At 11 months post partum, I was supposed to finally run my first half marathon. I was beyond excited because it was my first major race and I was going to run it with a friend to meet a goal of a 2:30 time. It had taken me months to get back into running and the day was finally here. I was headed to Orlando to run the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon on November 7.
We got to the expo Saturday morning and picked up my bib and shirt and wandered around a little bit. I even got this fabulous photo taken.
We got checked in to our hotel and decided to head to Epcot. Our little girls decided it was nap time instead, so we headed back to the hotel and I got a short nap in.
It was then off to the Magic Kingdom with our littles. I wore my running attire and brought my bib with us. I mean why wouldn’t you go to the Magic Kingdom before running 13.1 miles?
I headed over to catch the bus to the race start at 7pm. Little did I know transportation from the Polynesian is awful. There was a long line and we waited an hour for 1 bus to show up. Two more buses showed up about 10 minutes later and I got on one of those.
I spent our long bus ride chatting with the girl next to me. It was her first half marathon in over 5 years and her boyfriend was cheering her on. While sitting on the bus at 9:20pm, it started to sprinkle rain and then stopped about 5 minutes later. As we were pulling into the ESPN Wide World of Sports, my friend texted me to say everyone was being evacuated into the buildings because of lightning in the area. Ultimate sad face now knowing that we wouldn’t be starting at 10pm.
We got parked and they let us off the bus with instructions to head towards the buildings. First I had to find my brother and friends because they had some Clif shots for me. Do you know how hard it is to find vanilla or chocolate Clif shots since they don’t contain caffeine?
My new friend Emily joined me since she was running alone and we then met up with my friend I was running with. We sat inside just chatting while we waited to hear any news. We couldn’t really hear any announcements over all the noise inside, but we headed outside because they sounded as if they were getting ready to let us run. We made it down almost to the open grassy area when we were told to head back and they were not about to release us, so we decided to head to the back bathroom with the shorter line. Then it was a mass exodus to the corrals to start and we decided to hit a port a potty on the way.
At this point, nobody really knew what was going on. Lucky for me, I had a friend volunteering at the finish line who was texting me what was going on. She informed me that the course was being cut to less than 7 miles. What?!?!? It was only 10:30, so why would they cut the course in half?
Everybody we talked to around us was shocked. We were all lined up in our corrals and there still was no official announcement of how long the race would be, just that it was a modified course and we would be starting at 10:45pm.
My friend and I were originally going to run with the 2:30 pacer, but decided to do our own thing since it wasn’t going to be a half marathon. We ended up doing 2 minute run and 1 minute walk intervals. We talked for most of the run, but didn’t stop for pictures with characters. Even though we started in the fifth corral, since it wasn’t a half marathon most people decided to stop and wait for pictures and the lines were much longer than normal at this point. My favorite part of the night was when we were running through the old wardrobe area there was a dj and strobe lights so we started dancing as we were running and we both managed to do a spin while running without falling on our asses! Running win for us both!
We got to the Osbourne Lights in Hollywood Studios and stopped for a few pictures.
Since it is the last year for them, we walked and took in the lights since the street was pretty much empty compared to going to the park during regular hours.
The last couple miles were pretty uneventful. There were a few guys sitting outside the Boardwalk hotel drinking beer, well I guess they had too many because when I asked where ours was I got 3 blank stares. We finished up and got our medals and goodies and then headed to find my brother who finished first.
After waiting for almost everyone to finish, my 2 friend’s and I went to enter the after party at Epcot. Well the disadvantage of only running 7 miles is that nobody was completely worn out and everyone was going into Epcot. Huge lines just to get in compared to previous years. WE ended up just riding Spaceship Earth and heading back to the hotel because well, when you’ve got little ones you still have to get up.
Unfortunately for me that wake up call was 5:50am after getting to bed around 3am. Needless to say, I was pretty incoherent all day. My husband asked if I wanted coffee at the gas station and I asked if he was filling the car with coffee.
We ended up heading to Epcot at our girl’s naptime and got sprinkled with some pixie dust to end the unfortunate failed half marathon weekend. A couple who was leaving gave us the rest of their sampling card for the Food & Wine Festival, so we got to try 4 things for free!
Now for the rant part of this. A lot of people were unhappy with runDisney’s decision to delay and shorten the course, while there were a lot of people who were happy they were looking out for the safety of the runners. A little transparency on runDisney’s part would have made people less angry and more accepting, so yes, I was pissed the race was delayed for “inclement weather and lightning”. The following is their lightning policy per the runDisney website:
The Walt Disney World® Resort Lightning Policy
Event operations will shut down when lightning is 10 miles out from the event areas. Event operations will not resume until the lightning is 10 miles out moving away from the event areas. The Sports Manager will determine this using the *Flash to Bang Rule* and weather radar. The Sports Manager will consult with Walt Disney World® Resort Management on a course of action to utilize the operational rain plan, delay the event, or cancel the event.
*Flash to Bang Rule* is applied by measuring the time (in seconds) between a visual lightning “Flash” and hearing the resulting “Bang”. This time is then divided by a factor of “5” to obtain distance in miles. For example, 50 seconds between “Flash” and “Bang” divided by “5” equals 10 miles.
I’ve lived in Florida over 30 years and am pretty familiar with what the “bang” is they are talking about and I never heard it. There was heat lightning in the sky, which is different from your typical ground to sky lightning. According to someone I know who was volunteering in the Animal Kingdom section, which is the part of the race that was cut, the rain and wind that moved through there caused a lot of debris on the course of fallen tree branches and such. Now this is where the transparency would be a good path to have taken. If the actual course was of hazardous conditions, I’m pretty sure more people would be understanding than blaming weather that never moved through. Whatever the real reason was, I was definitely disappointed, but I had a blast running with my friend who I don’t get to see often.
Enjoy Your Adventure,