Today I’m going to try something new. In the spirit of Facebook and “liking” things, I’m going to tell you what I liked — and disliked — about this weekend’s Walt Disney World Marathon. I’ve always wished there was a “dislike” button on Facebook, so I’ll just say thumbs up and thumbs down on some things that you might be wondering about this very large race.First, a little background. This is actually the third race that I’ve done at Disney World. In 2010, I was one of the unlucky souls that was there for the Walt Disney World Marathon when temperatures were well below freezing. Yikes, that was cold. I’ve also supported the Disney Princess Half-marathon in Walt Disney World. This year I decided to run in the Walt Disney World Half-marathon, because it provides a good early season (or Winter) racing opportunity and really this course doesn’t disappoint on a lot of levels. But, as promised, my thumbs and thumbs down list for the Walt Disney World Marathon!
Course Terrain — THUMBS UP — this is one really, really flat course. There are a couple of bridges and fly-over ramps that you cross, but other than that there is very little that isn’t totally flat. There is one short hill where the course crosses under a water-way, but otherwise this baby should provide a really quick course.
Start Time — THUMBS DOWN — So, I get it. They want to open the parks early, but the fact that the bus transportation starts at 3:00AM says a lot. Riddle me this: if the full marathon has to start at 5:30AM to get the parks open on Sunday, why does the half-marathon (held on Saturday) also have to have a 5:30AM start? Logic would be suggest that the half could start say an hour and a half later, which would be a lot LOT better experience for the runners.
Course Scenery — THUMBS UP, SORT OF — I am very enthusiastic about the scenery of the course, but it was so dark that it was hard to see a lot of it. This may be a corner case for the faster runners, because when I supported the full marathon in 2010, there was plenty of sunlight for most people. The course is really neat in that it goes right through the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. The full marathon course also goes through Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and along the Boardwalk. There are few courses that can provide those kinds of sights. In addition, there is music, people jumping on trampolines, and the famous Disney Characters. Your ability to view all of this might be based somewhat on how fast you’re going.
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