2013 Disney Marathon Recap Part 1


My alarm jolted me awake at 2:30. Was I dreaming? Was it groundhog day? I was pretty sure I was already up at this crazy hour….but wait. It was Sunday, and I was running double the distance I ran Saturday. By the end of the day I (hopefully) would have completed 39.3 miles and be the proud owner of a 20th anniversary runDisney marathon medal AND a Goofy medal. Today was the day I had been preparing for! We got dressed, same as yesterday, and took photos, same as yesterday before heading out the door.



We ate a quick breakfast and then headed downstairs to head to the starting line.

*Quick back story. Jen and Jeff were supposed to run with us again this day, but Jen’s baby got very sick the night before and they had to take him to the ER, so Jen didn’t end up running, and we didn’t find out Jeff was running until mid way through the race. We were so sad and felt so badly for them!

Bobby and I hitched a ride with some other media folks at 3:30 am, and dropped off our bags at the media tent before catching a golf cart ride to the start line.

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It was weird being on the other side of the starting line, facing the wrong way, but also really cool to be there and get photos before the runners arrived.

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It was still really early, so we hung out, sat around on the ground, stretched, and waited for the runners to start arriving. Before I knew it, Corral A in front of us started filling up, and a lot of cameras and people were arriving around us. It was neat to see people like Jeff Galloway and Joey Fatone get interviewed right by us as we waited.

Joey Fatone getting interviewed

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Bob from runDisney getting interviewed by Joe from the Marathon Show.

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Then, I finally got to see Carissa! I had somehow missed her all weekend. She is a rockstar announcer!

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A little after 5:00, we were ushered in through the front of the corrals into our starting positions. This is a shot of everyone behind us in the corrals.

Me, Sara and Toni in the corral


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Jeff Galloway and some other legends were interviewed on stage, the national anthem was sung, and before I knew it, we were on our way…again!

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Much like yesterday, our goal was to take it nice and slow, and have fun (and take more character photos.) Bobby’s feet have been bothering him for awhile and were hurting during the half, so we didn’t know how he would hold up, so we were very conservative going out. We stayed to the right out of the way of the super speedy folks, and settled into a groove. I even ran into some fellow friends from the #teamrunDisney along the way (hey guys!) in those first few miles.

The first character stop was upon us, and even though there was a long line, we got in it. I didn’t want to keep “waiting” for short lines then end up with no fun photos!


We continued on our way through the dark, stopping at every water stop and taking Powerade and water. I knew I needed to hydrate early, and didn’t want to wait until the sun came up to get in enough fluids.

We made it to the transportation and ticket center, where I spotted Karen’s husband. We yelled and waved, and kept going. (We also stopped here to use a “real” bathroom!) Soon enough, we were making the turn towards the Magic Kingdom again, and I caught a glimpse of the sparkling lights above the main street stores. I couldn’t wait to “relive” my favorite part of the race again, how lucky! We made the turn, and the crowd was even louder than the day before. I was grinning from ear to ear as we made our way towards the castle.



I high fived several strangers as we went, not believing that I was really here, and it was really happening.

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Through Tomorrowland again, with plenty of cast members cheering us on, which I thought was really cute. I spotted a strikingly handsome man and knew we had to get a picture.


Off we went again, excited that we were going to get more character photos as we went through the Magic Kingdom. As we headed towards Fantasyland, we spotted these crazy characters, and I told the Mad Hatter that today was my exact HALF BIRTHDAY! He wished me an unbirthday and off we went.


We rounded the corner and I saw the carousel in the distance, and in front of it near New Fantasyland was Belle and Ariel! We of course had to stand in line for both, even though the Belle line was long because well…she’s my favorite.



Bobby snapped this beautiful picture of Fantasyland as we waited.

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We started running again, and passed up our first characters. The line for royal Minnie and Mickey was about 25 people deep, so we waved and went on through the castle.


The trumpeters were announcing our arrival as we ran underneath them, and out the other side. I was sure to smile for the cameras as we came down the ramp.





Oh yes. I waved with my left hand, and then my right hand. I am THAT cool.

We turned right, following the familiar path I have walked dozens of times with my family, and headed on into Frontierland, where we found a rootin’ tootin’ cowgirl and a trusty steed.


We didn’t stop at the Princesses on the way out of the Magic Kingdom, it had an insanely long line. Sadly, we were now out of the Magic Kingdom and out onto the skinny-impossible-to-pass-people-on road. We plodded along, not fighting to get around people, and were happy when the road opened up a bit near the Grand Floridian. We waved at Mary Poppins, and kept moving forward. By this time, my knee was starting to bug me a bit, so we began our stopping at every med tent for biofreeze, and as needed, Tylenol.

Does this photo look familiar?

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WDW Marathon 2013                        WDW Marathon  2011


I was excited about the next part of the race, which was a new add on this year…running on the Speedway! It was nice to have a change of scenery!

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We had to go down a very steep ramp, and then back up again before entering the speedway. The sun was just coming up over the tree tops, and it was absolutely beautiful.

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We went left immediately upon entering, and made our way around the track. One thing that surprised me was all the cool cars they had lined up around the track. They do the same thing out on the road during the Disneyland half marathon, and it was cool to see it again here.

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We were feeling good and having fun, Goofy here we come!

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We had made it 3/4ths of the way around my track, when I heard my name. It was Jenn, Danielle, and Dan! It was so weird because I ran into them the day before during the half, too!

Danielle & Heather

We chatted for a minute, and off they went, as we stopped at another medical tent. I was dreading the next part, I knew we had several miles of well, nothing, until we got to Animal Kingdom. Bobby and I started playing little mind tricks at this point, like “let’s just make it two more miles” or counting down from 39.3 to see how many miles we had left. it really helped! I was interested to see what characters I would see along the way though, and we were not disappointed! You will have to wait and see who we “ran” into in the second half of my race recap!

QOTD: Do you play mental games with yourself to make the miles go by on long runs or races?

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  1. Such great memories and photos. Thank you!

  2. Love reading about your recap! Great running memory for you and so inspiring!

  3. Great recap! I feel like I’m back re-running it 🙂

  4. Love it! It’s so awesome to relive the marathon through everyone’s recaps!!!

  5. Such a fun recap! LOVE the pics of you by the castle and the shots of Bobby applying Biofreeze. Too funny! The race track looks like so much fun, I hope they keep that part in the race for future years! Can’t wait for part 2 🙂

  6. I love that you split the recap into parts! Cannot wait for the next part!!

  7. So fun!

    Going to Disney is becoming more and more tempting!

  8. Great recap! I’m still absolutely floored that you spotted us out on the course, never expected to hear my name called in a sea of almost 30,000 people. Gotta love the Team #runDisney family!

  9. Laure Simms says

    Love your reports Heather. Look like so much fun. Maybe next year.

  10. Love your recaps. I’m terrified of dropping my iPhone, but want to use it for taking pictures during the race. How do you manage it? And where does your phone disappear to when it’s not in your hand – I don’t see a SPI-belt?

    • i have a lifeproof case on my iphone, so I don’t worry about dropping it (I did during the half!) and I kept it in my half the whole time for both races. 🙂

  11. Christine from We Run Disney says

    Love all of your cute character photos! I keep trying to motivate myself to try Goofy…maybe for the next anniversary!

  12. looks like so much fun! Can’t wait to hear about the rest!

  13. I love reliving the memory of this marathon. This was my first! Thanks for sharing and keeping my own memories fresh in my head!

    I do have to ask though, what is Biofreeze and how does it work? I wonder if that would’ve helped me on my trek…

    • Biofreeze is basically topical pain medicine they had it in huge pumps at the med tents, and we just slathered it directly on the parts of our legs that were aching. 🙂

  14. Love the recap. It makes me want to run! I can’t wait for the next part

  15. Sarah @PickyRunner says

    I love all of these pictures! I need to run one of these races someday soon!

  16. I’m so envious your hubby runs with you!

  17. Great recap!! Love all the pictures!! Can’t wait to read about the second half! 🙂 I definitely play mental games trying to help pass the miles.

  18. Glad we ran in to each other! I actually really liked running around the Speedway (I think I like anything that’s NOT highway!).

    I so wanted a picture with the Royal Mickey and Minnie, but we didn’t wait either : (

  19. Great recap! Love all the character photos! Can’t wait for Part 2! :0)

  20. I love how you always wear running skirts! You’re so adorable. I miss hanging out with you! We’d take fun pictures during one of these races. I’m laughing at the puffy pants on Prince Mickey and wondering how on earth you could run a race after getting up this early. GOOD JOB MISS RUN DISNEY!

Mentioned elsewhere:

  1. 2013 Disney Marathon Recap Part 1 - runningwithsass - SE Ambassadors - VZW Monitor says:

    […]   My alarm jolted me awake at 2:30. Was I dreaming? Was it groundhogs day? I was pretty sure I was already up at this crazy hour….but wait. It was Sunday, and I was running double the distance I ran … Continue reading → …read more […]

  2. […] ← 2013 Disney Marathon Recap Part 1 […]

  3. […] morning! It has taken some time but I feel like I am finally getting my legs back after Goofy’s challenge. (Part two of the marathon coming up tomorrow!) I had a really good run yesterday, and feel like I […]

  4. […] weekend.  Check out some great ones from For the Love of Disney Running…, Shiawase Life, Running With Sass, Pop Fit Life, Westford Mommy, and Food Fitness Fantasy.  I love reading everyone’s […]

  5. […] left off part one of the Disney marathon with us leaving the speedway and heading into the more low key part of the race where we were […]

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