Last weekend, we headed down to Walt Disney World for the WDW Marathon Weekend. This was to be our 5th straight year running at least one of the races for this event. Two years ago, I ran the Goofy Challenge (a half marathon and full marathon on back-to-back days) and last year, I ran the Dopey Challenge (a 5K, 10K, half marathon and full marathon in 4 consecutive days). This year, we had decided to “only” run the half marathon. This particular half holds a special place in my heart, as it was my very first half marathon back in January 2013.
We got down to Orlando on Friday morning after staying with some friends, who live about 2 hours away, on Thursday night. We hit up the expo first, as we wanted to go ahead and knock that out. We grabbed our race numbers before heading into the main expo area to pick up our shirts and walk around the different booths.
One of the big things that was happening was the broadcast alerts from runDisney throughout the expo and the ESPN area. Orlando was under a significant weather advisory for late Friday night/early Saturday morning. Obviously, we had been paying attention to the weather as well, but runDisney was alerting runners they would be monitoring the weather and letting us know if anything changed with the race over multiple different avenues, including text alerts.
At this point, we had picked up a few rain ponchos from Target earlier that day, so we were ready to run in the rain if needed!
So after the expo, we hit up a few parks before checking into our condo for the next 5 days. Once we got unpacked and settled in, we ran out to grab a early dinner. After dinner, we stopped by Publix to pick up groceries for the week before heading back to our place for the night. It was going to be an early morning the next day, since the Disney races start very very early.
And then….our race got cancelled.
Literally right as I was laying out my running clothes, I started getting texts and Twitter alerts from friends. I jumped online and saw that runDisney had officially called off the half marathon due to weather concerns.
Bummer! We were seriously disappointed, but we totally understood. Safety is the number priority!
However, one of the nice things is, Disney ended up offering several different options for all of the half registrants. And honestly, they didn’t have to do anything. When we signed up months ago, they told you the race can be cancelled due to weather and there are no refunds. This was a great gift from Disney and very much appreciated.
The different options were very generous, in my opinion.
We decided to get a refund back in the form of a Disney gift card. This made the most sense to us. We are annual passholders, so park tickets aren’t helpful. And while we knew we would run another Disney race, we didn’t want to defer when we weren’t sure what and when our next Disney race would be.
Now I’ll be honest…I was super tempted to upgrade to the full marathon on Sunday. I had just run the Chicago Marathon less than 3 months ago, so I knew I would be ok. However, with Rachel’s parents were flying in on Saturday evening, I knew I needed to stick with our original plans, which involved going to the Magic Kingdom on Sunday morning (the same day as the full marathon).
So the next morning (the half marathon morning), we slept in. We went to the expo (which was absolutely crazy) and picked up the finisher’s medals (which we hadn’t earned yet) and our gift cards. Then we waited for Rachel’s parents to fly in so we could pick them up from the airport and begin the rest of our trip!
On a side note…I decided on Sunday morning to get up early and go run 13.1 miles by myself. I wanted to get in the half marathon distance while on the trip. Since we already had the medal, I wanted to earn it. Although it wasn’t the race I was expecting, I was happy to get in the distance.
Plus, the medal is awesome!
While the race experience ended up not happening, I am grateful to runDisney for making the right call to keep all of us safe. And even more for being so generous with the refunds when they didn’t have to. I am looking forward to the races in 2018, where I am seriously considering Dopey!
Stayed tuned for part two of our trip – the fun part!