January 13th 2013 was the BIG DAY, wherein my wife Per would do her first ever Full Marathon and I will be accompanying her the whole time here.
As with the other races I did the previous two days, we took the Disney bus to the starting line at a very early time of around 3:30AM. This is because we purchased two tickets for the Race Retreat where we could have our breakfast here, do our stretching, relax a bit and have shorter lines at the toilet. There were also some Disney characters where you could pose and have pictures taken with them (see above).
The Race Retreat, although expensive, was worth every penny especially after completing the marathon as it offers a place to have brunch and to rest a bit too. At that time, you would be too tired to walk and this would be a great place to recharge and refuel.
When we are about an hour from our gun start, we decided to leave the comfortable Race Retreat area and walked slowly to our starting corral D, where we saw a lot of fireworks as Wave after Wave of runners were being released!
It was still dark when our race started but I didn't mind that as it kept the weather cool, which was less tiring than running in hot, hot weather!
There were a lot of Disney mascots scattered across the race route but you have to select which ones you want to line up for as it would take a lot of time just waiting in line. This was obviously NOT a PR race but a Fun Run with 42km to conquer!
Per had a target finish time here and didn't want to stop at any mascot areas. My strategy was that I would run ahead of Per and line up for a mascot so by the time she would get to me, the line would be considerably shorter and we could take a picture. But for most of the mascots I did line up for, Per would reach me and said line was still long! Oh well, this was her race after all!
Are these mascots lost? Christmas is waaaayyy over!!!
The route would take us to all Four Disney Parks plus ESPN Area and Downtown Disney. It was an awesome route especially since we went to all of them at one point during the week, whether it was to have dinner, to go shopping or to ride some rollercoasters. And now we are running in all of them!
The first Disney park was Magic Kingdom and highlight for this was when we ran inside Sleeping Beauty Castle.
As this was the 20th year of the Disneyworld Marathon, we got a specially made Mickey Mouse medal and there was also a nice surprise at Mile 20. All runners knew about it and anticipated it as we slowly closed the gap towards it.
In between, we ran inside a baseball field and a running track inside ESPN Complex and these were cool as well.
At Mile 20 (but really closer to 34 kilometer mark), there was a lot of floating Disney characters from each side of the road. It was an awesome sight. Too bad I didn't have my camera with me to take pictures of these things. Mickey and Minnie Mouse were also there to cheer the runners.
I was feeling good in this race but Per was already having a hard time running it. Just our luck that this was the hottest marathon in all of 20 years!!! Goodbye to the cool weather and say hello to the Heat!!! It gets worst when we were still on the road come noontime.
WRECK IT RALPH! I missed taking his picture while visiting the Disney Park and luckily got a photo of him here!
We were slowly getting closer to the finish time but we were getting slower too. Some other hiccups during the race involved Per's left shoe sole coming off (I had to rip it off her shoe so she can continue running), getting cramps on her right shoulder (odd place to happen) and even hyperventilating at 40km mark!
The last one was the scariest as it looked like she was having a heart attack and there were no medics or water stations around. But we were in one of the Disney Parks and I asked for water from one of the food stalls there to which they replied that they didn't have any FREE water! Seriously!! I can't believe it!
Good thing there was a kind fellow who offered to buy water for us. I kept thanking him as I gave her the water and made her walk for a few minutes till she was back to normal.
We ran-walk the last kilometers together and side by side as we got closer to the finish line.
YES! WE DID IT! PRAISE GOD!!!
We got our Awesome Mickey Mouse medal and I got my Goofy Medal too at the finish line.
Welcome to the Marathoner Club!! PROUD OF YOU!