In the past, the race has started at 6am, a half hour later than the rest of the races. However, this year, runDisney bumped the start of up a half hour, thus slashing 30 precious minutes of sleep right at the beginning of the damn weekend 🖕. I set my alarm for 3:15am and planned to be out the door by 3:45 to catch the bus over to the Epcot parking lot. Because the starting corrals are right next to the pre-race staging area and not a half mile away like they are for the half marathona and marathon, you can roll up a little later to this race and the 10k.
I quickly got through security and made my way over to the bag check where my runDisney Ohana was planning its meetup. Ohana means family, by the way, and over the last couple of years I’ve come to be a part of a wonderful group of running friends who love Disney World just as much as I do.
Even though we were in Florida, the cold snap that hit most of the country didn’t spare us. The temperature at the start was around 32º. Normally, this isn’t too bad for running, but I also normally walk right out my door and start running immediately. When you’re standing around and hanging out for nearly 90 minutes before running, it’s cold. I had on a few layers, but I was cold! And I was even more cold once I had to shed my layers and make my way to my corral.
I had planned to wear shorts, but made a last minute decision before walking out the door to wear tights instead. I was glad to have them while waiting, but I did quickly regret it after the race started.
When I finally made my way to the corral, I found it interesting that runDisney had flipped the layout of the corrals so you entered them from the opposite side as in previous years. I also barely made it in my corral before they closed it. They had already started walking the corral up to the starting line when I hopped in from the back.
While waiting for the start, I chatted it up with some strangers behind me who were very nice. This is always a good way to pass the time before a race!
Once we were on our way, I just focused on how nice it would be once I got warmed up and wasn’t freezing anymore. While still in Epcot’s parking lot, we ran along where the buses pick up runners to take them back to their resorts. The heat coming off of the idling buses felt great, but the diesel fumes were less than pleasant to run though. The important thing, though, was that I noticed these buses were actually even lined up there in the first place. In the past, the buses had to wait until all the runners started running before lining up. Because it takes nearly an hour for runDisney to start all the corrals, many faster runners are done and lined up while the race is still starting for slower runners. This year, however, they lined up the buses before the start so they’d be ready, warm, and waiting for runners. It was a such a pleasant surprise to be able to escape the very un-Florida cold.
The early part of the 5k is pretty boring, as you’re running outside of Epcot. By the halfway mark, you’re rounding your way into the World Showcase for a lap around the world as Disney sees it. It was right around here that I caught up to Ohana friends Nathan and Aimee. I decided to lock into their pace and run the rest of the way with them while keeping a nice conversation.
Somewhere around Norway, we came up on a photographer and I threw my hands out for my classic race pose. As soon as I did this, I heard a voice from behind telling me to quit being so happy. It turned out to be my new friends from before the race.
It’s A Small world race.
As we came around Nemo and Friends and turned towards Innovations Plaza (I had no idea this section of Futureworld had a name!), I nearly ran face first into a tree. There was a super bright spotlight shining right at runners that completely blinded me for a moment. Smacking into a tree would not have been ideal! Race directors, maybe don’t point bright lights into runners’ eyes if your race is in the dark?
I didn’t stop for any character race photos for the 5k. It’s too short of a race to really bother with that, but mostly it was way too cold to want to stop running for even a second. I figured I had a whole weekend to get some photos anyway.
When we crossed the finish line, I was already saying to myself, “crap, I’m only like 6% done with this thing.” Not exactly where you want your mind to go after the shortest of four races.
After grabbing my medal and checked bag, I went straight to a warm bus bus to avoid my body temperature from dropping.
As I walked down the bus looking for a seat, I saw one of my pre-race friends again! She waved to me and motioned for me to sit next to her. The bus had to wait a while for all the runners to clear out of the way before it could leave, but at least it was warm. My new friend, Nhi, and I chatted it up the whole ride. Making new running friends is always great!
Overall, the 5k was fairly uneventful, but loads of fun…despite being cold as all hell before then race.