In Which Jenn’s 15th Marathon Continues To Give Chase

The 2020 Wilmington Marathon was supposed to be my fifteenth marathon. Scheduled for March, it was cancelled, my first COVID race casualty.

So then the 2021 Walt Disney World Marathon was in position to become my fifteenth marathon. Painfully but understandably, it was cancelled, alongside the Princess Half and Star Wars Half weekends.

Which brought me back around to the 2021 Wilmington Marathon, where my deferred registration had landed after last year’s cancellation. I’d imagine the race organizers thought they’d be free and clear by February 2021. Alas and alack.

Still, it’s run by the same organizers who safely put together the Battleship Half Marathon last November, and all their pre-race communications suggested that while the course might be modified the race would go on.

That is, up until two days ago, at which point it was announced that the race had been postponed – to April 17.

This as you may recognize is smack dab in the middle of the would-be Star Wars Rival Weekend races at Walt Disney World. As mentioned above, runDisney has already cancelled that race, BUT I hadn’t cancelled my WDW trip. My race is now on day two of my WDW vacation. Whee! 

FIFTEENTH MARATHON WHY WON’T YOU LET ME RUN YOU???

Luckily my WDW travel buddy has been very kind and accommodating, and since there’s no official event date to make anymore we’ve agreed to push the trip back a day or two so I can run the dang race. Whew. And of course this is better anyway, as by April more people should be vaccinated and there’ll be much less risk.

Against all odds, I am hopeful. I am hopeful that Biden’s aggressive vaccination plan will work out. I’m hopefully we’ll all be vaccinated soon. I’m hopeful people will stop getting sick, we can all safely race and travel again, and I can go back to getting anxious over normal things, like whether or not I’ll wake up in time for my races

One of these days I’m gonna run my fifteenth marathon – and I’m hopeful it’ll be soon!

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Hosts The 2021 Walt Disney World Marathon’s Wake

WDW Marathon start

I hope you enjoyed my light complaining earlier this week, because today we’re going to do some heavy complaining: I should be in Walt Disney World right now. 🙁 🙁 🙁

I should be picking up my race bib! I should be planning out my pre-race meal! I should be there for the Walt Disney World Marathon!

But I’m not. My love is cancelled. We all know that. And I know, too, that compared to other tragedies COVID has wrought, the cancellation of a race is hardly at the top of the list. But it’s been my absolute favorite part of every year six years in a row now, and I am not going to lie: I AM SO INCREDIBLY BUMMED. 

My greatest feelings of joy occur in those marathons. If I’m lucky it kicks in as soon as I hit the Studios and I can ride it all the way down the Boardwalk and into the World Showcase. The World Showcase itself is a 100% happiness guarantee. What will I do without it?!

This is where photos and trip reports come to the rescue: while I can’t get the 2021 race back, and I can relive 2015 through 2020. Below you’ll find links to all my race recaps (my favorites are ’18 and ’20), plus a selection of some of my favorite photos from those races past. Get ready, 2022 – we’re all coming for you with a vengeance!

Walt Disney World Marathon race recaps: 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020

WDW Marathon
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WDW Marathon

WDW Marathon

WDW Marathon

WDW Marathon

WDW Marathon

WDW Marathon

WDW Marathon

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WDW Marathon

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn’s Race Is On! (Mostly)

Hey! I actually get to run an in-person race!

Remember when I had the audacity to put together a race schedule for 2020? I was so young and full of hope. Which of course turned out to be stupid and everything is cancelled, including some of my early 2021 races. Boo.

Happily, there is one light on the near horizon – the Battleship Half Marathon in Wilmington is ON!

Well, mostly. I was originally signed up to do the 5K on Saturday and then half on Sunday, but the 5K has indeed been cancelled. It was apparently in conjunction with a veteran’s parade the same day which is no longer happening; my guess is they were sharing road permits. What can ya do. 

The amazing thing, though, is that anyone who signed up for the 5K has the option of upgrading to a Sunday event OR – get this – receiving a refund! And the people who were doing one of the 5K challenges gets a REFUND! I get a REFUND! I totally understand how some race organizations don’t have the resources for refunds but it’s so nice that they’re able to do that.

So now there’s a half marathon and a 10K on Sunday. Oh, and a marathon – they added a marathon, since they’re now doing a looping course. I was tempted to upgrade (they said it’s the only time they’re going to do it and you know how runners love that kind of thing), but I’m gonna stick with the half. Assuming the Rival Half happens (oh God please let it happen), I REALLY need a proof of time for corral placement.

That, and as one of the precautionary anti-COVID measures, there will be NO spectators allowed. A marathon with a quadruple loop course and no spectators? Pass. Additional precautions include required masks when near others and a graduated course start where only 45 participants are released per wave. And no after party, of course.

So yeah! The race is on! But you know what isn’t? My flights. A couple days before race confirmation Spirit emailed me to inform me my flights had been cancelled. Okay, fine. I went on their website to rebook… and they have NO flights at ALL until two weeks after I need to leave. Sweet. Now I’m paying twice as much to fly AA. Hooray!

But whatever. I’m running a race! A real race! LET’S GO FAST FAST ZOOM ZOOM RUNNING

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Mourns More Lost runDisney Races

Annnnnnnnnnd there it is.

I was just about to sit down and type up a cute little post about my latest Disney dress, but NO – the universe had to go ahead and hit me where it hurts.

As you are more than likely aware, both Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Princess Half Marathon Weekend are cancelled. To quote myself expressing my feelings on the matter:

Blarg. Blarg, I say!!!

I know, I know. It’s not the end of the world. But boy am I bummed all the same. The WDW Marathon is my favorite day of the ENTIRE YEAR. Hell, I would cite the 2018 version as the happiest day of my life so far. Losing it is a blow to my life force.

Ah, well. If they feel they have to cancel, that’s how it is. I’m sure runDisney did not make the decision lightly or happily. I am a little surprised they took out Princess at the same time, but I suppose the two races are indeed quite close together. I suppose it’s gonna save me some money, anyway.

Which is to say: I will definitely be requesting a refund. A) The prices for the virtual versions are exorbitant and B) I’m just not much of a virtual race girl. I value medals as physical reminders of a beloved experience, but medals for the sake of medals don’t do much for me. If they do for you, good! You find joy in many things and are doubtless an overall happier person than I am. But a virtual version isn’t gonna fly for me.

The only question in my mind at present is what to do as regards the WDW trips I had planned around those races. Should I go anyway? My first instinct is to say no – I’d rather reallocate those funds to trips that do include races. 

But on the other hand, I kept my Annual Pass because of those trips. If I don’t go on them, the pass’s value is significantly diminished. I could call Disney and see if they’d let me cancel my pass now even though the deadline is passed on the strength of this setback, but I doubt it’d get me that far.

Both of those trips also involve people who were suppose to share my room, so I’ll have to talk it over with them too.

Things to ponder.

Thank God I opted for my 2020 runDisney race registration strategy. I’m still holding out hope for Rivals weekend – and I’ll be ALL OVER Wine & Dine registration when it opens.

2020 really is the worst.

Are you also bummed? Or are you bummed too, also?

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Has A New runDisney Race Registration Strategy

I’m gonna cut right to the chase here: my new runDisney race strategy is that I’m registering for ALL OF THEM.

I took the Annual Passholder route last week to register for the WDW Marathon early, because it is my One True Race.

Luckily, the marathon is the least popular of the races/challenges of that weekend, so I had no trouble getting in, but every other race opportunity sold out quickly. I’m hearing COVID-19’s got Disney putting a lower cap on the totals, so for all of you gunning for a registration tomorrow, I wish you good hunting.

More abnormally, I also plan to register for the Princess Half, and probably Rivals too. Heck, maybe even Wine & Dine; Pat accidentally broke one of my Food & Wine Festival wine glasses last week and I told him he owes me a trip to get new ones. ;P

I’m just worried that if another race weekend gets cancelled, by the time we find out the next available race will already be sold out. And I already felt that acute sting when I was unable to pivot from Rivals to Wine & Dine this year. (Assuming that one doesn’t get cancelled too; fingers crossed for you guys!)

Race cancellations aren’t fun for anyone – I certainly don’t begrudge the person at the top who has to make the dreaded decision – but as long as I know I’ve got something on the horizon, I won’t sink too heavily into the doldrums. I’ll have to spread my budget across shorter, less ambitious trips and maybe skip a race the next year, but I can make it work. Who wants to split a hotel room with me? 😀

Incidentally, I still think runDisney should respond to the void (ha!) left by Rivals by reinstating the Tower of Terror 10 Miler. Anyone? Anyone?

What’s your runDisney strategy for the coming year?

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Runs The Race Her Own Darn Self

Back in January of 2017, some brave Walt Disney World Half Marathon registrants set a precedent: when your runDisney race is cancelled, you run it anyway on your own.

And so last Sunday, the woulda-been date of the Star Wars Rival Run Half Marathon, I set out on the streets of San Juan to run 13.1 by myself.

I wore my intended race outfit, as viewed below. You see, when it comes to the Stars, I prefer to Trek. ;P

I started at 5:45am, which is probably somewhere in the general area I would’ve started the race anyway, give or take a corral, a wave, and an on-time start.

(PAT: What time are you getting up to run? ME: 5:15am. PAT: Wow, that’s really early. ME: [hysterical laughter])

There were no spectators, no signs, and no water stops. All I had at my disposal was my normal running trail. It was (as Puerto Rico has a nasty habit of being) hot and humid and I’m not sure I would’ve had enough hydration if I’d brought 18 more bottles of water.

But I did it! I logged my 13.1 miles, then went home and made Mickey waffles. It’s not the race I wanted, but it made me feel better to make it happen on my own all the same.

Perhaps it is best to remember Spock’s iconic quote: you may find that having is not so pleasing a thing after all as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true.

All of which to say: I want to try again next year!

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Gets The runDisney Rug Pulled Out From Under Her

Hope springs eternal but reality kills it dead – the Star Wars Rival Run race weekend is no more. I think we can all agree that we saw it coming.

Obviously I’m pretty darned sad about it. I mean, of COURSE I can see the necessity and of COURSE I recognize that as an ostensibly healthy person who already works from home I’m very very lucky right now. But also… I had such a good trip planned. 🙁 🙁 🙁

But in the face of a large problem, I like to turn my attention to solutions. Okay, I want to runDisney and go to WDW for a week. When can I do that next? The Wine & Dine Half! It’s far away but I can pivot to that!

Except noooooo I can’t, because even though it’s been on sale for less than two weeks it’s sold out. Travel agents? SOL with them too. (Shout out to Becky for trying her level best to get me one – book your trip with her, guys.) There are some charity bibs available but the lowest fundraising minimum I could find was $700 and I’m not that good at asking for money anyway, so, no dice.

Pat is suggesting we wait and see what happens and if the parks are open by mid-April we just take the trip anyway. I suppose I could do some of the resort fun runs in that case. But let’s be real – anyone see that happening? I can’t claim to see that future but most reasonable forecasts seem to place WDW opening again somewhere in May at the earliest.

The one silver lining to that possibility is that if the parks stay closed for 7 weeks or longer, my Annual Pass will probably be extended enough to cover a Princess Half Marathon trip. But I don’t really like that course as much – I really wanted to run this Star Wars Half for time. But do I really want to wait a whole year before I go? (Marathon Weekend excepted, naturally.) I would need a whole new park ticket, too… unless the parks close until, like, June, but in that case, yikes.

I don’t know. I’m just sort of spinning my wheels and then typing it into this little box. I know the problems of one little person don’t amount to a hill beans in this crazy world, but all the same, I has a sad. Doubtless I will get over it soon enough, but I has it.

AND I DON’T EVEN GET TO WEAR MY NEW PICARD/RIKER 2020 SHIRT TO THE RACE DAMMIT

… I should probably go. Here’s good health, social distancing, and new plans, ’cause the old ones clearly aren’t gonna work. ðŸĪŠðŸĪŠðŸĪŠ

I’ve been thinking about Casablanca a lot lately for some reason. Viewing party, anyone?

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn’s Fifteenth Marathon Is Cancelled :(

Alas, my friends, add my name to the legions of the bummed out.

I was all set to run my fifteenth marathon next Saturday, the Wilmington Marathon in North Carolina. But like so many events, the threat of coronavirus forced the race organizers to cancel it.

I don’t begrudge them this – their hands were forced by a combination of government edicts and common sense. Race communications have been very promising; we’re assured that if we can just wait a bit while they organize their thoughts we’ll be given an array of options including at the very least a deferral to next year at no charge. All in all the trend is one of generosity.

But I can’t help but be a little sad – I trained! I planned! Now I have to do battle with Spirit Airlines customer service! Blast and damnation!

Ah well. What can ya do. I’m sure a lot of you are in similar boats, both in terms of races and also Disney trips, what with, oh, every single Disney resort closed around the world right now. Obviously we all recognize the necessity of the cancellations, but also: drat.

Speaking of which, my next trip to WDW for the Rival Run doesn’t begin until April 18, so fingers crossed that this health crisis has improved enough that we can all enjoy the race weekend by then.

In the meantime, Becky at Disney In Your Day wrote a great piece on handling the anxiety of trip planning and cancellation in these trying times. I recommend it if you’re currently in the throes of a similar fate.

Stay safe out there, kids!

Don’t forget, you can follow FRoA on Twitter @fairestrunofall. It would thrill me extremely if you would leave a comment with any questions or thoughtsSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Runs The Wayfarer’s 10K AGAINST HER WILL*

*This may be a slight exaggeration.

The ominous weather forecast was poor all week: potential lightning and storms on Saturday morning. And the day before the race, the Wayfarer Half organizers caved: they called off the Wayfarer’s Half Marathon.


What they did not cancel was the Wayfarer’s 10k, set to start at the same time but expected to finish before the storms hit. All half marathoners were automatically transferred to the 10k, and while deferment was offered, the halfers who ran the 10k were promised a 50% off code for the next year’s race.

Race buddy Sarah and I debated our options and, while we were disappointed in the slashed mileage, we ultimately decided to take our chances on the 10k. 

And so we arrived to the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis in the early hours of the morning, one on the weather predictions and the other on the course ahead. 

The race began with little fanfare, and before we knew it we were off on the 10k course. This caused me to get a little cocky to start – after all, I had prepared for a half marathon and, met with scarcely more than six miles, why bother holding back?

So my first mile was rather quicker than it should’ve been, but probably not as fast as it could’ve been, as for the first half mile or so the course was pretty packed. There was no corral system in place, self-seeded or otherwise, and people weren’t respected the underwritten fast-in-front-slow-in-back rule. Indeed, at the onset of the race I had to dodge around a pair of walkers running side by side. Blarg!

Luckily after a bit of snaking and ducking I was able to break out into a clearer area. After a brief stint on some fringe roads, we found ourselves in historic downtown Annapolis – always a highlight. For some reason I get a kick out of running down the same streets and past the same bars and restaurants I’ve seen and eaten in before.


Our next landmark from there was St. John’s College, after which we passed the entrance to the US Naval Academy and headed back toward the stadium. The final stretch was basically identical to the Zooma Half, which leads me to believe that had the Wayfarer’s Half gone on as planned the course would’ve been at the very least nearly the same. Hey, at least that saved us some hill work – while the 10k did feature some inclines it wasn’t at all what I’d call hilly.

Course support was pretty solid. I don’t recall a ton of spectators, but there were plenty of volunteers handing out water and Gatorade at decently spaced intervals. 

As for my personal performance, I wound up having a darned good race. My too-fast opening miles precluded me from those coveted negative splits, but I didn’t drop off as much as I could’ve and ultimately wound up with a PR of over 2.5 minutes. I guess that’s what happens when you actually taper for a “mere” 10k!

Rather than medals, finishers received a patch and, for some reason, a keychair carbine instead of a medal? Go figure. More interestingly, the post-race area included places to get a free beer or food truck snacks, but as Sarah and I finished before 9am we opted to go back to Elizabeth’s place and get coffee and pastries instead. (Water bottles, sports drinks, granola bars, and bananas were also available before and after the race.)

I don’t envy the Wayfarer’s organizers their decision to cancel the half. I can only imagine it’s rough to try and keep everyone safe in the face of the always-fickle weather report, especially in a race’s very first year. Their offer of discounts and deferments was sporting; I’m sure the fine print at registration didn’t require they make any concessions at all.

But darned if the kicker isn’t that it never did storm at all. >D

(Now, it rained BUCKETS the next day, but that’s a story for next week…)

Have you every found yourself unexpectedly in a different race than you expected?

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