It's official! We are Dopey! Great experience, but I am SO tired.
We lucked out and had absolutely perfect weather today - sunny, in the 50s and 60s, not too humid, and with a nice cool breeze. It was like running in San Diego. Really comfortable for running.
The course was the same as last year, so we had the lap around the Walt Disney World Speedway, and went all around the Wide World of Sports complex again. I didn't think there were significantly fewer people in the marathon but the roads were less crowded, especially in the narrow parts, and the lines for character photos were shorter.
Before the race we gathered for one final team photo. (Thanks to Alex Armas for the photo.)
The walk to the corrals wasn't even a shuffle this morning - we could just walk normally! That was really nice. We sat down in our corral to wait for our wave to start.
There were fireworks for all of the corrals, which was nice.
Our corral started about 25 minutes after the race started. We were at the front, which was nice.
Mile 1 - only 25.2 to go! (At mile 1.9 we were exactly half done with the 48.6 Dopey distance.)
I was running with my friend and teammate Linda, and we had a great time when we reached Magic Kingdom - the lines for most of the character photos weren't too long and we stopped several times.
As I said the crowds weren't too bad - even on "Cone Alley" as we call the one-lane section from Magic Kingdom to the Polynesian. We saw our friends Gail and Julian cheering near the Grand Floridian and stopped to say hello to them. They come out and cheer just about every year, and it's wonderful to see them!
I saw several groups of Team AllEars runners out on the course - it was fun to run with them a bit.
Backstage at Animal Kingdom the keepers bring out some of the animals - that's always fun. This adorable little owl is named Finn - but he wouldn't look at the camera.
And I had to get my photo taken with Jiminy Cricket - he's not a character you see very often.
Outside Animal Kingdom was Mickey Mouse!
The stretch from Animal Kingdom to Wide World of Sports is long and boring. Our Team AllCheers group always sets up a cheering section there - they are such a welcome sight!
As I was coming out of Wide World of Sports about mile 19 I found some familiar faces! Lee was running with a different group, and they had started in an earlier corral. They'd been having fun along the coast taking their time, and posing for photos - they even took a ride on Expedition Everest! So I was finally able to catch up.
They were having way too much fun, so I joined them for the rest of the race. At about mile 22 Eddie and Lee did pushups for Sarge. Lee was feeling so good he did clapping push ups.
We eventually made it to Epcot. Aladdin told me I needed to be careful, because Abu likes to steal shiny things. :-) I was surprised that there weren't more characters out in Epcot - I only saw Aladdin and Mulan.
In Mexico we stopped and several of us got frozen margaritas. Let me tell you, that was a great way to end a race! :-)
At mile 26 is my favorite sight of the race - the gospel choir. They sing us home.
No new wristband today - instead they gave us three medals! Clank, clank, clank. :-)
The Dopey Challenge has been a really special experience, especially sharing it with teammates, and I'm glad I did it...but this may be a "one and done". The lack of sleep really caught up with a lot of us today, I think.
The recap of the half marathon is still to come. For now I'm going to call it a night, and I'm very glad that I am NOT getting a 2 a.m. wakeup call tomorrow!
The previous post in this blog was WDW 2014 Marathon Weekend - Inaugural Dopey Challenge, Part 4.
The next post in this blog is Disneyland Resort Photo Update - 1/10/14.