Our fifth full day at Disney World marked Preston’s second full marathon, but more importantly, the conclusion of the Dopey Challenge.
For the fourth morning in a row, we were up well before the sun rose. Our routine this morning mirrored that of the mornings of the 5k, 10k, and half. We were a bit slower moving this morning, but were only a couple of minutes later than we had hoped when made our way to the bus, and were on our way to Epcot.
Unlike the previous three mornings, we sat in pretty heavy traffic. There appeared to be a back up in the bus drop off area at Epcot, which caused us to arrive at the Team #runDisney meetup just as it was ending. I did, however, get to say a quick hello to Heather from Through Heather’s Looking Glass before she and the other runners made their way to their corrals.
Since Preston had registered for the races as a part of Runner’s World Challenge, he didn’t have to make the long walk to the corrals like most other runners did. Runner’s World Challenge had a private walkout to the corrals that went around the Race Retreat tent and out to the corrals via the starting line. runDisney had initially placed Preston in Corral E, but he was later bumped up to Corral C because of his participation with Runner’s World. He very much appreciated the shorter walk the morning of the marathon, especially since he had already completed three races in the previous three days. Had he not been running the half marathon with me, he would have had the same benefit that morning as well.
After Mom, Dad, and I said goodbye to Preston we made our way to the monorail and headed to Magic Kingdom. Mom and Dad had seen the fireworks at the start of the half marathon, and I wanted to ensure that we could get a front row spot to see Preston in the ChEAR Squad area in front of Cinderella’s Castle. On our way into Magic Kingdom we took some time to admire the beauty of the park lit up in the dark.
Even though we arrived at Magic Kingdom shortly before the race started back at Epcot, Main Street was already lined with spectators. I’m glad we headed to Magic Kingdom when we did, as we easily secured a front row spot in front of the castle.
Preston’s plan for the marathon was to run the race without stopping to see characters. Since he had stopped to see Dopey during the 5k and we had stopped to see several characters during the 10k and half, he chose to instead focus on just running the marathon.
Preston reached the halfway point of the Dopey Challenge at mile 1.9. He ran through Cinderella’s Castle at mile 5.7 around 6:20am, and easily found us in front of the castle. I shared with him the sign I had made for him, which he greatly appreciated.
The marathon course and the half marathon course were exactly the same for the first seven miles, when the marathon course led runners onto the speedway while the half marathon course led runners back towards Epcot. Preston and the other marathoners eventually ran through Animal Kingdom, ESPN Wide World of Sports, Hollywood Studios, and World Showcase at Epcot before ending the race in the parking lot at Epcot.
After seeing Preston run through the castle, Mom, Dad, and I headed back to Epcot, where we saw the first place finishers finish the race in times that I can’t even imagine running in. Since I needed to keep moving in order to prevent the lactic acid from building up in my legs, I spent some time in Epcot riding Soarin’ and Test Track before I headed back out to the finish line to see Preston finish the race.
Preston crossed the finish line of his second marathon in 4:44:46 (10:52 min/mile pace). His finish time was incredible, given that he had completed three races in the three days prior to the marathon, and managed to knock 26:04 off of last year’s finish time!
Preston had done it! He had completed 48.6 miles in four days and was officially Dopey!
After the race Mom and Dad headed to Downtown Disney for lunch and shopping while I stuck around with Preston while he grabbed lunch inside of Race Retreat. Just like there had been traffic getting into Epcot, there was also traffic leaving Epcot. I really don’t understand why there was so much traffic the day of the marathon when there was practically none the morning of the half! After sitting in the parking lot at Epcot for nearly an hour, we eventually made it back to the hotel, showered and changed, and headed to Magic Kingdom to celebrate.
While at Magic Kingdom, we visited with talking Mickey. We had the pleasure of seeing Mickey do a card trick, and then told Mickey about the highlights of our race weekend.
After an afternoon at Magic Kingdom, we met Mom and Dad for dinner at Narcoossee’s at the Grand Floridian, where we celebrated Preston’s completion of the Dopey Challenge. After dinner we drove Mom and Dad to their off property hotel (Dad had a week long conference in Orlando starting the next morning), after which we returned to Coronado Springs and quickly went to bed. We were exhausted after four races and four early mornings!
QOTD: Did you run your first marathon at Disney World last month? Did you participate in the Dopey Challenge?