at 5:30 AM, it was still dark when we completed the race, so for those with less experience in Epcot (particularly in the backstage areas) you probably didn’t feel like you “saw” much. However, it gave me a nostalgic feeling, as I had spent nearly three years working in various roles there, so I felt a tinge of emotion as I remembered the many hours there.
Crossing the finish line is always a thrill – whether it’s a runDisney event or not – but there definitely is a magical feeling to see runners of all ages, sizes, shapes, abilities – costumed, or not, hurdling across. The picture doesn’t seem to be loaded yet, but Dani and I opted to do the hand holding triumphant post, so here’s hoping it comes out!
It’s been a long time since I ran a 10K race (well, the last one was at Disneyland) so this felt REALLY short! A good thing, I suppose for all of those Dopey runners, but I was honestly surprised how few characters were on the course! Dani and I stopped for them all, but somehow, we missed a few that I heard about later (Mushu and Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum). Overall, it was a great experience, however, and the bling was pretty adorable.
Since there are SO many races to run, I will likely not run this one again, but I would definitely recommend it to someone interested in bridging the gap between a 5K and a half marathon. The distance is long enough to be a challenge, but short enough to be in reach for most athletic abilities. As for the event itself, a few PROS and CONS…
- It starts so early 😉
- The course isn’t super exciting. Access roads with little/no entertainment, which is a stark contrast to the night races like Tower of Terror 10-Miler and Wine & Dine Half.
- The price tag – I registered on the first day I could, back in April, and even with my DVC discount, it was $101.
- The swag is awesome! This year, runDisney switched to gender-specific tees, so the LS Minnie 10K shirt is not only wearable, but cute.
- The spectator support – even at 0’Dark Thirty, there were tons of people out and cheering along the road, the Boardwalk, and of course, at the finish line. You can’t help but feel like a rockstar when you hear those roaring crowds!
- Best people ever! I love seeing all my friends that I’ve made with runDisney, and it’s great to catch up with people on the course, giving you a total “small world” feeling
…and really, I am just a big ol’ sucker for race pics with Spaceship Earth as a backdrop. I mean, c’mon – it’s enough to make me keep coming back…for Goofy 2015, perhaps? 😉
Did you run any of the events of the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend?