I've been thinking a lot about this post and how to approach it. I'll just come out and say it, "I didn't enjoy the Wine & Dine Half Marathon." But, there were a lot of factors that went into it, so read on and you'll see why it just wasn't the race for me.
Just like the Disneyland Half, packet pickup was easy and very well organized. It was the same setup, grab your bib first then go to the expo to pick up your shirt. I really like the shirt. It's a long sleeve dry wicking shirt. The expo was fine and my daughter and I picked up some matching running skirts ;)
I loved that the kids got to run their 1 mile races on Saturday morning. It was hot and muggy, but my kiddos gave it their all and I am so proud of them!
Now, on to the half marathon. I will admit that my head was not in it from the start. I stretched myself too thin and was running super late to dinner and then to get on the bus at Epcot. This was definitely not the way I wanted to start the race. I was so stressed out & exhausted by the time I got to Epcot to catch one of the busses transporting runners to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, where the race was starting! I took the time on the bus to try to relax and get my mind back in the race and try to sum up some excitement from the other runners. Honestly, the late start time really made it rough for me.
The bus arrived to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at about 9pm. Once off the bus, I went straight to the porta-potty line. I noticed there were no runners in their corrals yet, but didn't think much of it. I figured we'd all make our way soon. After about 10 minutes in line, it was my turn! YAY! As I came out though, I noticed the huge crowd of runners walking in the opposite direction from the corrals. Now, I was super confused! I asked what was going on and was told we were being evacuated indoors due to lightning in the area. Seriously!?! I gotta give it to us runners, there was no pushing or shoving. Everyone walked orderly towards either the HP Field House or Champion Stadium. I ended up at Champion Stadium, found a place to sit, and listened to runners predictions. Some said we wouldn't run until at least midnight, others were certain the race would be canceled, while others felt we'd run at some point but the course would be shortened. This clearly did not help me get out of my running funk. I began to feel really down and was sure I'd start crying if they canceled the race. I worked so hard to get us to Florida so I could run this race and get my coast to coast medal!
Well, to make a long story short, the race directors gave us the all clear to run a modified course and by 11pm, we were back outside and to our corrals. They cut 6 miles from the race and what should have been a half marathon became a 10K. There were lots of disappointed runners, but Disney did what they had to do. Obviously, not everyone would be happy with any decision. By cutting the course, we were still able to run and get our medals, including my Coast to Coast medal, and still have enough time for the after-party at Epcot.
Although I was disappointed I didn't get to run my full 13.1 miles, I think it was for the best. Not just for our safety, but my heart wasn't into it at all by this point. I just wanted the run to be over and done with. It makes me sad to admit this, since I was so excited about this race a few months ago. I tried to run fast, but the heat and humidity made it difficult. I didn't stop greet characters or take photos on the course. It was dark and hot, and did I mention, I wanted it to be done.
I didn't particularly love the course and I don't think the added 6 miles of Animal Kingdom and Osceola Parkway would have changed my mind. Due to the regular late start time of 10pm, the race didn't have much in terms of spectators or entertainment. There were some bands on the course and everyone loved running through the Osborn Lights, but that was basically it. We ran through a lot of the back lots of Hollywood Studios and not much through Epcot, where we finished. I enjoyed running on the Disney Boardwalk, but would have enjoyed it much more during the day!
The changing area and line for the beer/wine that was included were orderly and organized. The volunteers rocked! The after-party was ok once we made our way to the World Showcase. It was crowded and there were long lines for some of the kiosks, but nothing that wasn't expected. I enjoyed being able to have some alone time with the hubby at the Food & Wine festival and we even got to ride a few of the rides before the party was over. I can't believe we made it till 4am, but I guess only running 7 miles instead of 13.1, gave me the energy to stay up all night!
Will I do another Disney race? Probably not. I most definitely will not do the Wine & Dine Half Marathon again. I'm not the biggest Disney fan (don't hate!). I'm happy I got to experience 2 runDisney races and I really did love the Disneyland Half. I'm grateful I was able to travel for this race and that my kiddos were able to experience all four Walt Disney World theme parks. I'll be blogging about our days visiting the theme parks throughout the next few days, so come back and check it out ;)
Have you ever ran a Disney race? Love it or hate it? Did you run the Wine & Dine this year? I'd love to hear what you thought! Leave a comment below. XO