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WDW Marathon Relay Archives

January 17, 2012

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - The Marathon Relay

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If you don't care about the new Walt Disney World Marathon Relay, stop reading now. :-)

When they announced the new Marathon Relay race last year we were very interested, and signed up. But there was very little information on how it was going to work...and as time went on, not much new information was forthcoming, which was quite a surprise. All of us running it wanted to know how the actual exchange was going to work, and there were no details at all about that!

There was a little bit of information (including a map) when they published the marathon weekend program on-line in December, but still no specifics. When we picked up our registration packets at the Expo, there was an information sheet for the relay teams with a few more details. The worst part was that the Leg 2 runner also needed to catch a bus to Epcot by 4:00 a.m., and could take either bus or monorail to get to the Relay exchange area in the Transportation and Ticket Center parking lot. If you took the bus it dropped you at the relay area, if you took the monorail you had to walk from the TTC (10-20 minute walk). STILL really no information on the exchange, though!

On the morning of the race they had this map up at the information area in the pre-race area of Epcot- this was as much detail as we got. It showed their were four "chutes" for the Leg 2 runners instead of 8 that were shown on the program.

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - The Marathon Relay

I was the leg 2 runner, so I got to "scout" the Relay Exchange area. :-) I took the monorail from Epcot to the TTC, then walked to the relay area - it was easy to find, just follow the sound! There was a finish line for the leg 1 runner, with a clock, and then beyond that were chutes off to the side with number ranges. (That's Lee crossing the finish line.)

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - The Marathon Relay

There was a stage and a race announcer, but they were across the exchange area and not accessible. The big screen alternated between showing the relay finish line, the Epcot finish line (most of the wheelchairs and the top runners finished while I was watching), and other scenes.

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - The Marathon Relay

The leg 2 runner waited in the chute until they saw their runner approaching, and then moved out onto the course for a hug, kiss, high-5, or whatever. There was no "baton", and no electronic tracking point that both runners had to cross.

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - The Marathon Relay

Runner 1's time ended when they crossed the finish line. Runner 2's time started when they got back onto the marathon course and crossed the 13.1 mile tracking point. But the time in between was counted as the "transition time" and added to the team's overall time.

The leg 2 runner had about .3 miles further to run, since they had to exit the transition area and get back into the marathon course (that entrance was just BEFORE the 13 mile mark) and then their official time started .1 miles after the 13 mile mark.

The relay area was quite large considering there were less than 900 teams. They had plenty of porta-potties and a bag check and information area. And the medal stand and refreshment area for the leg 1 finishers.

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - The Marathon Relay

They ALSO had Chip and Dale available to pose with runners, against a nice marathon relay backdrop.

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - The Marathon Relay

But it was a REALLY long wait for the second runner. Most of us got over there by 5:00-6:00, and then had to wait until 7:30-8:30 (or longer!) for the first runner to arrive. There was no shelter there at all and it was dark until about 7:00. Fortunately there were mylar "blankets" available, and I saw lots of runners curled up on the pavement with the blankets around them trying to sleep.

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - The Marathon Relay

It explained the extra "gift" that the relay teams received at Packet Pickup, though - we all got these blue bags...

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - The Marathon Relay

And inside was a seating pad, I guess to help cushion us from all of that waiting around we were going to have to do! (I don't know anyone who actually used it, though!)

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - The Marathon Relay

About 30 minutes before I expected Lee to arrive I checked Lee's gear bag (and added a couple of items of mine that I no longer needed). In turn, he had checked my gear bag at Epcot so it would be waiting for me at the finish. Before we said goodbye at Epcot we made VERY sure that we had the correct bags! At about 7:40 I went to the appropriate chute to wait for him. I had used the Runner Tracking setup to send text messages to my phone, so I had a pretty good idea of when he was due. I could see him when he was about 100 yards away.

It was fun watching the "exchanges" - some people gave their first leg runners big hugs and kisses, and some just said a couple of words and the second runner took off. I saw quite a few who gave their incoming running the mylar sheet that they had been using!

Another interesting thing...Disney recognized that there were some runners who for whatever reason didn't have their first-leg teammate. They still allowed them to run - at about 7:45 (a little over two hours after the race had started) they made an announcement that those without a first leg runner were free to leave and begin their race. So they still got their time and their medal - I thought that was a nice way for Disney to handle it.

There were plenty of buses to transport the leg 1 runners back to Epcot - Lee had no problem getting back there, though they had to take the long way around via Ft. Wilderness and Bonnet Creek Parkway.

Once I was out on the race course the rest of the race was really no different for me than for those running the full marathon - except that I was a lot less tired than they were. :-)

At the finish line they had plenty of people looking at our bibs and directing us to the area where we received the Relay medal instead of the Mickey medal. There weren't nearly as many racks of Chip and Dale medals as there were Mickey medals, though!

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - The Marathon Relay

One thing I was disappointed about - at the area where they were taking pictures of us, there was no special Relay backdrop - only the ones for the Marathon and for the Goofy. So I didn't get my photo taken.

Shannon, who read my earlier blog on the relay, sent me an email and let me know that there WAS a Relay backdrop at the finish - it was near the Runner's Retreat and the concession stand. She writes: "It was small and easy to miss. I noticed it while waiting with my DH before the first leg when I grabbed a cup of coffee."

And here is their photo. (Thank you, Shannon, for the use of the picture!)

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - The Marathon Relay

For the most part, for a first-time event I thought this one went quite well. The transportation to/from the Relay Exchange area went quite smoothly. And there were few enough people that it was easy to find your incoming runner as long as you had some idea of when they would be arriving. I still think the wait time for the leg 2 runner was excessive, though. And it seems like there should be some way to avoid having to have them arrive at Epcot so early when they won't be running for several more hours.

If you are thinking of doing the Relay in the future, then I think choosing a monorail resort for your weekend stay would be a really good option. The leg 1 runner can take the monorail to Epcot, and the leg 2 runner can stay in the room until they need to take the monorail to the TTC and then walk to the Relay Exchange area to wait for their leg 1 runner.

And after I wrote that, I received this email from Julie:

"I was a 2nd leg relay person. I ended up staying at the Contemporary the night before. I took the monorail to the TTC and walked to the exchange area in the MK parking lot. When I got off the monorail at TTC, a security guard pointed me toward the crowd of spectators watching the race. There was a walkway marked for spectators and relay runners that was easy to follow to the Simba parking lot. It made getting to the exchange point very simple.

"I left the Contemporary around 6:30 or so and was in the exchange area a little after 7 a.m. My relay partner finished her half by 8:15 so I didn't wait long. My backup plan was to drive to MK after 5:30 a.m. Either way, it requires extra money to rent a car or stay at a monorail hotel so you don't have to get up so early. I did the half on Saturday so I was looking for a way to get extra sleep on Sunday."

(Thank you, Julie, for sharing your experience!)

Someone told me that it seemed as though I'd done the Relay just to get the new medal, and asked if I would do it again. Hmm. While I enjoyed the experience, and I'm glad that we did it, it's not something I would do year after year. Lee and I both felt a little "guilty" being out on the Marathon course when we were only running 13.1 miles and not 26.2. But I'd do it again with a friend who really wanted to do it and needed a partner.

In closing I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to all of the wonderful volunteers who worked the Expo, handed out water and snacks, provided direction, and cheered us on - we couldn't do it without you! And thank you to all of the spectators who cheered and offered encouragement and yelled and rang those cowbells!

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - The Marathon Relay


January 9, 2012

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 2

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The Inaugural Walt Disney World Marathon Relay is in the books! Lee and I both had really good runs - he finished his half in 2:13:02, and I finished my half in 2:30:33. They also counted the 3:17 we spent in the transition area, so our total time was 4:46:51. I was thrilled that it was under 5 hours! The number "4" was still the first number in the race clock when I arrived at the finish - I didn't think I'd ever see that.

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 2

Just a few photos for now - I'll have a more detailed report later.

The morning started EARLY - we caught the bus a little after 3:00. Here's the Team AllEars photo, taken about 4:15 - a few people were missing because their bus drivers got lost. :-(

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 2

In the transition area (they had a HUGE area for the relay, much larger than we needed), they had numbered chutes, and you waited until you saw your runner approach, and then moved out into the lane. There was no official passing of a baton, or any point that you both had to cross - just whatever greeting you wanted to give your incoming runner, and then runner 2 could take off.

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 2

Lee crosses the finish line! He had a really good time. Which made it nice for me, because it put me ahead of a whole lot of runners, so the course was less crowded for me, and I didn't have to wait too long to get my photos taken with the characters. :-)

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 2

They had a really elaborate area set up for the Villains!

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 2

Team All Ears cheering area just past mile 24 - this was really a great place for them to be, since at that point a lot of us are very tired - we know we can make it to the finish, but a little extra encouragement really helps, and they were so supportive of EVERYONE - not just TAE runners!

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 2

My new Chip and Dale relay medal!

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 2



January 8, 2012

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 1

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It's Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World - and so we're back in Florida again! It's the place to be this weekend. :-) This time we are running the new Marathon Relay race on Sunday. It's a new medal, so I HAD to have a new piece of bling for my collection! :-) Lee will run the first half and I will run the second half. So we only have to run 13.1 miles, but between us we'll do 26.2. I'll have lots more on the race after we actually do it and see how it goes. There has not been much information on exactly how the exchange will work, and that's been a bit frustrating.

Anyway...I'm going to give you the weekend so far in just some photos.

We arrived Thursday night, and got in early enough that we had time to visit the Expo and pick up our race packets before it closed at 7:00! I was surprised at how many people were still there that late, but the lines were short to pick everything up. There were a lot of people shopping, though.

There are something like 1200 teams registered for the marathon relay - the numbers started at 70,001. So it's not a huge number, which is good.

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 1

They had some new Coast-to-Coast merchandise, and we really liked the t-shirts, so we got them - if all goes according to plan, we will earn our Coast-to-Coast medals when we complete the new Tinker Bell Half Marathon (another new piece of bling!) in three weeks.

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 1

I was very disappointed that the only piece of Marathon Relay merchandise they had was this t-shirt - the gray color is just blah.

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 1

Here's our Expo loot:

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 1

We went to Epcot and had dinner at Tangerine Cafe and wandered around - for dessert we shared another pumpkin spice funnel cake. There was still a little bit of Christmas at Epcot.

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 1

Friday morning we went to Animal Kingdom - that's usually the park we visit on our first morning here. We had an interesting safari - saw not just one, but TWO hippos that were out of the water!

This one was sunbathing - and yes it is getting sunburned! (No, the vultures are not moving in for the kill.)

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 1

This one was out of the water eating. It was nice to see them doing something a little bit different.

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 1

We usually don't find much of interest in the aviaries, but we enjoyed watching this weaver bird work on his nest. He really was weaving it.

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 1

Over in the aviary along the Maharajah Jungle Trek we saw the world's largest pigeon - it's called a Southern Crowned Pigeon. Kind of surprising that a bird this size can fly - but we saw him fly.

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 1


It's amazing what guest will try to bring into the shops... ;-)

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 1

That afternoon we went to a Team AllEars meet - afterwards the Team's Brain Trust took some time to relax (it's a very busy weekend for them!)

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 1

After dinner we walked over to the Osborne Lights. It wasn't quite as private a show as we had at the December to Remember event, but it wasn't crowded at all and we really enjoyed wandering around and heard/saw four or five of the choreographed songs. And we found the cat! Or Lee did - he gets credit for spotting it.

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 1

In December I'd noticed that the some of the windows occasionally had images from Prep and Landing projected on them - I was able to get a photo this time!

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 1

This morning was the half marathon. Lee and I didn't make it to the start, but we joined several members of Team AllEars/Team AllChears to cheer at mile 11.5 - very near the entrance to the Epcot Parking lot. We'd never done that before because we'd been the recipients of the cheers instead, but it was really a lot of fun ringing our cowbells and seeing everyone pass by. We watched a double amputee run by us - wow. That was very inspirational.

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 1

We took it easy and relaxed this afternoon before going to the big Team AllEars meet at the Dolphin. Thank you to the Swan and Dolphin Hotels for donating a conference room for our use! We had over 100 people there, so it was really great to have all that space. Deb Wills revealed the amount Team AllEars has raised for the breast cancer fund - $67,050 - and still counting! Thanks to all of you who have contributed to that! As Mike Scopa said in his remarks - we are touching lives, and even saving the lives of people we will never know. This is a really amazing group of people, and I'm very proud to be a part of the team.

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 1

Deb had a new piece of bling for us this year - so here is the 2012 Team AllEars medal! Very cool!

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 1

We all posed for the team photo - I don't have that, since I was in it, but here's all the people who were taking photos of us! :-)

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 1

Lee and I had an early dinner at the Dolphin Fountain. As we walked back to the Boardwalk there was a beautiful sunset on the lake between the Swan and the Dolphin hotels.

WDW 2012 Marathon Weekend - Part 1

It's going to be a VERY early morning for us - getting up at 2:30 so we can catch the bus at 3:00. Lots of waiting with these Disney races. By the time many of you read this Lee will be done with his part, and I will be well on my way.



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About WDW Marathon Relay

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Salute to All Things Disney but Mostly Disneyland in the WDW Marathon Relay category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

WDW Marathon is the previous category.

Wine and Dine Half Marathon is the next category.

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