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Complete Half Marathon Recap: runDisney WDW Marathon Weekend 2023

Date & Time: Saturday, January 7, 2023 at 5 a.m.

Course Map:

I was doing so well with doing recaps right away for the runDisney Marathon Weekend 5K and 10K – but then the need for sleep took over and now I’m playing a little catch up. So here, my friend, is the recap for Saturday’s half marathon.

It’s hard to sum up how much fun this race was. It might have been the best course I’ve ever done.

As usual we started the morning super early in the EPCOT parking lot. People were again arriving by 3 if not before, so lines for the stage area characters got long quickly. If you encounter this during a runDisney race, don’t sweat it. The characters are usually out again *after* the race ends and you can catch them then if you don’t before the start – and then it’s extra fun because you’ll have your medal(s)!! 

The half marathon’s stage area characters were Darkwing Duck, Flick, Pain & Panic (together), and Timon. We had Darkwing from the 10K (and had waited a long time for him!), knew Flick is always out for the full, and have plenty of Timon, so our only priority was Pain & Panic – so we hopped in that line and just waited it out.

The weekend as a whole was a great example of how crazy temperatures can be in Florida over runDisney’s Marathon Weekend. After a hot and muggy 5K on Thursday and a fairly temperate 10K on Friday, the weather on Saturday morning for the half marathon was cold!! 

The first two characters on the course were Esmeralda and Sally and I have no idea how either was functioning in the cold in their outfits. 

I’d done my usual and gotten some throwaway jackets at Goodwill to drop/donate when I was warm enough. At the start I couldn’t even wrap my head around ever not wanting my coat but after a couple of miles my core was warm enough and I left it at the stop for Beast.

At the next stop – Jack – we were standing still for several minutes and my body temperature started to drop again. I regretted dropping my coat a bit – but more than anything and for the rest of the race I regretting dropping the gloves that were in that coat pocket. My core was more than fine for most of the race but my hands were frozen to the point that trying to use my phone (or do anything else that required fingers!!) got very difficult. I ended up holding onto my gloves the next day at the full for much much longer than I probably needed to just because of this lesson learned and might just start grabbing inexpensive tech gloves to have on hand for colder races going forward.

Characters along the course were again phenomenal and lines were pretty minimal for the most part. We probably averaged 2-3 minutes waiting for each of the sixteen (!!) character stops that we did – with most being right around that time with a few mixed in that were longer and a few mixed in that were walk ups. Being in the first corral made such a big difference on this front. We managed to stay ahead of the crowds and ended up finishing the race in 2 hours and 45 minutes including all of these character stops and a couple of bathroom and stretch breaks. A long way from my PR from March – but that’s exactly what you want going into a runDisney race unless you have a really good and urgent reason to be shooting for a personal best. Like I always say, if you PR a runDisney race, you probably overspent. Run your local races for personal bests. Enjoy the runDisney courses.  

Characters that we got along the way: Pain & Panic, Esmeralda, Sally, Beast, Jack, Buzz, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, Chip & Dale, Kerchak, Tink & Periwinkle, Belle, Hades, Jafar, Genie, Lottso, Mushu, and Meeko

We skipped Lumiere, Max, and 90th Mickey. (Why were the the 90th costumes all over the course?? We were convinced that someone had mixed up the 90s theme with the 90th birthday…) We’d gotten them at the prior races – Lumiere in France during the 10K, 90th Mickey (with Minnie!!) near Boardwalk during the 10K, and Max during the 5K. 

There was also a really cute 101 Dalmations photo op by the Contemporary before we entered Magic Kingdom where we definitely stopped for some silly pictures.

And a Mickey golf cart – with a PhotoPass photographer!! – on the road before EPCOT!!

As we closed in on EPCOT we got to watch a gorgeous sunrise.

And then we got to see my amazing running team, which you can find out about RIGHT HERE, right before we entered EPCOT for the finish. Loved that the course let us spend a bit more time in Future World (or whatever we’re supposed to be calling it these days) since we’d been in World Showcase so much during the 5K and 10K. 

All in all I just loved this course. The cold made for an amazing run even if my hands were icicles. The characters were great. The music was still all 90s and a blast to hear around the parks. (I’ll never forget waiting for a picture with Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum in Fantasyland while Macarena blared in the background.) And the overall vibe was just incredibly positive and energetic. 

I left exhausted but more excited for the full marathon the next day than I think I’ve ever been before. Stay tuned for that recap next!!

So much love for my friend Michael who ran all of the races by my side this weekend!!

If you’re looking for a recap of the weekend’s 5K and 10K too, you can find it right HERE for the 5K and right HERE for the 10K.

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Want running playlists? You can find the full collection HERE. Including the 90s playlist that I put together specifically for this weekend! 

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You can find my complete guide to making the most of your runDisney race weekend RIGHT HERE and my guide to running trails on Disney World property RIGHT HERE.

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Please join me on Instagram for my day-to-day adventures living a mile from the magic. And join the conversation over in our community on Facebook!

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If you’re missing home (or love someone who is) and are looking for a way to bring the magic home, I’d love for you to check out my Core Memory collection right HERE. And as always, stay safe and be kind, my friend.

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