Event: 2015 Walt Disney World 10k hosted by Minnie Mouse
Event Date: January 9, 2015
Event Location: Walt Disney World Resort
Jennifer and Mike recently traveled to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida with nearly 60,000 other runners to participate in the 2015 runDisney Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. Jennifer completed the 5k and half marathon events, and Mike conquered the Dopey and Goofy Challenges, completing the 5k, 10k, half marathon, and full marathon events in 4 consecutive days. We will be bringing you complete coverage, including YouTube videos, of all of the Marathon Weekend events:
– Goofy’s “Race and a Half” Challenge (half marathon & full marathon)
– The Dopey Challenge (5k + 10k + half marathon + full marathon)
Why I decided to run this race
As I mentioned in my recap of Pluto’s 5k, I entered the 2015 Dopey Challenge, which is a 4 event challenge series, and the 10k is the second event in that series.
Getting there/the lead-up to the race
I am going to be straight, after having run the Disneyland 10k, which was awesome, this race was going to have a lot to live up to in my mind. But, after pretty much just “going through the motions” during Pluto’s 5k, I woke up the morning of the 10k event ready and eager to get going. The key for me was trying keep the excitement under control, as I did not want to go all-out for this race and wear myself down as I still had the half and full marathons to run the following 2 days.
The race Expo & Swag review
Please see my Pluto 5k review for information on the expo. The race shit for this event was a nice long-sleeved Champion tech shirt featuring the event’s host, Minnie Mouse. It is a good quality shirt, the graphics are nice, and they returned the park icon to the sleeve. Historically runDisney has put graphics of the park icons for the parks in which particular races run on the sleeves of those event shirts, which is a nice touch that runDisney does but for some reason got away from, so it is good to see them back.
It was going to be a cold one (race time temps in the 40s), and I was not going to be going all-out (for me anyway), so I knew I needed to dress warmer than I normally would have for those temps. I wore my 2014 WDW Marathon Champion long sleeve tech shirt as a base layer, and my Team Casual Runner SweatVac tech t-shirt as a top layer, along with shorts. I opted for no gloves or headwear, and this combo worked out well for me. I did sweat a lot during the race, but I was neither cold nor overly-warm.
As I said, the temperatures on race morning were still on the cold side (low 40s), especially for Florida, and I did not want to do throw-away clothes. Instead I went to the resort food court where a Disney cast member graciously provided me with several large garbage bags for me and my friends. OK, I admit, since the 2014 Wine & Dine Half Marathon, I am converted. Wearing trash bags before the start of a race is a great way to stay warm and they are cheap and easy to toss off before you cross the starting line (although I saw several people out on the course still wearing theirs).
The pre-race activities and starting line were essentially a carbon copy of the previous day’s events during the 5k. Since it was not quite as cold, people were moving around more liberally and again, there were plenty of restrooms that had evidently been cleaned from the day before (props to runDisney for this one). The call to corrals comes very early at these events, and you should know that there are many people who are afraid of being swept and/or concerned with getting to character photo stops earlier, and so they load into the corrals at the first possible opportunity to try to get to the front of their respective corrals. So if you want to be one of these people, be prepared to line up early.
Along the course
As I indicated, the 10k and 5k share a starting line, but whereas the 5k starts off with a sharp right turn, the 10k goes to the left, which led us to 2 great aspects of the first mile. First, given the phenomenon that is Frozen, you HAVE to work it into the on-course entertainment somehow, right? But if you are runDisney, you know that a character picture stop would be absolutely mobbed, thus killing your pacing for the event. So, what do you do? Unexpected Magic. Well, if you are runDisney, you set up a royal review stand on top of an overpass, complete with a great light show, and allow Anna and Elsa to wave and speak to the runners down below. Oh, and you add fake snow, which seemed oddly realistic given the cold temperatures. This was perhaps the best single on-course entertainment I have seen in all of the races I have run. Check it out in our YouTube video.
Second, the next aspect in the first mile that I liked was passing through the Epcot toll booth. Others may not agree with me on this one, but I geeked out a bit in this moment and really enjoyed it. Ok, let me have my fun. We then did a 180-degree turn and started making our way up in incline to an overpass, which afforded us great views of the runners on the first leg of the race, as well as Spaceship Earth and the rest of Epcot in the distance. As all of this was on Disney property, character stops were scattered throughout, and again, the course designers did a great job of frontloading the least interesting parts of the course, and saving the best for last.
We turned right to head to the backstage areas of Epcot, but instead of entering near the Mexico Pavilion like we had during the 5k, we turned left and spent some more time in the backstage area, which I actually enjoyed (again, Disney geek). We also got a sneak peek of the Frozen transition construction at the Norway Pavilion (spoiler: it looked like a construction site, not very magical). We entered onstage between the Norway and China Pavilions, and turned left to make our way around World Showcase. One note of caution, there was a water stop here and people were dropping their cups on the slight incline that goes up to the bridge towards the African Outpost. While there were cast members trying to pick up these cups, footing did get a little tricky, so just be careful.
Again, the Illuminations torches were ablaze and music was playing over the loudspeakers, which made for a fun atmosphere. At this point I realized that I was running way faster than my race plan called for, so I had to find ways to slow myself down (I needed to save something for the remaining longer events). I had mixed results in trying to do so, but I did get a lot of great pictures and video.
The jog around World Showcase (clockwise) is pretty awesome and worth the price of admission. There is just something great about having the park to yourselves and filled with runners who are just happy to be there. There were several character stops along the way, including Mushu, Pinocchio, and the Genie amongst others. When I went by, the lines were long but manageable and moving along at a decent clip. After passing France, we turned left and headed down the hill and exited the International Gateway and headed along the canal into the Epcot area resorts.
The lights were on in the Epcot resorts, and this was our first chance to see any crowd support to speak of. If you are looking for an event with lots of crowd support, I am sorry to disappoint you but the 10k is not set up for that, but it is nonetheless entertaining. We did a clockwise loop around the lake, passing by the Boardwalk (where Mickey Mouse was posing for pictures), and then the Yacht and Beach Clubs, before turning left into the backstage areas of Epcot behind the UK Pavilion. I should note here that the water stations, although not as imperative in a 10k in cold temperatures, were nonetheless up to the same quality and efficiency I have come to expect from runDisney events. The volunteers deserve to be noted and thanked for their efforts.
We re-entered World Showcase by the phone booths in the UK, and turned left to head past Canada and into Future World. Race Icon. The 10k is an Epcot race, which means you get a killer view of Spaceship Earth in the early morning light, which is always impressive. We turned left to head past the Land and Seas Pavilions, before turning back towards Spaceship Earth, where Chip and Dale were greeting runners. Again we ducked backstage and followed the same path to the finisher’s chute as we would in each of the 4 events. However, this time we were treated to light-up marionettes of Mike Wazowski and Sebastian, which were quite impressive.
Even though the stands were empty, the runDisney finisher chute never fails to excite me. I had that extra bit of adrenaline and pep in my step as I cruised to the finish line, collected my medal, and shut things down so I could start getting ready for the half marathon the next day. The one mistake I made was that, while I did not come close to a PR in this event, I did finish a full 10 minutes faster than my race plan predicted. I could only hope that I didn’t overly-tire myself out for the following races.
Unlike the 5k, the 10k awards a nice metal medal (can you say that?) to finishers, so this is a legit SMO. It features a depiction of Minnie Mouse running, and is a nice SMO, especially for a 10k distance event.
The post-race experience
Again, Dopey Challenge participants were guided to a specific tent only to be told to just pass on through without any verifications. I am still not sure what this was all about. The rest of the post-race activities were on the same level as the other 4 events, which I interpret as runDisney’s way of reminding us all that it is an accomplishment to finish a race of any distance. On a side note, it bothers me when people during the weekend said that they were “just running the half,” or “just running the 10k,” as opposed to one of the challenges. The fact is that you are toeing the line at a race event, and you should be proud of getting to that moment. Please, fellow Casual Runners, never sell your goals or accomplishments short. We support you in all of your endeavors.
I previously noted how runDisney relocated the event transportation to be much closer to the finish area, and I really appreciated this change on this day. As it was cold and I had sweat a lot during the race, as soon as I finished I started to get cold. It was a short walk to the bus lines, which were well-managed so the lines were not very long. Again, runDisney did a great job with event transportation. I enjoyed the ride back in a nice warm bus in a comfortable seat, however, it made the walk back from the lobby of the resort to my room, which was all outdoors, FREEZING. But it was nothing that a hot shower could not fix, and I was soon on my way to a fun day with great friends at Disney Hollywood Studios, where I am proud to say I am still undefeated at Toy Story Midway Mania (at least on the East coast, sorry Amy!).
Since this course took place exclusively in Epcot, my playlist for this race was almost all Epcot music, including the soundtracks from the attractions in several of the pavilions: Soarin’, Canada, Golden Dreams, and the Three Caballeros.
Looking back now
This was a good event and I am glad that I ran it. The 10k course has a (incorrect) reputation of being too much parking lot, but I think the course designers actually did a good job of maximizing time in the onstage and backstage areas, as well as the Epcot area resorts. Additionally, the execution of the Frozen entertainment was superb. Would I run this event again? I would not say no. If I decide to enter the Dopey Challenge again, then I will certainly run the 10k again. However, if I choose to go Goofy instead, I doubt that I will add the 10k into my program. But if you are looking for a 10k event and you want to runDisney, this could be a very good selection for you.
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