On Sunday, January 12, 2014 I ran the Walt Disney World Marathon as a part of Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge. This was my 3rd time running the Walt Disney World Marathon, and 2nd time doing Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge. We had to awaken at the lovely hour of 2:45 AM to be on the buses by 3:30 AM, to be in the corrals by 4:30 AM, for a 5:30 AM start. It was a great morning for the race, far cooler than the Half Marathon the day before. On this day, the starting temperatures were in the upper 50s and stayed that way for most of the race, finishing at around 63 degrees.
After taking the bus ride over to the start area, we took a few pictures and then started our 3/4 mile jaunt to the starting corrals. As you can tell, we were able to use our Mylar sheets for some warmth at the beginning, because it was a little cool.
The start of the race was over the top, as Disney does it always with FIREWORKS for each and every corral.
Then we were off for 26.2 miles of fun and excitement!
The first few miles were in the dark, so there were no character stops, so we just slowed to take a picture of the mile markers. We did pass a pirate ship just before going through the parking entrance to the Magic Kingdom.
Our first character stop was with Jack Skelington and Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas. They were hilarious, asking us humans what we were running from.
We then ran through the Transportation and Ticket Center where there was a great crowd to cheer us on, past the Contemporary Resort, and turned into the back entrance to the Magic Kingdom near Space Mountain. This unknown fan photo-bombed my mile 4 marker!
Then we were in the Magic Kingdom. There is no bigger rush than to enter Main Street USA and run down Main Street toward Cinderella Castle with 1000s of fans cheering you on all the way.
You then loop through Tomorrowland (excellent place for a bathroom stop!) and on through Fantasyland where we met up with the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland.
We then head toward Liberty Square and Frontierland where we met up with Sheriff Woody from Toy Story.
We then head out the back entrance of the Magic Kingdom and knock out a few more miles as we run toward the Grand Floridian Resort. Along the way, we stopped for a visit with Lilo and Stitch.
Next up, was the Walt Disney World Speedway. We did a lap around the race track, where many vintage and current car clubs displayed there cars around the track.
After the race track, we started our long boring section of Bear Creek Road. We did run across a few of the villains, the dog pack (Dug, Bolt, & Pluto), Peter Pan & Captain Hook, & Jiminy Cricket to break up the boredom.
Next up was Animal Kingdom. We entered the park on the backside, and run about a mile inside the park passing Expedition Everest (another good place for a bathroom stop), and then out near the parking lot, and on to the second dreaded section of the race, Osceola Parkway.
Osceola Parkway is a dreaded portion, because it is a roadway stretch of about three miles with not much entertainment. However, there is one piece of entertainment we can never pass up, just past the mile 14 marker, The Haunted Mansion Grave Diggers! They are always a hit, because they come in full character. As you can tell from the photo, we dished a little back with them!
After this we just logged miles, knocking down Osceola Parkway, ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (lots and lots of turns), and on to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. In the ESPN WWOS, they give out cold, wet wash clothes to help us cool down. This is a difficult section of the race, and you have to dig deep mentally. With all the turns in the sports complex, it really begins to wear on you. Also you run again the “good ole WALL” that typically finds you around Mile 20. This year I seemed to fight it off a little better. I think because I had a good combination of training, nutrition, and the great temperatures I was able to fight back against it this year. When we left the sports complex, we circled back out to Osceola Parkway, and then turned to head up a hill to the Studios, where we found the Green Army Soldier who was encouraging us.
Here was the Green Army Soldier having a runner do pushups to proceed.
Next up was Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We can begin to feel the closeness to our families and the finish line. We circle through the Studios, and since we were on a PR (Personal Record) pace for myself, we gave up most of the pictures at this point, and dug deep to finish. After leaving the Studios, we ran the riverfront to Disney’s Boardwalk Villas Resort, where my running partner, Becky’s family met us with a Coke & Mountain Dew for some quick sugar. This always hits the spot. We walked about a minute to knock these down, and then we were off again. Next up was to pass the Yacht & Beach Club, where we found my awesome wife Jennifer with more resources for energy. Since we were still on PR pace, we dropped the water bottles and other unnecessary gear we her and we were off. We just had about 1.25 miles to go. We had to enter Epcot, run around the World Showcase, through Future World, and on to the Finish Line. Through World Showcase Becky wanted a photo with Mulan & Mushu. I jumped in behind them and did a PHOTO-BOMB!
This is always the best shot to see coming toward the finish line, Spaceship Earth, because you know it is just around the corner!
We finished the race in 4:51:10, which was a new PR (Personal Record) for me, by over 3 minutes. I was so excited to break my old record of 4:54:17! I ended up 6,045th out of 19,198 finishers. I was 754th in my age group, and the 3,876th male to finish.
Thus I completed my second Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge in back to back years.
Here are some of the professional photographer photo proofs.