Disney Princess Half Marathon, Part 2: Miles 1 through 5

15 Mar

The Princess Half Marathon started with a super early wake up call.

Up Before Daylight

Up Before The Sun

As a chronic over sleeper and lover of the snooze button, I decided to set a few back up alarms.

Runners were supposed to be at the start line by 5AM, but a lot of the roads leading to Epcot closed as early as 4AM. So even though my roommate and I live about 15 minutes from Epcot our goal was to leave between 3AM and 3:15AM. We weren’t sure how bad traffic might be, but we made it to Epcot without any major delays. Since we had gotten there pretty early we took a few minutes to wait in the car and relax before heading to the starting area-without the sun up, it was still quite chilly!

In the Epcot parking lot, Disney had set up their pre-race area which included bag check, concessions, merchandise and various photo ops. There was also a DJ pumping up the crowd and a VIP Race Retreat area. We chose not to wait in line for any of the organized photo spots, but did spend a couple minutes taking pictures in this area.

Ready to Run!

Ready to Run!

We didn’t have any bags to check or need to use the restroom, so we decided to make the walk to the starting area. It is quite a bit of a trek, probably about 20 minutes to where the race actually begins.

DSC03249

There were roughly 26,000 people running, so Disney breaks the group into several “corrals”. I was in corral C but my friend had been placed into corral F. While Disney requires you to stop at Runner Relations at the race expo in order to move to an earlier corral, if you want to move back it’s usually not a problem. I opted to move back so that I could at least start the race with my roomie.

She was planning on following the Galloway method with a 1 minute walk/1 minute run plan. I had never run more than a mile two in this manner, so I wasn’t sure it was something I’d feel good sticking with for the 13.1. I decided to give it a try with the hopes of cutting down on the risk of injury since I’ve had trouble with my hip in the past and to enjoy some of the run with my friend.

We had quite a bit of time before our wave would be starting, so we were able to get comfy for a bit and do some stretching. runDisney has some really entertaining race announcers, so I enjoyed listening to their banter and the interviews they conducted. Actor Sean Astin was there and completing the Coast to Coast challenge and Ali Vincent the first female winner of the Biggest Loser was also running for a charity, so it was fun to hear their story! They also interviewed a woman who was the last finisher of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland who was determined to continue on her health and fitness journey and  complete her second half at WDW too! It was inspirational to hear her story and see the drive and determination that she brought to the run.

Waiting Our Turn

Waiting Our Turn

Soon, it was time to get the first wave of runners started with the help of the Fairy Godmother and an explosion of fireworks! A great thing at the runDisney races is that each corral gets the same sendoff at the start line. It’s helps keep the energy up and keeps you anticipating your turn at the start line.

Soon, it was our turn. Our corral was directed up to the start line relatively quickly.

Approaching the Start

Approaching the Start

The announcers were preparing us for the start and soon the Fairy Godmother was getting ready to count us down!

Countdown Time

Countdown Time…and a Lady’s Head 🙂

And then, with some more fireworks, we were off!

Fireworks Start

Fireworks Start

The course starts out right outside of Epcot, on Epcot Center Drive and makes it’s way up World Drive towards the Magic Kingdom. This can be a long stretch of road, but Disney does a great job at filling the course with fun entertainment along the way which makes it a lot of fun!

Mile 1

Mile 1

Each mile has a fun decorative marker. We didn’t stop for many pictures on the way, but I did manage to get a picture of each one along the way! With the large number of runners, the clocks aren’t super accurate past the first corral but it’s always great to see how far you’ve come.

I tried to catch on the go shots of a lot of the entertainment as we ran.

The Princesses

The Princesses

Bird Puppets

Bird Puppets

Mile 2!

Mile 2!

Us On The Go!

Us On The Go!

Paparazzi Shot of the Men of Disney

Paparazzi Shot of the Men of Disney

And soon we were approaching the entrance to the Magic Kingdom!

Here it Comes

Here it Comes

The Magic Kingdom (Toll Plaza)

The Magic Kingdom (Toll Plaza)

If you’re not familiar with Disney, this can be a little deceiving, as you still have about three miles until you actually enter the theme park! While I was aware, it was still the first, of many, milestones for me!

After passing through the Magic Kingdom toll plaza, the course makes its though the Magic Kingdom parking lot, by the Richard Petty Driving Experience and towards the Ticket and Transportation Center.

Mile 3!

Mile 3!

Lightning McQueen by Richard Petty

Lightning McQueen by Richard Petty

Evil Stepmother and Stepsisters

Evil Stepmother and Stepsisters

This was the first spot on the course where a lot of spectators were present cheering the runners on. I always get a kick out of reading all the inspirational and funny signs that have.

Haha!

Haha!

The green one above is a bit hard to read, but says “I took the monorail, it was faster”. Definitely one of my favorite Disney themed signs!

Mile 4!

Mile 4!

The next stretch took runners back onto the road by Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Cones, Cones and More Cones

Cones, Cones and More Cones

As someone who has frequently seen individuals preparing the course, I never cease to be amazed by the sheer number of cones used on this portion of the course!

As you get closer to the Contemporary, you approach a pretty steep decline in the road followed by a steep incline as you pass under a water bridge connecting to lakes.

Down and Up

Down and Up

The course also gets a little narrow, making the crowds a bit of a challenge, but Disney must realizes runners can use a little motivation and has a DJ above looking to keep the energy up!

DJ Pumping Up the Crowd

DJ Pumping Up the Crowd

After making it back up the hill, which was mostly challenging due to the thick crowds of runners, there were some neat decorative puppets/parade floats and the mile 5 marker.

The Genie!

The Genie!

Sebastian

Sebastian

Mile 5!

Mile 5!

With the passing of Mile 5, we were close to making our way onto Main Street of the Magic Kingdom…

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