Race Recap! 2024 WDW Half (Of A Half) Marathon

WDW Half Marathon - finish line

Hello and welcome back to yet another trip report! Today’s entry recaps the WDW Half Marathon, or as it was this year, Half of a Half Marathon. Find all the entries in this report here. Onward!

Oooh, that tricky brain of mine. It tried to do it to me again. I woke up in the (comparative) middle of the night in a cold sweat, heart pounding, and instead of succumbing to the panic, I told myself: you’re fine. This is just your brain trying to take down the whole operation from the inside. I did some breathing exercises. And then… I fell back asleep???? Heavens!

So yeah, I actually got some quasi-decent sleep the night before our WDW Half of a Half Marathon, although I still popped up with my alarm like I’d taken a shot to the heart. Erika was right behind me, and a little while later two alebrijes headed to the race buses.

Behind the scenes extra! Here I am applying a UV flashlight to my Dante ears so that they’ll glow in the dark. Riverbend Ear Design made them, because she is a genius. If you need custom ears, hit her up!

WDW Half Marathon - juicing my glow-in-the-dark Dante ears

We made it to the staging area in plenty of time, but given the 15 minute early start we didn’t lollygag, instead heading straight to the corrals. Not without first taking a Spaceship Earth selfie, though. Some things are sacrosanct.

WDW Half Marathon - Spaceship Earth before the race

I stuck with Erika in corral C for this race and it was croooooowded. A lot of the prerace emcee chatter was about the shortened course, weather conditions, and safety. The first competitors took off promptly at 4:45am, and just about twenty minutes later our wave of corral C was off!

WDW Half Marathon - start line

Given the last minute nature of the shortened course, it was surprisingly nice route. I mean, yes, the first five miles were boring roads, but the last two were pure unadulterated Epcot. Anytime I can run all the way around World Showcase, I get a little thrill. How mad can you really be?

Ha, trick question! I have too much Hungarian blood to ever be happy, silly reader. I kid, I kid, but, uh, yeah: in describing how the race went for me personally, what follows may amount to so much complaining.

WDW Half Marathon - on course

Most of this complaining has nothing to do with runDisney’s organizational skills; they could’ve simply cancelled the race, but instead they chose to scrape as much of it together as possible and I am truly grateful. Weather calls are hard to judge and I’m sure scrapping the works would’ve been way easier. Thank you, humans of runDisney!

That being said, there were elements of the experience that belied its emergency modifications. The course started crowded. It stayed crowded. It continued to be crowded for all seven miles from our position mid-corral C. I think some points of the course were narrower than initially meant for the later portion of the half marathon they were intended to handle, and that meant several bottlenecks.

And with that comes looooong lines for characters. I know that’s the nature of the beast for early miles and/or shorter races, but during the 2023 Wine & Dine 10K the race thinned out enough that we were able to find a few characters with minimal lines. This race being a mile longer, I was disconcerted by the density of our half of a half.

I also posit some characters were pulled in the face of the coming rain? As alebrijes, we would’ve waiting just about any amount of time with anybody in Mexico – Coco or Caballeros were both good. Alas, there was nobody there. We did get a nice CM to take our pic with the Coco statues, at least!

The aforementioned crowd density impacted one more thing: PhotoPass photography. Because we were constantly surrounded by other runners, we didn’t enjoy the same unobstructed shots we usually get. Obviously not ALL of them – someone’s always gonna cover your face with their hand in at least one picture, and that is the law of the jungle – but some from the lot.

I think this is what also prevented the photographers from noting that Erika’s and my costumes made us a unit; weirdly, many shots cut part of all of one of us out entirely. And we matched so nicely! In fact, we should probably bust these costumes out for a race again. They didn’t get nearly enough time to shine!

None of these are complete race-ruiners,* but they did prevent the fruition of a purely magical experience. I will reiterate once more, however, that I found it so odd that my recent runDisney 10K was a better time, although having thought about it for a bit I have some theories:

1 The hastily (by necessity) thrown together 7.1 mile course simply was not the optimal course for its length, whereas the 10K course went off as thoughtfully designed.

2 I wonder if the corral waves were pulsed through faster than usual in an additional effort to get out ahead of the weather? I don’t suppose anyone knows for sure?

* I would argue the only true race ruiners involve a med tent

WDW Half Marathon - Spaceship Earth

Once again, I recognize that the weather-truncated race we did get was a Herculean effort, and I don’t mean to levy any complaints against runDisney in this precise case! But, well, y’know. That’s how it went. In a word: crowded.

So there ya go! We finished out our 7.1 miles to the sweet sound of the announcers urging everyone to hurry tf up. Okay, not in so many words, but they were strongly suggesting everyone to board buses before the coming rainstorm set in.

WDW Half Marathon - finish line

Many people were running around the Epcot parking lot in an effort to finish out the remaining six miles of a technical half marathon. I was in favor of the idea but felt it would be wise to go back to the resort to knock out my remaining distance. It would be easier to manage the weather if I could change and also had a readily accessible source of shelter if needed.

And thus Erika and I just collected our medals and snacks, boarded a bus back to Pop, and checked off Goofy part one.

In conclusion: thank you SO SO SO much to the race organizers and volunteers who made the WDW Half of a Half happen. The kvetching above is just how I process. 😂 You are all heroes!

I hope your legs aren’t tired, because we’ll be doing more running in the next trip report installment…

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall and on Instagram @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions or thoughts, leave a comment or email fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

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