Latest reviews by Pamela
This is my second year running this race and both years there have been issues with weather. Running in November in Florida will give you those challenges. In 2014 we had pouring rain, this year we had lightning in the area which caused a first to happen with this race. They had to delay the start.
Before I talk about the race, I'll discuss the expo. This expo is smaller than the Marathon weekend expo, but it does have a lot of good vendors. It is spread out between the two buildings at ESPN Wide World of Sports so you get your bib in one building and then go across to the other building to pick up your shirt at the far end of the merchandise expo. I always arrive late to my races, so i miss out on the good merchandise that is sold as soon as the expo opens. But when I did arrive I was able to pick up a few things that I had my eye on when the Disney Parks Blog announced their race merchandise.
For the race itself, I took a bus from one of the host hotels because you cannot park at ESPN. Similar to Tower of Terror 2 years ago, there was a lot of traffic getting to ESPN so we were on the bus for a long time waiting to arrive. It is best to make sure you are on the first bus heading to ESPN otherwise you do run the risk of arriving too late and not having enough time to enjoy the pre race events.
We enjoyed the pre race events of pictures and hanging out with friends and Rudy and Carissa making announcements and having fun with the ground and then the weather got very strange. A cold wind blew in and you could see lightning in the distance. The announcers stopped announcing and then we were quickly moved to the stadium and ESPN Wide World of Sports buildings for shelter. We remained in that area for close to an hour before we were released and sent back to the runners gathering area and then moved to our corrals. The race, which was to start at 10:00 started after 11:00 instead. Fortunately, we did not encounter any rain while on the course.
Because of the late start, the course was shortened. There are rumors of tree damage and downed limbs in the Animal Kingdom area where part of the storms were. It was also said that because of the hard stop at 4 a.m. in Epcot for the party that the race was shortened so people can still attend the after party with some time left in the early morning hours of the day/night.
runDisney was using Twitter as a way to communicate to runners prior to making official announcements via the loud speakers in the corral area. So while we waited to get into our corral people were already talking about the course change. That was effective because for some reason, the tweets were coming through despite thousands of people trying to get a cell signal in that one area.
The race course itself was good. Instead of running from ESPN to the Animal Kingdom and back to Hollywood studios, the course went straight from ESPN to Hollywood Studios. Therefore, the course was shortened to about half of a half marathon. I didn't mind that because it was extremely hot and humid. If we had to run the entire course I would have felt crappy after the race and I don't think I would have participated in the after party. So I was pleased that we had time to spend especially in the Osborne Light Spectacular area since it is the last year we will see these lights.
After the race we receive cooling towels, water and a banana and then could use our free drink voucher for a beer or a wine. I chose a beer which was Michelob Ultralight. After meeting friends and having our drink we went to Epcot, but needed to go through a bag check area. This could or should be avoided if we had already been checked prior to the race, I wish that this area could be eliminated for runners to allow us to get right into the park. It was a good 15 minute wait in line to get through to the park.
The after party was fun. Many food stations were open all along the World Showcase and there were several runners participating. There were also live bands playing. I stayed until the end of the party and exited the park close to 4:00 a.m.
I do enjoy this race; but I'm hoping to enjoy it better in the future with good weather and the full course so I can see all of the characters along the course and then do the after party again as well.
This was my first time running this race. I went into the experience with no expectations; but was surprised at how hilly the beginning of the course was. I think the expectation I had was that we would be running through the streets of D.C. similar to where tourists go and we would see many of the monuments from the front. I struggled with this race because it started off in the rain and I also had to push hard to beat the bridge. I got to the bridge with seconds to spare. The pace car had already passed me. Due to a delayed start because of a backup with the metal detectors, I was safe to cross the bridge because they did add a 15 minute buffer (which I was unaware of at the time).
Because I was at the back of the pack many of the aid stations and water stops were closing down. When we got to the stop that had the oranges, there weren't any oranges left. By mile 19 there were no donuts left at all, just what was on the ground. I was within the last 200 finishers. There were also no finishers jackets or food left when I finished either. Many people were taking the finisher jackets from the 10K and taking extras to give to family members because it was raining at the time. So that was difficult for me because when I did finish and had to go sit on a bus, I had nothing to help control my body temperature.
It was just a difficult race for me for many personal reasons, but the Marine Corps Marathon race directors and support staff did a great job. I don't have any complaints about that. I wish there was more control over the finishers area and let runners be separate from their families when it was time to collect finishers items so that there was enough for everyone and those who finished at the end.
I do want to do this race again where I am more prepared now that I know the course and what challenges I am up against (hills and the bridge).