Nov 21, 2014

runDisney Wine & Dine Half Marathon 2014 - Race Recap

Wine & Dine Half Marathon Start Line

My fourth half marathon was crowded, soggy and sloooow, but no matter how not ideal the Wine & Dine Half Marathon was, I am proud to say that I finished, especially when you consider that 14,000 people signed up for the race and fewer than 12,000 finished!

Race night prep started the night before with the laying out of my race outfit. My sister, brother-in-law and I decided to do group costumes. I was Sulley, Chris was Mike and Rebecca was Celia from Monsters, Inc.

Flat Irene ready to race!
Sulley, Celia and Mike in the Yacht Club lobby

After our naps, we got changed and headed downstairs to catch the race transportation to the start line. The race instructions indicated that we needed to be on the bus no later than 8 pm, but we were still waiting for the buses when the 8 o'clock hour rolled around.

Waiting for the bus? Time to take pictures!

Once we arrived at the starting area, we headed to bag drop-off and got in line for the port-a-potties. Then we were herded to our corrals, and we didn't have time to take pictures with Chefs Chip and Dale. Sad face.

At 10 pm the first corral was off, and luckily, we did not have to wait much longer. We all decided to join my sister in corral I and we started at around 10:30 pm. During Princess last year, there were fewer corrals with more people in each corral, so it took forever for some back corrals to start. For this race, there were more corrals with fewer people in each corral so there was less time between corrals.

There was a lot of talk on the days leading up to the half marathon about the weather and for good reason because it just did not cooperate at all. It rained the ENTIRE time before, during and after our race.

We began the race at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and from there did the three miles to Animal Kingdom.

Mile 1: 14:15
Mile 2: 15:17
Mile 3: 21:14

Our group decided to start and end the race together, and to do this, our plan was to meet up at each mile marker. We had a bit of miscommunication on the first few mile markers, but eventually found our rhythm and this plan worked out quite well.

Between miles 3 and 4, we arrived at the Animal Kingdom. This part of the course was extremely narrow and there were times where it was impossible to run.

Entrance to Animal Kingdom
Mile 4: 17:03

Animal Kingdom's Tree of Life

I mentioned in previous posts that my training for this half marathon was pretty nonexistent. The farthest distance I ran during training was a 10K, so I did not have a time goal. Instead, I wanted to have fun and run with my sister. I also learned that although my sister had run twice the number of runDisney races as I have, she never was able to stop and take photos with the characters, so we definitely made a point to do that.

Me and Timon. Where's Pumbaa?
As you can see, I had to add a layer of clothing to my Sulley costume. It was so cold and wet. The long sleeve jacket stayed on the whole race!

Pirates of the Carribean ship

The next four miles took us back on the streets, as we headed to Hollywood Studios.

Mile 5: 17:22

Mile 6: 13:51 *fastest mile*
Mile 7: 14:44
Mile 8: 13:56
Mile 9: 15:52

Although we covered most of our distance on the streets, running through the parks is one of the things that make runDisney races so special.

Running past the Tower of Terror

Mile 10: 18:46

Since the Sorcerer's Hat is being torn down early next year, I had to take a photo with it!

Good bye, Sorcerer's Hat!

Besides running through the public areas of the parks, we sometimes even get to go through some of the castmember only sections of the parks. For instance, this time we ran past the Costume Department.

Costume Department at Hollywood Studios
We also got to meet up with Elastigirl and Mr. Incredible.

My favorite part of the race, though, was running through the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights! We took our time at this part of the course because we would never be able to see the lights with so few people around us. I am one of those people who is bothered by how early the Christmas season seems to be pushed up every year, but I was not bothered in the least by this sight. It was so beautiful!

Before leaving Hollywood Studios, I ran in to Boba Fett and only got this blurry photo out of it!

Mile marker 11 took us to the entrance of Hollywood Studios and I found myself waiting there for Mike and Celia for a very, very long time. At one point, I wondered if they had been swept and if I stayed there any longer, if I would be swept. People kept running past me, and then a massive herd of people ran towards me like it was the apocalypse.

Then I saw my sister and BIL running towards me and yelling, "Keep going. The balloon ladies!" Then I saw them with my own eyes, the mythical creatures known as the balloon ladies. For those who don't know, runDisney requires you to keep a 16 minute/mile pace. The balloon ladies are the very last people to start the race and keep the required pace. If they pass you on the course, there is a possibly that you will be forced off the course and not finish. In runDisney jargon, this is called "being swept."

Apparently, despite starting in corral I, we were going so slow that the balloon ladies caught us!

Mile 11: 20:55

Once I saw the balloon ladies, I took off without my family members and met back up with them at mile marker 12 since there was no where for you to get picked off the course at that point.

The final three miles of the course were so crowded that I could not gain much ground. Plus, from Hollywood Studios, we headed to the BoardWalk and it was so wet and slippery that I did not want to risk falling. So we walked the remainder of the race. We finally entered Epcot for the last leg of the course and crossed the finish line in 3:52:16, which is 45 minutes slower than my first half marathon!

Mile 12: 19:54
Mile 13: 19:26

I was hoping that the weather would calm down, but it seemed to pick up instead. We got our medals, refreshments, picked up our checked bags and grabbed our adult beverages before deciding to bypass the Finish Line Party and headed back to the hotel instead. At the end of the night, none of us were happy campers.

Despite the weather, I did wind up having fun during the race. True, it would have been much more fun without the inclement weather, but what can you do?

I honestly think this one was my last Walt Disney World race for the foreseeable future. I am glad that I did it!


  1. Great recap! I've run two Disney events but both on the West Coast at Disneyland. I was surprised to learn this race was at night! I had seen other photos of the race on Instagram but never really put together that it was a night race. I just thought it was just really really early in the morning! I don't mind running in the rain, but I think it's a different matter entirely if you're running with 12,000 people. I'm hoping to run WDW in Jan 2015. I gotta do it at least once ☺️

    1. I am hoping to do another runDisney race on the West Coast. Not sure when or which race yet though! You should definitely try to fit in a WDW run. Nothing like them.

  2. Aw, sorry the weather was no good, but I'm glad you had fun! The Wine & Dine is on my bucket list!! :-)