And just when I talked myself out of running the 20th Anniversary Walt Disney Marathon… this happens.
Gulp. They sure know how to reel a girl back in.
The Walt Disney Marathon is an insanely popular marathon that takes you around the Walt Disney Resort property and is the only RunDisney race where you run through all 4 theme parks. I’ve run the full marathon (plus a couple of Disney Princess Half Marathons and a 10k) and can attest that, yes, running through the parks is AMAZING. However, all of the parks combined comes to a total of roughly 6 miles of the course. The marathon is 26.2 miles. It’s not hard to do the math – that’s a LOT of miles where you’re running the back roads of Disney property and are not in a park.
Disney does a great job filling in the extended gaps with entertainment, volunteers, and even fun behind-the-scences sneak peeks at what makes Disney work (like taking the course past the first department, water plants, etc.), but even I’ll admit it gets pretty boring. The very long stretches between the start and Magic Kingdom and Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom were particularly the worst. Miles and miles of nothin’.
It was the long patches of nothingness that have turned a lot of people away from the Disney marathon, or stopped them from returning. I get it – marathons are tough, and miles of just open road and trees surely doesn’t help. However, the course had been that way for YEARS and that’s just the way it was.
Looks like for their 20th Anniversary, RunDisney decided to step it up and make a few changes to the course. The changes are very significant because it means less miles between things of interest (and less increments on backroads), and more time running by cool things. It makes me wonder why they didn’t do this sooner?
Here’s a couple of key points to the course:
- Runners will head straight to Magic Kingdom and reach Cinderella’s castle about 5 miles sooner than before.
- Runners will complete half a lap of the speedway as part of the course.
- Runners will run around the Wide World of Sports complex, including a lap on the baseball field
The start and finish locations are still the same and the paths through each of the parks are still the same (though I was hoping for an extended loop into the new Fantasyland). It looks like the largest part taken away was the wrap around Epcot at the start of the race, everything else was just an added addition. They simply broke up the runs on the backroads with new experiences to keep runners interested. Genius.
Something else I noticed. RunDisney has been advertising a “big surprise” at mile 20 for the 20th anniversary race, which has been highlighted on the map below in the space between mile 19 and 20.
Do you see the side-map that illustrates the defined path around the Wide World of Sports from 19 through 20?
Looks like that the “big surprise” is about the same time runners will be circling the baseball field. Hmm…. interesting. Very interesting. I wonder what it is?
I wasn’t expecting this at all. Way to go RunDisney for keeping us on our toes. I’d given up the idea of running the full marathon since it’s a week after my wedding and I wasn’t sure I could train for it, but now I’m torn. Especially since my sister (who swore up and down she would never run the Disney full marathon again), just texted me and said she was “thinking about it.” Like I said, well done Disney, way to make a couple of runners who weren’t interested, suddenly interested. That new course is tempting. Very tempting.
So now the Disney Marathon has been put back on the list as a “maybe” for 2013. I’m still not sold, but I’m definitely considering it. It doesn’t take much to win me back.
What are your thoughts on the new Walt Disney World Marathon course?
You know you’re a runner when you get THAT excited about a marathon course. Ha! To be fair, Derek goes off on the same tangents when a new iPhone release has been made. He gave me the same blank stare about the marathon stuff as I gave him about the iPhone stuff. At least we each have hobbies.
Lunch today was a bowl of random odds and ends from the fridge.
I reheated a leftover baked sweet potato with hummus and cheese, then topped it with olives and leftover roasted cauliflower.
Say what you will, this dish was good. I’m not sure I’ve had hummus on a baked sweet potato before, but it works. I think hummus works on everything – it’s the universal condiment.