Walt Disney World Half Marathon Rain Out

Rain can't stop a runner's heart. The @runDisney #WDWHalf was cancelled but the runners ran… Click To Tweet

Hey folks! Well, I decided it was probably a good idea to come home and start writing about the Walt Disney World marathon weekend! I know a lot of you were following along over on Instagram and Twitter and I thank you for that. I was having the time of my life. One of the big moments of the weekend I know that stuck out for everyone was the cancellation of the Walt Disney World Half Marathon. So let me fill you in on what went down.

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Florida Weather! The Ultimate Scam!

Throughout the day on Friday, runDisney was communicating that they were monitoring the weather. There were strong reports of lighting storms headed our way and these would likely threaten the half marathon on Saturday morning. Well, it happened. On Friday evening, runDisney made the tough decision to cancel Saturday’s race (which was the 20th anniversary of this race). It was the right call to make for the runners, volunteers, cast members, and all people involved. We don’t want anyone becoming fried food on the course. As you can imagine, many people were disappointed with the cancellation. Others relieved (looking at my Dopey people). Me? I looked at it as a way to get some extra sleep. It is so necessary during a Dopey Challenge weekend. If you are new here the Dopey Challenge means you run all of the races (5K, 10K, half marathon, full marathon) back to back. Early wake up calls…lots of miles…tons of fun. Anyway.

Saturday morning came and it was wet outside…it rained all night. There was still some precipitation in the air and clouds were still moving. I had an honest chat with myself. I had to decide between glory and the feeling of personal accomplishment and discipline or brunch. I had to choose between brunch. If you could have seen the look of crisis on my face. Ultimately, after a 10 minute conversation with myself I got dressed and headed out. The earlier I got the 13.1 miles in the sooner I could go play. It was like homework.

Headed out the door

Headed out the door

I was staying at the Pop Century resort which neighbors the Art of Animation resort. Between them is Hourglass lake. Around the lake is a running path which is sponsored by New Balance…who happens to be the footwear sponsor of runDisney. I knew from past experience that the loop is about a mile. So 13 times around the lake I went.

Thanks New Balance

Thanks New Balance

While I was out and about running (in between dodging lighting strikes that were passing) I couldn’t help but realize that the amount of runners on the trail was growing. They were showing up in droves. With smiles on their faces. HAPPY to have the opportunity to earn their half marathon medals. People came out of their hotel rooms and cheered for hours for the runners offering support and love. Let me tell you, for me that made a huge difference. The spectators were cheering and celebrating every single person who came out and there will small cheer stations all around the lake. My friend Sparkly Runner was going to spectate the race anyway, so she moved her “aid” station to the middle of the trail. I heard that other spectators donated bottled water and assorted snacks for the runners. There were even some fun “character” stops with kids in their Stitch costumes. I believe I heard someone call it the Pop Art Half Marathon at one point. Check out a part of the spectator magic.

GO OFF POP CHEER SQUAD!!!!!! And this is just one of them! #rundisney #wdwhalf #werunsocial

A video posted by Sharp Endurance (@sharpendurance) on

Runners Take Over

Runners Take Over

I finished my 13.1 miles with a smile on my face. The feeling I had running that race with all of those amazing runners and spectators was absolutely unreal. You HAD to of been there. I am trying to find the words to describe it and I just can’t. The people were humble and loving. Every person out there supported one another and helped. I saw so many high 5s. I heard so many “You got this keep going!”

Captured by Sparkly Runner

Captured by Sparkly Runner

I can’t remember ever feeling such a strong positive vibe. If you followed my Insta Story than you saw the party that was going on. I finished my run and people were still cheering and still running. Part of the challenge is running the miles on the specific day. For me, it was important to run and show discipline and lead by example. I could have gone to brunch, but I wanted to earn my Duck. I don’t judge anyone that chose not to run…that isn’t my business. But I will say you guys missed something special if you weren’t staying at Pop Century or Art of Animation. I also heard there were some runners that took over Disney’s Boardwalk as well. Some took to Disney Springs.

Earned

Earned

Here’s the thing. Saturday affirmed my love for the running community. Groups of people came out and ran and supported one another. In the rain. In the cold. I saw more happy faces during that make shift half marathon, than any other race I’ve been to in recent memory. It was special. It was unique. I am blessed to have been part of it. So to everyone that ran and cheered no matter where you were, thank you.

To runDisney, thank you so much for being so thoughtful and organized in your approach to handling this cancellation. Your communication was top notch, and your options you offered the participants in the form of transfers or refunds was so excellent. You didn’t have to do ANY of that. But you did and that made the day even more magical. I heard the expo experience on Saturday afternoon was top notch as well. So thank you to the operations team for making the best out of a not so good situation.

Did you run on Saturday? How did it make you feel?img_5613

28 Comments
  • Sandra
    January 11, 2017

    Sharp Endurance, you were a highlight of the race. Thanks for the memories!

    My photos from the Donald Duck Art Pop DIY Half Marathon, from around the Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head character stop, are in my Instagram. Search for user “ajaxfarquhar” and tags #wdwhalf. I have a video also, but need to figure out how to format it so that Instagram will accept it.

    • Sharp Endurance
      January 11, 2017

      I am glad I could help make the day a little brighter.

      • Holly Kesley
        January 12, 2017

        Aughh! The video is EXACTLY where I was standing! I had a trash bag to collect cups from one of the impromptu water stations. I was supposed to run the 1/2 and I regret not taking part. But I cheered on my Dopey husband and I am still honored to have been a part of it. Check out my FB, Twitter, or Insta (hollykesley) for my take!

  • Kimberley
    January 11, 2017

    I was following the day on social media and I’d be lying if I said all the pics and videos of people running and cheering didn’t make me a bit teary. Just another reason running rocks!!

  • Sunnyrunner
    January 11, 2017

    I was scheduled to run the half Saturday, in honor of my friends little boy. I live about 45 minutes away so I instead chose to get up and start at 520am wear my race shirt honoring my friends son and my bib and hit the streets for my own half.

    • Sharp Endurance
      January 11, 2017

      You are a rockstar! Way to rock those miles for your friends little boy! #MilesMatter

  • Erin
    January 11, 2017

    Haha, that’s my sister in Sparkly Runner’s pic! What an amazing, special experience that was – much more memorable than the regular half would have been. We were a bit bummed about the whole thing but wanted to get our 13.1 in. After coffee, we left the Pop Century cafeteria around 8:30am and ran into a guy who just finished who was BEAMING. He said he had done Dopey every year since it started and this was his most favourite race EVER. He pumped us up and made us ready to tackle our run and, was he ever right.

    THANK YOU to every person who cheered, gave water and candy and to every runner who gave a high five to a kudos. It made the day one I’ll never forget.

    • Sharp Endurance
      January 11, 2017

      Beaming is the right word. The moment was so electric and amazing!!!! I can relate haha

  • Ray Bailey
    January 11, 2017

    Awesome! We had similar experiences at Port Orleans Resort (French Quarter and Riverside) New Balance Trail. 100s of runners, guests cheering and setting up water and bananas stops, and ‘bling’ (Mardi Gras beads)! Best 13.1 I’ve ever run!

    • Sharp Endurance
      January 11, 2017

      I was wondering if the Port Orleans resorts turned up! I am glad to see they joined the party! We can’t stop won’t stop!

  • Haley
    January 11, 2017

    I loved seeing how everyone came together despite the cancellation. And all the spectators, volunteers and “character” stops I saw on IG were so special. I wish I had been there to run with y’all.
    And I’m super bummed I missed you on Sunday. I got a little tipsy drinking mimosas with my cheer squad and missed a handful of friends after the 5 hour pacer.

  • Carrie
    January 12, 2017

    My husband and I got up at 3:30 and got our 13.1 in bright and early around the All Star Resorts. It was great timing because it didn’t rain at all, but we missed all the fun. There were only about 20 runners and 1 cheer squad guy out there at that time. We loved seeing the community come together though later!!! It was amazing and made it an experiemce we will never forget!!!

  • Becky
    January 12, 2017

    I got to participate in the inaugural Coronado Springs Half Marathon! It was pretty amazing.

  • Jeanna Fox
    January 12, 2017

    It was incredible seeing is all over “the World”. We were at Port Orleans and I cheered and cried as so many amazing runners got in their miles and made the very best of the situation. What a great day. I opted to upgrade to the full and ended up completing my first ever Marathon! Run Disney really pulled off some magic with this one but the best really was the team spirit of everyone who showed up to make other’s dreams come true!

    • Sharp Endurance
      January 12, 2017

      OMG I love this so much! Congratulations on your first marathon finish! True magic indeed!!!

  • Michelle
    January 12, 2017

    Yes- to everything you said. I did the Boardwalk half marathon and it was amazing. Best half I’ve ever done. Support from the spectators and other runners was outstanding. I’ve run a bunch of half’s, but I can honestly say that was the first time in my life, I finished a half-marathon thinking, “that was so much fun!” I think Disney did right by us, and for me, the first time I’ve really seen the spirit and compassion of the running community. This was supposed to be my first Disney race, but it will definitely not be my last.

  • Shelby Shaw
    January 12, 2017

    Thanks for posting! I am sick of people telling me my run didn’t count, that it was just a training run. I was part of the Disney springs group and it was indeed magical. Thanks for reminding me not to let others still my joy, And that yes the running community is something special.

    • Sharp Endurance
      January 12, 2017

      We made the best out of a situation. You logged your miles. They count. 🙂

  • Valarie
    January 12, 2017

    Old Key West resort also had their 1/2 marathon going on with the guard shack handing out water to runners. The bell caps even set up a finish line. It was amazing to witness 😍

  • Jane
    January 12, 2017

    Thank you all for sharing these special moments. You will always remember this race. You will forever be connected because YOU WERE THERE! I remember running the Los Angeles Marathon 2000 in pouring rain – thunder – lightning and hail – 17 years – more than 100 races later – that special day remains one of my most favorite racing experiences!
    Congratulations 🍾🎊🎉

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