Sunday before last, while most of the world was sleeping in late, I found myself on a bus with about 40 women, many of whom were dressed in various outfits suitable for a costume party. There was no hiding the fact that I was out of place, and as a few of the women boarded the bus they reminded me so by referring to me as a "trooper," which I could only assume was a compliment of some sort. It was 3 a.m., and while my brain wasn't yet fully functioning, what I knew for sure was that this was just the beginning of a very long day, for today I would be cheering on my wife as she ran in the Disney Princess Half Marathon.
|Always nice to be here at 4am.|
As we arrived at Epcot, we found ourselves joining a mass of runners, many dressed like our fellow riders on the bus. While we were lingering around the staging area, my wife asked me if I planned to blog about this experience. I originally told her no, but I would soon come to realize that I was far from alone in the adventure I planned for the day, as there were hundreds, maybe thousands, of people with the same plan in mind. What many of us unfortunate souls had in common, besides a lack of sleep and a crazy loved one, was a general unease that our plan for spectating would actually work. Well it did, and what follows is a sort of "Spectator Guide" for cheering on your crazy loved one.
An hour prior to the start, my wife set off for her corral, and I debated whether to follow Disney's guide and watch the start, or head for the monorail and take up the next position early. I decided to head to the monorail, as it would give me time to grab a coffee before she arrived at my next spot, but about halfway en route to the station I changed my mind, and started heading for the start viewing area. Mistake #2...
Looking back on the experience, there were a few things that I wished Disney had better informed spectator's about. The first being the lousy viewing area for the start, and it's distance from the Epcot monorail station. In addition, there was no warning at all about the long lines for the monorail. The lines proved to be no big deal, but for those who were running on a tighter schedule than me, they likely caused people to miss seeing their runner.
It was also apparent, that had my wife carried only a slightly faster pace, that my route would not have been possible. To those planning on spectating in the future, I suggest using Disney's Spectator Planning Tool, as it takes into account the runners pace, and then gives you a plan for viewing. My wife carried about a 13 minute per mile pace, but if she were only slightly faster, say around 10 minutes per, then my route certainly would not have been possible, as she would have passed a couple of the viewpoints before I arrived. In addition, there is a text message service for spectators that will inform you when the runner passes certain check points. This proved quite helpful in knowing how much time I had before her next pass.
While I may have been sleep deprived, and somewhat out of place in the beginning, once the race started I actually had a really good time. I was surprised how many people came out to cheer on their loved ones, especially given the early morning start. Before the race, I truly believed I would be one of the only people with this ridiculous plan, but I could not have been more wrong. It was a great adventure, and I look forward to watching my wife again next year.
I just hope the Polynesian still has those cinnamon rolls.
Enjoy Your Stay