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February 16, 2010

Disney Marathon Weekend: Challenging Weather, New Friends, and Wonderful Memories

by Michelle Scribner-MacLean

Have you ever looked forward to something for a long time… a really long time… and then when you actually get to experience that thing, it turns out to be even better than you’d hoped? That’s how I’d describe my experience at the 2010 Disney Marathon Weekend, where I got to meet my fellow Team AllEars members, share stories, hugs, and get ourselves to the starting line to tackle the Disney races.

A few days before heading down to Orlando, the team started buzzing about the weather for the race – there was a cold snap predicted – and we knew that we’d need to prepare ourselves with every combination of workout gear imaginable. I packed old hats, mittens, sweats, and raingear with the knowledge that if the weather was a challenge, I could wear layers and peel them off (Disney collects discarded clothing and donates it to charity).

I ventured to Orlando with my team co-captain and AEN colleague, Mike Scopa, and all of our worries about the cold were pushed aside as we saw the sign that always gets us happy and excited.


Now, being from New Hampshire, Mike and I are accustomed to the cold weather, but we were very surprised to see the effects of the cold snap on Walt Disney World. All around us was evidence that the plant life at the resort was taking a beating.

The butterfly at the Beach Club had a jacket on….


Plants surrendered to the cold….


And after a few days Disney must have realized that the cold would cause them to have to initiate a massive replanting effort, as evidenced by this sign.


Meeting the Team

Our first team meet was that night at YeHaw Bob show at Port Orleans Riverside. I have to give credit to WDWToday’s Mike Newell and Matt Hochberg for introducing me to this phenomenal entertainer last December. After experiencing Bob’s ability to get an entire room up and dancing, we felt confident that this would be a great place to meet some of the running team. With the help of team member Melanie Camphouse, we were able to meet some of our teammates for the first time.

Our team consisted of people from four different countries and included, Jorge, who flew in from Mexico, and Tacey, from Canada, as well as others who flew in from all over the United States. It was so gratifying to meet these amazing people, who had inspired me during my training, but it was equally touching to sit back and watch others, who had formed close relationships, meet each other for the first time.


Pre-race day

With one Disney half marathon under my belt, I knew that the Friday before the race needed to be a rest day. After heading over to the World of Sports for my race packet and a trip to the Expo, I spent a quiet day meeting more team members and having lunch with dear friends Steve and Vickie Barrett, who were in town for race weekend.


When I arrived back in my room, I found a surprise – a cooler with lots of snacks, sent as support from my family back in New England. Disney has lots of specialized gift packages for racers, and I truly appreciated being spoiled with these goodies.


I’m in Florida….and Ice Is Pelting Me on the Face!

This year I was very prepared for the idea that race day starts at 2 a.m at Disney (yes, you read that correctly, 2 AM!). I laid out my clothes the night before, but this year’s forecast meant that I needed to add many more things than the year before. Because of cold, I had four layers of clothes on top, two hats, two pairs of gloves, a gaiter (thanks, Deb!), running leggings, sweat pants, and a rain coat on top of all that. Overkill? Nope. I felt like I was wearing a closet full of clothes, but was happy when I headed outdoors in the 29F temps and I felt comfortable.

Mike, Deb Wills, and I headed over to the race area in Epcot and were able to park very close to the area where the runners queue up. This is definitely one of the advantages of getting up so early – a close parking space means less walking after the race, when you really want to get into the car and go.

Again this year, I chose to do Race Retreat, and convinced Deb and Mike that it might be worthwhile, as well. This year it was money that was wisely spent. It wasn’t so much the separate bathrooms, bag check, food, or comfortable seating that was worth the $75, but it was the heat and protection from the elements. I got a lot of teasing from Mr. Scopa last year when I did Race Retreat, but this year, as the snow and ice started falling outside, he graciously conceded that perhaps I was right (yes, I’m still gloating… and will certainly sign up for it the next time I run).

As we headed toward the starting line, the walk seemed to be a lot longer than last year. Perhaps this was because of the weather, but it seemed like a long march to the race corrals and it was almost surreal to realize that we were in Orlando, Florida, but as we gazed up into the lights leading the way, we were actually seeing snow and ice falling from the sky!!

We queued up and waited about 40 minutes before we started running and I was completely amazed by the fact that ice was pelting against my cheeks as I ran! Later, I heard many people say, “That must not have been strange for you… you live in New Hampshire!” Yes, I do, but I don’t typically run outdoors when it’s in the upper 20s and snow and ice are falling.

The number of people who run the race is astounding… and sadly, I was quickly separated from my running buddy, but knew that he was close by. This was a different race for me this year. I didn’t achieve a personal record, but I felt really calm and I think this is attributed to the fact that I had built some confidence from finishing the race in 2009.

One thing that was exactly the same as last year – as I headed toward Epcot and crossed the finish line, I got choked up and cried a bit, as I waited with my mylar blanket draped around me, for my running buddy Mike to finish. We shared a victory hug and then several more as we ran into other Team members.

Later that day we had a celebratory meeting with fellow Team AllEars members, other friends, and family members to meet (some for the first time), recount stories, and pat each other on the back.


Because of construction, we had to change our meet location and I would like to apologize to Team AllEars members Jamie, Emily, Jessica, and Karen, who didn’t get word of the new spot. They are all very valued team members and we were sad that we didn’t get to meet them.

Five members of AllEars.net completed the half marathon: Barrie Brewer, Cathy Bock, Deb Wills, Mike Scopa, and myself. We took a minute to take a photo of our “bling.”


More importantly….there were 35 other people who, not only trained together, supported each other from afar, and build lasting friendships, but they worked together as a team to raise $25,000 for breast cancer research. Special… amazing… wonderful… there aren’t enough words to describe how proud I am to have met and run with this group.

This was our first year with Team AllEars and we did it as a “trial run.” We weren’t sure how it would all work, but I think Deb and Mike would agree that this extraordinary group of individuals made the team what it was… and convinced us that we need to do it again next year.


I would like to extend my heartfelt love and gratitude to my co-captains Mike and Deb and to all of Team AllEars.

Boom Boom Pow.

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About February 2010

This page contains all entries posted to Team AllEars® Running Blog in February 2010. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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