Friday, January 7, 2011

A Walk Around The World With Ridge--Running the Disney Marathon….as a Spectator

Several years back Amy trained like a maniac and ran the Marathon at Walt Disney World. She had caught the running bug and took off; sadly I haven’t followed in those particular footsteps. Andy and I planned out our attack plan to be at as many of the spectator locations as possible to cheer on Amy and her running partner, Andrew, as possible.

This was a time before I carried a large camera so it’s partly my fault for not having many (or any) pictures from the event. No, this is more about the story of excellent timing and Disney transportation getting us right where we needed to be.

The race day for Andy and I started early much as it did for Amy however none of that carb loading or deep stretching. We accompanied Dad & Mom for the early morning wait to watch the start of the event at Epcot. After the start we were off, armed with the course map and a rough estimate of Amy's average time per mile. Also the chip she wore on her shoe sent times and positions to my phone via text message to help us gage our needed locations.

Andy and I rode with Mom and Dad to the Magic Kingdom Parking lot where we then hopped on the resort monorail to disembark at Grand Floridian. We made our way to the road to wait for the runners to head our way from the Magic Kingdom. Andy and I didn't go into the Magic Kingdom: we left that for the parents to enjoy.

After Amy and Andrew passed us at the GF, it was back to the Monorail and to the TTC to catch a bus over to Animal Kingdom to wait for our heroes. Andy and I had a bit of a time making it to Animal Kingdom, then a dilemma, since we were delayed with longer than expected bus wait. Do we try to head inside and wait for them or hold our position outside the park? We didn't want to run the risk of missing them, then adding more travel time to our next destination. Safety first is a good rule. We cautioned ourselves and waited outside which proved to be a smart play because the dynamic running duo were hot on our heels.

Once the runners passed on by and got a boost of cheer, Andy and I left the front of Animal Kingdom and now had a new question. Do we take the bus to the Studios or Epcot? Since our last travel time had taken longer than we expected, we decided that we wouldn't chance not seeing the finish and went to Epcot.

Once we arrived at Epcot, being the magic (and massive) place that it is and us not being in marathon shape, Andy and I decided to hit the small cafĂ© outside of the then Club Cool. We’d only had some water prior to this point. After a snack and some math to figure where the runners should be, all things considered and going well, a venture to the front of the park and out the gate to the finish was in order to await the accomplishment of a personal milestone for thousands of participants.

When it was all over hugs, smiles and some bananas were handed out, stories were told of the race route and characters, and the walk to the car was started so that we could take Amy back to the room. The whole day from race start to finish was only 5 hours 34 minutes.

To all those running in the marathon this year I say good luck. Some will be faster than others but you are really in an elite group of athletes. If you have the chance to go and root for someone in the Disney Marathon, do so. Try and be as many places as you can to see them. It does a lot to boost the sprits of everyone involved.

Good Luck this weekend RUNNERS!

1 comment:

  1. wow. I'm impressed with the coordination! thanks for sharing!


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