Archive for Race Report

2018 – 25th Walt Disney World Marathon – race #4 of the Dopey Challenge

Time for the 25th anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon!!

Cold again! But forecast to get warmer through the race – this required a bit of a rethink of my gear.

On the other 3 races I wore thermal running leggings and my winter running jacket – with the expected warmth later in the race the leggings were too warm so I skipped using those for the full. I also had to carry the winter running jacket from mile 4 on during the half so I didn’t want to have to do the same thing for the marathon. Instead I used an extra thermal mid-layer that I could toss if I needed to.

These gear changes meant I needed to also wear some disposable sweat pants and anther Mylar blanket and garbage bag.

For the past several years I have run marathons using a hydration backpack but I didn’t bring it with me this race – and I re-discovered on half the day before that the Powerade will not work for me. I did however bring a belt pouch that had 2 bottle holders – I put a flat bottle of Coke in one and a bottle of the zero calorie electrolyte drink I have used on ultra-marathons in the other. I resolved to drink water at every aid station and slowly work out my 2 bottles through the race – this worked surprisingly well and I had absolutely no stomach issues through the race!

I decided that I wanted to use the gimbal again this morning but once I got back to the hotel after the half, I saw that my phone was down to 16% battery life – as a Canadian my phone is always in roam mode when I am at Disney World and that burns more battery (cell looks for a non-roaming tower more frequently using more juice than it normally would), plus I used the phone for music to run to. So I needed another plan for what to take videos with if I wanted to use the gimbal the next day.

I spent some time after the half rigging up my GoPro Session 4 to fit in the gimbal – there are gimbals specifically for GoPro cameras but mine is designed for smart phones so it took some playing but I came up with a solution that I was comfortable with.

The GoPro does not do as well as the smartphone in low light so my videos before dawn are not as good. Also the GoPro will not do 4k so my videos for the full are in 1080p instead. But that was the trade off to make sure my phone lasted to the end of the race giving me running music!

So I was up extra early again and once again I was on the first bus out of the Boardwalk Resort – whoohoo!

There were more buses at the drop area than there were for the half – so there were more people already there!

That meant there were more people already in line to see the characters but I needed to still visit Pluto and Minnie Mouse and their lines were the shortest since their associated races were already completed.

I got those pictures relatively quickly.

Pluto character greeting before the 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon

Minnie Mouse character greeting before the 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon

After that I made one pit stop before heading out to the corrals. Corral C again for this race.

I found a spot by the fences and sat down, snuggled into my Mylar and garbage bag, and relaxed until it was time to get up and get ready to move.

I ditched the throw away sweat pants, the Mylar and the garbage before the start and then we were off.

I had no plan to get pics of the mile markers for this one so I didn’t have any regular stops planned – this worked out fine – I was able to keep my brain occupied even without a short term goal to keep hitting.

Video of some of the highlights of the run:

In the backstage area on the back side of Magic Kingdom they had out the steampunk dragon from the Festival of Fantasy parade. I hadn’t intended to do any character stops but I had to stop for this one. There was no line and I love the look of the float. I always have to make this stop!

Festival of Fantasy Parade dragon character stop on the 2018 Disney World Marathon course

By the time I got through Magic Kingdom, the sun was up and I was boiling! Time to ditch one of my thermal shirts…that was made fun since I had to ditch a mid layer. Put down the gimbal,rRunning hat and belt off, top shirt off, thermal shirt off, top shirt back on, then hat and belt back on, tie shirt around waist, pick up the gimbal and continue on…then stop 5 minutes later to ditch the shirt that I tied around my waist because I could not get it to sit comfortable. Some time lost there!

Then it was the long stretch between the Grand Floridian and Animal Kingdom – I stopped to get some pictures of some old ride vehicles that were out for viewing. Love the Nautilus sub!

20000 leagues under the sea ride vehicle 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon

Ride vehicle 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon

20000 leagues under the sea ride vehicle 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon

I enjoyed to run through Animal Kingdom and I like that the half way point is now in the park instead of in the parking / backstage areas – although I don’t really enjoy the out and back section that makes this possible.

And then, continue on toward ESPN along the road system – not really exciting but no drama and it went smoothly.

Next ESPN Wide World of Sports – it is always a bit disheartening to see the runners coming out of ESPN as you are going in and knowing they are at least 3 miles ahead of you. Meandered through ESPN and made the obligatory stop to get stones out of my shoes after the run through the stadium. At least there were benches right after the exit from the stadium!

From there back out on the highway through the area where they are doing a bunch of road construction – not particularly magical but before long we were taking the onramp to head toward Hollywood Studios.

Then the shortened trip through Hollywood Studios – all the construction there means that you don’t get as much time in this park unfortunately – I am holding out hope that once Toy Story and Star Wars lands are complete the marathon will give more time in this park. Thinking about it though they might reserve Star Wars land for the Dark Side half?

Coming out of Hollywood Studios you head past the construction area for the Skyway station for Hollywood Studios before going down the path towards mile 24 and the Boardwalk area.

Just past mile 24 my wife and kids were out and waiting to cheer me on! They had a can of Coke for me as well which would have been great but I didn’t think I could handle the fizz at that point.

I continued on from there past the Dolphin and Swan hotel areas, past the Yacht Club Resort, Stormalong Bay and the Beach Club Resort.

Heather and the kids were waiting for me on the bridge heading toward International Gateway but unfortunately I didn’t see them. I had my headphones in and did not hear them call me and wasn’t expecting them so wasn’t looking around. Oops.

Then through the construction area for the Skyway station by International Gateway, hit the last aid station for water and then into World Showcase by England. I did the tour through World Showcase before heading toward Future World and Spaceship Earth.

Interestingly they had out some princesses in the France pavilion but they were off to the side so the runners were missing that they were there…Heather and our daughter took advantage though!

Kaia with Belle in France

Kaia with Aurora in France

Made the corner at Spaceship Earth and headed into the backstage area for mile 26 and the choir. Interestingly the choir was split up on both sides of the course instead of on just one side like usual. Kind of liked the split as it gave a stereo effect.

Checked my watch and I was at 26.4 miles with around 0.2 to go – definitely added some of my own mileage to this race!

And then the home stretch toward the finish line!

Done and it never turned into a death march – frankly that was a nice surprise – my training was not good going into this race (injuries, etc) but I finished in less time than I expected and still felt ok. No injuries! This means I have figured out my nagging Achilles and knee issues and I can start to get training properly again – maybe a return to form for 2018?

Got my awesome 25th anniversary medal!

25th Walt Disney World Marathon medal. Mickey side of spinner.

25th Walt Disney World Marathon medal. Other side of spinner.

Then went to the challenge tent and got my Goofy Challenge and Dopey Challenge medals. Both are awesome – love the angular design of the Goofy medal and the blue jewel eyes on the Dopey!

2018 Goofy Challenge medal

2018 Dopey Challenge Medal

Next it was time to get in line for some after pictures.

Finisher pic courtesy of runDisney and the photopass service

While I was waiting I noticed something drop off the guy in front of me when his picture was getting taken…I scanned around and realized he had lost one of the eyes off of his Dopey medal. Crap! I pointed it out to him and he grabbed it – it could be glued back on for sure but I personally probably would have gone back to the challenge tent and asked for another medal. Not sure what he did.

I saw online after that some others have had the same issue. I babied my medal after I saw the one fall off and mine made it home with no issues.

After getting through the recovery area I thought about grabbing a post race beer from the beer cart but saw that it was over near the entrance to the secure area – across the full parking lot from the hotel buses. Decided that I had beer in our hotel room and opted for the buses.

Short wait for a bus and then a quick trip to the hotel and a long shower!

Whoohoo!! My 2nd Dopey Challenge complete including my 7th Goofy Challenge, 14th full marathon (8 of which were the Walt Disney World Marathon)!!!!

I then opted for a short nap before we headed into Epcot to celebrate our running adventures together. We visited with Mickey Mouse, Goofy and Minnie Mouse with our medals and got some great pictures!

Meeting Mickey Mouse with our 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon race medals!

Meeting my idol and the reason I have this blog! Goofy!

Whole family with our 2018 Walt Disney World Medals and Goofy!

Tae with Minnie Mouse and his 2018 Walt Disney World 10k race medal.

The whole family with our 2018 Disney World Marathon medals with Minnie Mouse!

Showing off our 2018 Walt Disney World race medals on the bridge between England and France in Epcot’s World Showcase

And with that the running portion of the vacation was over and the true family vacation part began. Great trip and great fun running around Disney World!

Disney World Half Marathon 2018 – race #3 of the Dopey Challenge

OK – day 3 of the Dopey Challenge / Walt Disney World Marathon weekend. Up at about 2 am and on the first bus heading out of BoardWalk Resort for the race staging area. It looks like we were one of the first buses at the staging area as there weren’t any lined up letting people off when we got there.

Still lots of people there but the lines were super short for the characters – so I did something I hadn’t done before…I got character pics before the race!

There were 6 characters for runners to get pictures with and I got through 4 lines before it was time to head out to the race corrals. I picked Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Dopey and Donald Duck for pictures leaving Pluto and Minnie Mouse to hopefully get the next morning before the full marathon.

Character pic with Goofy before the 2018 Disney World Half Marathon

Character pic with Dopey before the 2018 Disney World Half Marathon

Character pic with Mickey Mouse before the 2018 Disney World Half Marathon

Character pic with Donald Duck before the 2018 Disney World Half Marathon


I also decided to try something else new. I received a camera gimbal for Christmas and I decided to run the race with it and my smartphone.

For those that don’t know a gimbal is a device that you attach a camera to that helps to reduce jittery camera movement on videos. I have seen videos from several runners do this on various YouTube videos and I thought it would be good to give it a try myself.

I didn’t get a chance to use the gimbal on a run between Christmas and the marathon weekend so I was definitely going into the race green and without a plan on how exactly I planned to use the device. But I also knew I wasn’t going to be particularly quick so spending a bit of time to learn on course was not that big a deal.

I mounted my Galaxy S7 in the gimbal and set it to record in 4k. I have edited a bunch of video together and also loaded the raw video of the full run through Magic Kingdom. The nice thing about this phone is that it can record in 4k and still take high resolution images at the same time.

So with that all out of the way more about the race…

It was another cold morning so I was bundled up pretty well and had both a Mylar blanket and a big black garbage on to try to hold off the cold during the wait in the corral. I was in corral C, so at least the wait wasn’t going to be extremely long.

It was fun taking off the Mylar and garbage bag for the character photos before the race – but it was worth it.

I made my way with the crowds out to the corrals and found a spot to hang out and play with the camera and gimbal while I waited for the start.

Before too long we were on our way.

I decided on the fly to take a picture of every mile marker through the race – I had thought about doing that a few times before but always gave up during the race but decided to make sure to do this as well as yet another new thing to do on this race.

Here is the gallery of the mile markers for the 2018 Disney World Half Marathon: 

Having both the gimbal and a plan for taking pictures in mind helped passed the time on the race.

One thing I did learn about holding the gimbal is that my running style changed significantly and I was a good mile per hour slower running when I was recording than I was when I ran normally. I also found that I was holding very stiff and that I was out of breath more requiring more walk breaks. This is going to take much more practice to get used to running with the device.

Around mile 4 (just past the Ticket and Transportation Center) I had to take a porta-pottie break and take off my running jacket as I was starting to overheat. It was an expensive jacket so I spent the rest of the race with the jacket tied around my waist. Unfortunately that took more time that I would have liked to get things adjusted (about 10 minutes or so).

As we approached the Magic Kingdom we ran into a course change from previous years – instead of going past the bus area and entering Magic Kingdom through a backstage area we went through the bus area and entered the park through the front entrance. It was a cool change that I think added an extra element to the run – I liked that change.

I was happy I got into Magic Kingdom before the sun was really up so I got some great video of the park all lit up.


After the run through the park it was time to head back toward Epcot. I have to be honest this part of the race is a bit of a blur – no drama or big changes to the course – just the usual fun.

And then well before I expected, I was at mile 12 and heading into Epcot.

It was cool to see Tinker Bell and some of the fairy friends out in the backstage area as you enter Epcot!

The last mile of this race is always great – it is fun to run through Future World toward World Showcase before turning around and running back toward Spaceship Earth before heading out to the finish line.

And then across the line and got the awesome medal – and another Mylar blanket to replace the one I had to give up at the start line.

2018 Walt Disney World Half Marathon medal

I had some of the runner’s snack box, headed out to the buses and got on the bus back the hotel.

Another great race!

One thing that was re-enforced for me is that I cannot run using Gatorade or Powerade (which is used during runDisney races) – I had stomach issues through the race that started shortly after I hit the first aid station – I had Powerade at every aid station since I didn’t bring any of my own liquid on this race. This was a mistake that I was not going to make on the full the next day!

Disney World 10k – Jan 5, 2017 – Ran with my son!

This will be another quick write up – this time for the Walt Disney World 10k run that I did with my son (11) on Jan 5th, 2018.


It was his first 10k run and he had done the 5k with the rest of the family yesterday so I knew he was going to be tired and wasn’t sure how he would handle it. But he did great!



Another early morning, very cold as well again. Yay!


I let the boy sleep as long as I could while I showered and got dressed (at least the first few layers) and then I tried to wake him. I’m not sure how good a sleep he had because when I told him it was time he thought it was time to go to bed…he recovered quickly though.


After we were both dressed we headed out to catch an event bus to the staging area. We brought more Mylar blankets and a towel that we could use as extra insulation or something to sit on while we waited to start our run.


Bundled up!


So early…and the fire is so warm!


The bus ride was uneventful and there were many people there already when we got there. It wasn’t long before we were allowed into the corrals. Corral D for us this race – one back from where we were for the 5k but at least not in the end corral.


We wandered around a bit in the corrals and stepped out a few times to use the porta-potties before finding a place to sit down on the towel we brought and huddle under the Mylar blankets for warmth.


Mylar everywhere!


As they started moving the corrals forward we stood up and got rid of the towel – we should have hung onto it for a while longer. Moving up from Corral D to the start line took quite a bit longer than it had from Corral C the day before – in reality the time probably wasn’t that long since the mini waves they were doing kept things going but in the cold weather it felt like an eternity.


I could tell my son was getting nervous including his stomach starting to feel “weird” – so I kept him talking about the run and about other stuff


Finally it was our chance to get moving.


Not a huge amount to see in the half of the race before you head into Epcot but we had fun. I let him set his own pace – he dictated when he wanted to run and when he wanted to walk. It was good to see he pushed himself without going crazy.


We entered Epcot / World Showcase between the Norway and China pavilions (which is different from the 5k which comes in between Mexico and Norway).


At this point I started filming some of the run (sun was starting to come up and World Showcase was beautiful) and taking some pictures. Some of those will be below as will be some of the Disney photographer pics.


There were definitely characters out for pictures but we decided it was too cold to stop and opted to keep moving instead of standing in lines.


After you enter World Showcase you loop through that area of Epcot and exit out the International Gateway (Epcot’s back door to the Boardwalk hotel area) and cross the bridge to run along the Boardwalk. After that area you run past the Dolphin and Swan resorts before passing Disney’s Yacht Club and Disney’s Beach Club resorts and their great pool (Stormalong Bay).


You then enter the Epcot backstage area beside International Gateway – there was some construction there as they are building a SkyWay station in that location. They spiced up the construction area with some dressed up “construction workers” who helped cheer everyone on.


After the backstage you re-enter World Showcase by the England Pavilion, pass Canada and then head toward the Fountain of Nations and Spaceship Earth. You run around Spaceship Earth and then out toward the Epcot parking lot and the finish line.


The first half of the race isn’t particularly exciting but he second half is probably the best 3 miles of scenery you could hope for on a race.




As we progressed we got beautiful light as the sun was coming up – it ended up being a great day to run (if a bit too cold).


Trying to catch Spaceship Earth on his head.


Coming up on Spaceship Earth


Spaceship Earth


Spaceship Earth


Passing Spaceship Earth – photo by runDisney


In the end, even with a few picture stops, the boy managed to push us to a faster pace than what we did on the 5k the day before. And he looked strong the whole way – super proud of him for training and pushing himself leading up to the races. The back to back races have to have worn on him but he push though strong! Good job dude!


focused on the end – photo by runDisney – watch the shoe laces!


And across the line! photo by runDisney


He did – pic courtesy of runDisney


We did it together – pic by runDisney


Thumbs up!


Jan 4 2018 – Disney World 5k – running with Heather and the kids!

Below is a quick, almost point form, race report for the Walt Disney World 5k 2018 race that I did with Heather and the kids.

Sorry if it feels rushed – we just got back a couple days ago and things have been hectic and I want to get something out while things are still relatively fresh in my head.



Up way too early but since we had such a rough day yesterday at least everyone got a pretty decent sleep.


Super cool this morning too – I believe it was below freezing and felt colder than that – it was damned chilly even for us Canadians leaving a -40 degree cold snap.


We put on pretty much all the warmest gear we had and then bundled up. We also brought along several Mylar emergency blankets that we put to good use!

The kids ready for the 5k!


All ready to go!


After a cold walk to the event bus we were able to get on a bus right before it headed out to the staging area. I am glad we did not have to wait long out in the cold for a bus!


We spent some time walking around as the crowds go bigger and we tried to stay warm.


The kids were doing well despite the cold and the very early hour – very proud of them for that.


Before too long we made our way to the starting corrals – corral C for the 5k. I am glad that the kids had done the Pro Bowl 5k last year as we were able to indicate that it was not their first 5k race and we didn’t end up in the last corral.


We ran the race essentially at our daughter’s pace – she is the youngest and we let her decide when she wanted to run and when she wanted to walk. This worked well and both kids did great.


We took some pics ourselves but did not stop for any character stops (too cold!) and got some good pics from the Disney photographers on course.


Some of the pictures are below and I have also added a quick and dirty video I put up on YouTube for the 5k – nothing fancy but I did get the kids rushing for the finish line!


Mylar everywhere!




Fountain of Nations

We did it!


After the race we got our medals and snack boxes and had a quick bit before heading to the line for the buses. For some reason the line for our hotel bus stretched all the way across the parking lot. I’m not sure what happened there but it was a chilly wait and at one point they had 3 buses stacked and loading at the same time to clear the back log – so whatever happened they dealt with it fairly quickly.


After we got on our bus we got to our room and took some long hot showers and dressed up nice and warm and headed out to have some fun at Disney Springs including lunch/supper at T-Rex which we always enjoy.


We then went back to the hotel for an early night since our son and I had to get up early again for the 10k the next morning. Going to be another cold one!

Jan 3 2018 – Travel day and race kit pickup for Walt Disney World Marathon and Dopey Challenge

Hi folks! We are back from our extended Disney World stay following the Walt Disney World Marathon and I am going to start on my race / trip report.


Our first day started way early getting the kids up before 2:30 am – I think I got about an hour sleep but at least they slept well!


I did the final load of the vehicle and we drove to the airport, parked, got all bags checked, confirmed a few things about our connecting flight (travelling through Toronto on our way down and have to do US Immigration checks there in Toronto so we wanted to make sure we knew how that would all work – especially since it seems to be different there each time we go) and then we head through security.


Nice and easy boarding onto the flight and a good flight to Toronto.


On the plane – so early but happy!

So tired!

When we got to Toronto though things went downhill fast. We only had about 1.25 hours between flights and had to do US Immigration, so time was tight but things got worse because when we got there, there was another plane sitting at our gate…


After what seemed like an eternity (but probably 15-20 minutes) we were finally assigned a new gate but ground crews had to reposition and things were going to be delayed for the luggage…Yay! Clock is ticking.


We got off the plane and made our way over to the US Immigration area to wait for our bags to pass through so that we could see a US agent and get to our flight. And we waited, and waited, and waited…we could see that our flight was starting to board and we were still stuck and couldn’t do anything.


We tried to talk to an airline agent about our flight but he was aggressively unhelpful…finally after our plane was scheduled to leave we see the flight now listed as delayed and the airline agent announces that the flight has been delayed by 20 minutes…but the times he was quoting made it sound more like 10 minutes. So now we have hope but not necessarily a lot.


Another 10 minutes later and we are finally able to pass into the line for US Immigration and relatively quickly made it through there and bolted for our flight. When we got there the skyway was already closed up but the plane was still there so they let us on, thankfully.


After a short delay the plane then took off.


Porg is strapped in and ready to go!


Porg is checking the view ready for take off!

There wasn’t another flight to Orlando scheduled that day that I could see on our carrier – if we didn’t make the connection we didn’t get to race kit pick up and we didn’t get to do the 5k race together the next morning. But we made it!


From there a relatively uneventful flight and an easy Magical Express ride to our resort for the race weekend and then onto the event bus to go get our race kits.


We could see when the bus pulled up that things were a circus – yay!


Lots of people!


First up was getting the 5k race kits for Heather and the kids and then the 10k kit for our son before heading in to get my Dopey Challenge kit.


After grabbing the kit I had to ask 3 different volunteers how to get the area for the pre-purchased merchandise area – once we got there we started to see just how crazy the runDisney merchandise area was and after getting my pre-purchased race pins we decided that we just couldn’t stand in the line to even go look at the gear. It was getting too late at this point and the kids were starving.


We did take a quick look in the building for the rest of the race expo and decided not to go down to the show floor as it just looked like a madhouse.


So basically, we bought no merchandise – that’s just crazy. They really need to do something to cut down the crowds on that first day…I hate to say it but I think the Dopey Challenge is the real issue here and I don’t think runDisney can fix the crowds on that first race expo day unless they get rid of this challenge. There are just too many people trying to get in there in such a short period of time.


Anyway – we headed back to the resort, ate some supper and then headed to Epcot to do some modifications to our annual passes before heading back to the room to crash.


Somehow in this short period our daughter managed to lose her 5k race shirt…still not sure how but at least she didn’t lose the race bib!


Next up – 5k race and some park fun!