The Fairest Trip Report Of All: 1/6/24

Kevin stuffed animal

Hello and welcome back to yet another trip report! Find all the entries in this report here. Onward!

When we last left off, Erika and I had finished up our WDW Half Of A Half Marathon and we on the bus back to Pop Century. In the interim, the threatened rain began in earnest, and I began to be a bit worried that performing the second half of said half might be a literal wash. Still, we soldiered back to the room, and I considered my options.

Erika declared herself tapped; she came to run the race, she said, not the distance, and she was fine stopping at seven miles. And you know what? Respect. Girl had a point. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at all tempted to collect a FastPass to my shower and nap and show up six miles fresher to the marathon start line.

On the other hand, I am historically completionist to a fault. I stripped off the details of my Dante costume, pulled on a long-sleeved shirt to aid in my uncertain battle with the elements, popped my phone into a sandwich bag for some makeshift water protection, and cracked open the door. It was still raining, but not that hard. Off I went.

WDW Half of a Half selfie

The best place to run at Pop/Art of Animation is of course the path around Hourglass Lake; I fired up my GPS watch and jogged along. I had zero interest in speed at this juncture, what with the marathon in the morning and not knowing what weird compounding affect the two-part run might have on the coming experience. I didn’t want to tire myself out over a technicality.

And the weather? I never saw lightning, nor do I think I heard any thunder (maybe I did once but I’m genuinely not even sure that’s what it was). The rain, on the other hand, ranged from mild but definitely present to OH DEAR LORD I CAN’T SEE. Luckily the latter never lasted tooooo long, but it was still challenging at times.

What made it all better, though, can be summed up in one word: solidarity. No one familiar with the running community generally or the runDisney community specifically will be surprised to hear that I was not the only one out there completing my race mileage. Those who didn’t knock out the remainder in the Epcot parking lot were making it happen at the resorts.

It was one or two at first – we nodded to each other, congratulated each other, smiled through the rain. More and more runners came out of the proverbial woodwork. Many stomped along in rain ponchos. We were getting it done come hell or come-from-on-high water.

Soon enough, we had something else: spectators! Many were accidental, our fellow Pop Century and AoA denizens on their way to the parks. They still called out encouragingly even if they weren’t 100% clear on what was going on. Slowly, however, our audience grew, some clapping, some doling out the high fives, all of them cheering with abandon despite the questionable weather. One woman was festively dressed as Tinker Bell – character stop! – and one even brought out a race sign. It was… kind of incredible, really.

Would it had been better to hold the race as planned under safe conditions? Uh, yeah. I wouldn’t say this ad hoc runDisney experience was better, per se. Still, it had its own special magic that, somehow, not even a proper race could match. It wasn’t better, but it was different. It created a kinship, in that whatever our motivation we all shared the need to reach 13.1. We were pardoned, and we chose to go the distance anyway.

That, and also the spectators, who in a way were even braver. I know I have that thing that says I gotta finish this run. It’s the thing that makes a marathoner. But I honestly don’t know if I have that thing that says I gotta stand and cheer in the rain for people in the dying throes of a race that is technically already over. Maybe I should work on that? Regardless, by some metrics those spectators are made of stronger stuff than I am, Goofy or no.

Anyway. There’s your Runner Philosophy for the day. According to runDisney, their course was 7.1 miles, and I chose to honor that. I hit the six mile mark and declared myself officially donezo. I skittered back into the room for the shower, Gideon’s cake, and a lengthy nap I finally felt I deserved.

(My running sneakers were rather damp from the morning’s effort, so I stuffed them with mug wrapping and a shredded Gideon’s bag to soak up the remaining water. Fingers crossed. Maybe I should bring a newspaper to my next race, just in case.)

A few hours later we were both up and, well, not at ’em as such. Up, at any rate. By then it was early afternoon, and the rain had fully dissipated. We were able to take a completely dry trip to Everything Pop for some food and coffee and an exploratory spin around the gift shop (I consider it a triumph of restraint that I did not buy Kevin). While in there, the speakers played Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising;” I love that song! Despite the paradoxical lyrics, I took it as a good sign.

Thus fortified, we headed back to the room to lay out our race stuff and make sure we were all set on supplies. Check out some rare behind the scenes pics of my costume flat lays! I hope you’re all suitably impressed. 😂

The ceiling ballast is key.

It was a pretty chill day minus the running, really. I don’t have much more to impart besides another trip to the food court for dinner, where we found seemingly everyone at the resort in line for pasta. Runners! Is there anything they can’t ruin???

Then it was back to the room for quiet reflection and an early bedtime. The WDW Marathon was nigh!

Next up: the WDW Marathon. I told you it was nigh.

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!


  1. I’m with ya, I would have had to finish the miles too! That is so awesome that people came out to spectate and support!

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