Finishing up my 3-part series of the Star Wars Half Marathon weekend with the actual race itself….
2:30am is early. I feel like I should have been prepared after 4 early mornings of the Dopey Challenge in January. But nope. 2:30 is flat out early. I awoke several times in the middle of the night as I typically do when I have a race the next morning. By the time my alarm went off, I think I had slept maybe 4 hours.
Now, we were staying at the Wilderness Lodge, which means I was able to take Disney transportation to the race start. This was a first for me, as typically we stay off property for Disney races. The lobby had signs that encouraged runners to be on the buses no later than 3:30 that morning. (Buses were supposed to be running continuously from 2:30am on.) I was aiming to be outside and ready to go by 3:00-3:15, just to be safe.
I got my stuff ready to go and headed to the bus pickup at 3am, and this is where the fun began. There were about 20 people already waiting, and some had been waiting as early as 2:30. No buses had shown up yet! By 3:30 there was a good 60-70 people waiting, and still no buses. Apparently we got lost in the shuffle.
Eventually, several buses begin to arrive and by 3:45 I was on my way. Needless to say, not exactly the plan I had in mind before a long race. By the time we got to the Epcot parking lot, walked through the bag check line and then walked to the corrals, which are about 20 minutes away – by this time it was already 4:50. The race started at 5am, which means I had about 10-15 minutes to get myself ready to go. I was in Corral C, which means I would be starting about 7-10 minutes after 5am.
Finally, Corral C was up to the starting line and we were off. I was excited to run this race, as I’ve only done the half marathon at Walt Disney World in January, which is a different course. We started making our way to Epcot and by mile 1 we were running through the World Showcase. I love running through Epcot when it’s all lit up.
After Epcot we made our way through the Boardwalk/Beach Club Resorts before heading to Hollywood Studios. We ran through a small portion of Hollywood Studios, including Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard, where the Tower of Terror is located.
From Hollywood Studios, we spent the next several miles running through the Disney property as we made our way to the Animal Kingdom. This part doesn’t have the best scenery, but there were quite a few Star Wars characters out and plenty of crowd support along the way.
Once we got into the Animal Kingdom, we make our way through a lot of the park. I stopped several times to get pictures, as there was so much to see.
Leaving the Animal Kingdom, you enter into the final stretch of miles as you make your way to the ESPN Wild World of Sports and the finish line.
I was texting with Rachel a little bit at this point and knew she was planning on meeting me at the finish. When I got to around mile 12.6, I saw her standing there among some of the crowd. I was so happy to see my biggest cheerleader and fan!
The final half mile seemed to fly by and before I knew it, I could see the finish line in sight. I ran across the finish line, grabbed my medal, towel, water, and runner’s box and started making my way to find Rachel.
Rachel and I made our way to the buses to head back to the resort so I could get a shower. We had to check out by noon, so I wanted to shower and lay down for a few minutes before we had to leave.
As we got back to the resort I wanted to grab a couple of pictures of me with the medal at the Wilderness Lodge. I really like this medal a lot. One of my favorite Disney medals for sure!
All in all, it was a great race and great course! Everything (minus the late buses at the Wilderness Lodge) went very smoothly. I am very glad I did the inaugural Star Wars Race at Disney World and hope to go back and run it again in the future.