Race Report – 2010 Disney Marathon: A Spectator's Perspective

I drafted this about a month and a bit ago. Just getting it up. Yes, I’m being lazy with respect to the blog.

As I mentioned earlier, two intrepid runners successfully completed the 2010 Disney Marathon on January 10 in Sunny, Warm, Balmy Florida.

Jenn and Tim

Tim and Jenn, shown in the image, braved the deliciously warm weather in order to run the 26.2 miles starting at well-before-daybreak. Official start time was around 5:50 AM with their wave heading out around 6:00 or so in the glorious temperate air. Have I made enough allusions to the temperature yet?

Because it was fucking cold.

It’s Florida for dog’s sake! People sign up for this race because it’s a January marathon with average temperatures somewhere in the high fifties or low sixties. At race start, it was 26 degrees Fahrenheit.

For the racers, that might not have been a horrible thing, but the logistics of getting thousands of runners to the race start at Epcot mean that the racers are hanging around in the start corrals for literally hours. That’s a long time to be sitting in your race clothing waiting to go. Once they got started, Jenn and Tim told me that they warmed up fairly quickly, but they also never shed a single layer throughout the day.

As for the spectators. Brr. We arrived later than the racers, but we also had the privilege of standing around waiting for the gun—and then yet more standing as we waited for our runners to come around again at the fourth mile (the beginning of this course is a four mile loop that brings you back through the start gate a second time). We who came down to watch the race had packed appropriately for the weather, based on the predictions. However the predictions for race day were low thirties to low forties. The ten-degree drop is an extremely important ten degrees when it comes to clothing selection and we were a bit underdressed. Brr again. We ended up running from our viewing position at mile 0/4 to the monorail station simply to generate some heat.

Waiting for the Monorail, We Chill

Nevertheless, we survived and a good time was had by all. David, Sharon and I bounced around to five different viewing locations: Start, 4, 9, 13, Finish. There didn’t seem to be any easy or authorized way for us to get to locations other than those without purchasing park tickets. Tips for Spectators: At mile 0, you’re not going to see your runner unless they’re in the fast group. They start the runners in side-by-side corrals, but the majority of people are over on the far side of a four lane highway. It’s also predawn, i.e. dark. At mile 9.0, one of the “official” viewing spots, there are stands and a long line of fence that can be moved along to see runners. We were there just in time to see ours so we didn’t take any time to explore the area. The mile 13 viewing area was much better because there was plenty of room to spread out and find a spot where you weren’t trying to peer over or around another spectator. The photo at the top of this posting is from that area.

The finish was pretty busy and crowded as well. All of the spectator areas between where the runners came out of Epcot and the finish line were packed with people. We had to use some elbows to get up close enough to see our runners.

Jenn and Tim reported that running through Cinderella’s Castle at mile 11 was a blast, but that once you’d done that it was mostly all back-area park roads.

Jenn has been trying to convince me to go back and do this race but I’m not sure I’m happy with the amount of logistics and planning necessary to run and or spectate here.

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3 Responses to Race Report – 2010 Disney Marathon: A Spectator's Perspective

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