The 3rd day of the Dopey Challenge during marathon weekend at Disney World was the HALF MARATHON! I have run 13 miles, but never in a race – and this run was ESPECIALLY exciting because I would get to run through the castle in the Magic Kingdom! I had been dreaming about running through the castle since I first heard of the runDisney races. After looking at numerous beautiful pictures and videos of happy people running out the front of the castle I was so ready to have one of those amazing photos to call my own…unfortunately my castle moment wasn’t quite how I thought it would be…
Before you can run through the castle, you have to get there – I have to say this was probably my least favorite part of the weekend. The run to the Magic Kingdom started at Epcot (like all the other races), but they moved the starting corals a bit farther away. I followed the sea of people and found my way to my starting coral, which again was 2nd to last. I noticed the fireworks got better with each day so they were fun to watch as each wave of runners started making their way to the castle.
Before our wave went, I threw my mylar blanket from the previous day over the fence with the others (it was another chilly morning in the 30’s) and then I was off to the Magic Kingdom with the rest of the runners in my group!
We ran down highways and I spotted Jack Sparrow. I noticed some people were trying to make their way over to him, but the volunteers were telling them they had to get a picture with him on the way BACK from the castle. Even though my character stop the day before turned out not as I expected, I really wanted a picture w/ Jack Sparrow so I made a mental note to look for him on my way back.
Did you know the monorails could beep?? I didn’t and was pleasantly surprised when we started seeing them pass overhead and beeping at us to cheer us on! I waved back to let them know I appreciated the encouragement even though I didn’t know anyone on them.
It seemed like a long time until I saw the sign for the Magic Kingdom and then even longer until I ran through the gates and up to Main Street, USA where you get the first glimpse of the castle. There was a huge crowd of people cheering all along the road. The castle was gleaming in the early morning sunlight and looked beautiful – I couldn’t help but feel like a kid.
You run through Fantasy Land and Tomorrow Land before making your way to the back of the castle. I paused to take a picture of it and a nice runner snapped a picture of me before we both set off into the castle!
THIS WAS IT! THE MOMENT I HAD BEEN WAITING FOR!
I was about to get my castle photo! I saw the photographer, gave a giant smile and as he snapped the picture – and two girls who were ahead of me of me jumped in front of me. I was totally confused for a second – what was going on? A volunteer yelled at them to keep moving, but they argued that they didn’t get to pose for a picture to which the volunteer replied that there were to many people to stop. I am 100% sure I am giving a WTF face in the background of that picture, but there was nothing I could do about it. I hoped that they were able to get a photo of me and continued on my way.
The castle was just about the half way point so all I had to do now was run back to Epcot – and get my picture with Jack Sparrow. I spotted him and was slightly disappointed that the Black Pearl wasn’t in the background like previous years. When it was my turn to get a picture I stepped up and asked, “Where’s the rum?” to which he replied “THE RUM IS GONE! IT’S ALWAYS GONE!!” 🙂
I continued on my way and saw the green toy soldier from Toy Story – this guy was HYSTERICAL! He posed for pictures with people in between yelling at them to keep moving “double time” up the hill. He could not have been placed in a more perfect spot. I handed the volunteer my camera and said to the toy soldier, “Jack Sparrow told me there was rum here.” He started yelling, “OH HE DID, DID HE?!?!? NO – THERE IS NO RUM HERE – now drop and give me 3 push-ups!”
CRAP. I HATE push-ups. While I did 3 of the worst push-ups you will ever see he counted them off while the rest of the crowd laughed and cheered! Then he gave me a high five and we saluted for a picture before he yelled at me to keep moving. It was freaking awesome!
I thought at this point I was done with character stops, but then I saw Tinkerbell – ANOTHER one of my favorites!
After a quick stop I was on my way through Epcot and on to the finish line! My first official half marathon COMPLETE!
Note there are no pictures of me running out of the castle – yup that’s right – the photographers weren’t able to snap a picture – UGH! Luckily for me had another chance the next day during the full marathon!