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2014 Walt Disney World Marathon

This past weekend I ran my 3rd Disney Marathon, which was my 5th full marathon overall.

There is a lot to love about runDisney events, but after running a handful of non-runDisney events (halves and fulls) I’ve come to learn that runDisney definitely leaves a few things to be desired as well.

The Good Stuff

  • The Bling–Disney events tend to feature some pretty nice finishers medals. This year was no different in my book. Big. Gawdy. Heavy. Love it.

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  • Characters on the Course–If you’re running in a Disney race, you’re going to see lots of characters out there to take pictures with, if you’re so inclined. Not only are Mickey and Minnie out there, but there are also a lot of characters out and about that aren’t regularly seen in the parks. This was my 8th runDisney event, and this was the first time I actually stopped to take a bunch of pictures. Great decision.

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  • Lots of Company–This is a double edged sword, because having lots of fellow runners means that the course can be a little crowded sometimes, and not all runners are familiar with proper runner etiquette. But after running a race in October where I was pretty much alone for 18 of the 26 miles, it was nice having some company from start to finish.

The Not-So-Good

  • Corral Placement is a Joke–On paper, putting runners in order by their projected finish time, and sending them out in waves is a good idea. runDisney fails when it comes to putting this idea into practice. Nothing against walkers or run/walkers, but they shouldn’t be in one of the first couple of corrals in a race this size. When they stop, and usually it’s more than one person at a time, it creates an instant road block. And since the course is crowded virtually the entire way, it can be a hassle to get around them. I don’t know how some people got into the corrals they did.
  • Lack of Guest Relations/Customer Service–For a company that is so focused on making guests happy, Disney dropped the ball when it comes to runner relations at the race expo. I have a friend that ran the race, her first full, and when she registered she didn’t have a qualifying time to give her a good corral placement. She was hoping for a sub-4:00 race, and ran a half in November in 1:50 and change, which should have placed her in one of the better corrals. runDisney, however, decided that November was too late in the year for a change in her corral placement to be changed on her bib, and for the first time that I’m aware of, they wouldn’t permit her to change her corral at the expo even though she had a verifiable qualifying time. She still managed to run 4:01 while weaving through, literally, 1000’s of slower runners that were able to get corral placements that my friend should have.
  • Post Race Food–I’m not going to blast runDisney over the price of the race, which is high, but I understand where the money goes. One place the money doesn’t go, however, is to the post race spread. I’ve been to races that cost $40-50 that have huge buffets, hot food, lots of drinks (read, free beer), and entertainment for all runners. Disney gives you, what amounts to, a poor-mans boxed lunch. We got a few bagged treats (corn chips, almond puffs, crasins), a banana, and a powerade. Spare no expense. (To be fair, all food items were gluten-free, which isn’t often the case concerning post-race foods, so I do really appreciate that thought from the race organizers.)

All in All

When it’s all said and done, I had a blast running this race.

Stopping for pictures with the characters was a first for me, and it really made all the difference. If you’re trying to run a race for a fast time, and don’t want to stop for pictures, you might want to try another option. But if you’re looking for a fun race to run, the Disney Marathon is a pretty good choice.

I doubt I’ll make the Disney full a regular event on my race schedule, even though I’ve run 3 of the last 4, but I’m leaning toward doing it again next year. I’m thinking about doing the Goofy Challenge next year, but that might be my last Disney full for awhile.

Anyone want to run it with me?

Have You Ever Run a runDisney Event? Did You Run in the Marathon Weekend This Year? What Were Your Thoughts of the Event?

2014 Blue Ridge Marathon Giveaway!

BRM_OfficialBack in August, I was lucky enough to be named one of the official bloggers for the 2014 Blue Ridge Marathon, which will be taking place on April 26 in Roanoke, VA.

The race organizers proudly advertise this as “America’s Toughest Road Marathon”, and while I won’t be able to comment on the difficulty of the course until after the race, I know it’s going to be a serious challenge.

z_tough2Why? Because the full marathon course features over 7,400 feet of elevation change! Here in central Florida, our biggest hills are little more than overpasses and fire ant mounds, so mountain running is going to be a challenge.

I’m looking forward to it, but it’s going to be a HUGE test physically and mentally!

Now for the fun stuff. If you think you can hang with me in the mountains next spring, here’s your chance. You can enter by clicking the following link ( a Rafflecopter giveaway ), and the winner will be selected from all eligible entries on Monday morning, Dec 30th. I’ll email the winner instructions on how to claim his or her entry, as well as give the winner a shout out on Twitter.

What are you waiting for! Enter now! Good luck!

*Disclaimer–As an official blogger for the Blue Ridge Marathon, I have been given one entry for myself and one entry to give away via this drawing. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post of the Blue Ridge Marathon are mine, and have not been influenced by anyone associated with the Blue Ridge Marathon in any way.

Blue Springs Marathon

Last weekend, the wife and I traveled to the Kansas City area for the wedding of my wife’s best friend.

While the reason for the trip was the wedding, which was wonderful, the trip also provided me with an opportunity to continue my marathon journey by running 26.2 in Missouri.

But before I get to race day itself, I just want to put another plug in for Shawnee Mission Park. If you’re ever in the KC area and are looking for a quite, beautiful, piece of nature in which to run, look no further.

Confession time, I had planned to keep this review relatively short, and instead put together a little video diary of the race. I got a few clips recorded on my phone, but I didn’t have anything to carry my phone with me to record while running so the video segments got scrapped. Hopefully that will change for the Double Down coming up in about 10 days.

Anyway, on to the race. Read more

I Got a Fever! And the Only Prescription…

Finally!

I’ve been waiting for next weekend for a while now, and it’s finally less than a week away. Next weekend, I’ll be flying out to Kansas City for the wedding of my wife’s best friend, and to run my next marathon!

I’m excited for the bride and groom, but let’s be serious–I’ve got a terrible case of race fever!

While it’s been just over a month since I ran the Aching Quad series, and I did run the Watermelon series this summer, I haven’t run a long race since February. A long summer of long runs in the Florida heat has gotten old, but I’m finally ready for the payoff!

Read more

Are Marathoners Dying to Run?

I saw an article the other day with a headline that kind of jumped out at me.

Running a Marathon Hard on Heart, Especially in Less Prepared Runners.

Did I mention I’m running a marathon in 10 days?

keep-calm-it-s-only-26-2-miles-2Obviously I clicked on the headline and read the article. Read more