Princess Half Marathon Recap 2017

Princess Half Marathon Recap 2017

Does it still stand up as the best?

 

Here we are again! I was still learning the lay of the land this time last year. (The half was my 9th Disney race at the time). It was my favorite race then, so I was excited to see if it held up this time. (This year it marked my 31st Disney race)

The Expo

Well last year it was Hunger Games style. I got there a day later this year and it was actually very calm and orderly. They even still had everything that we were looking for. I heard positive things from people who attended on the first day. Hooray for progress! Of course, we stopped to see our friends the Galloways. We had just run together a few weeks ago out on the West Coast, but it seemed like a long time had passed.

 

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I actually cheered for the first time as Sharon completed her first 10k. I was so proud of her and I enjoyed cheering more than I thought. I didn’t even miss not racing, knowing that she was out there doing her thing.

Half Marathon

I don’t want to say there is a wrong way to run a Disney race, but there are better ways to run them. I typically run the big races either with the Galloways or my race team, the WDW Radio Running Team. Running these races with friends is always a great way to experience them.

This time I went out with our running team. Donnie and I got a head start on our group so that we could get some character stops and let them catch up to us. Last year had a killer group of characters so I was pumped to see what was out there.

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We got the Pirates, Princes crew and made it to the Magic Kingdom gate before the group caught up to us.

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The advantage to running all the races is that you learn where they drop the same characters over and over and where they like to drop in the rare ones. Right when we were about to link up with the rest of our group we hit the rare spot this year. Malificient!  31 races, and over 600 characters and I had yet to meet her. You can pay a good bit of money and get her at a dessert party, but I couldn’t justify almost $100 for one character I need. I was freaking out and Donnie was just having to put up with me.  She alone would have made this race.

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We finally linked back up to our group right before entering the park and then it was straight up party time! We caught up to the WDW cheer group and my family right in the entrance to the park.

Can you tell we were having a good time?  Those pictures were pretty typical for us; having a great time with each other and those around us and Donnie running around everywhere with his hands up in the air.

There were lots of characters, but we chose to keep on going since we had all of them. In the park was Buzz Lightyear, The Queen of Hearts, Belle and Beast, Cinderella and her prince, Woody and Jessie.

I also really enjoy the backside of the park too. It goes by the Magic Kingdom resorts before heading back to Epcot. We stopped for the penguins and one of my favorite stops; the wedding party. The Bride was not there when we came through, so we just celebrated without her.

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From there it was just a little over a 5K left in the race. One of the good things about this race is if you are quick enough, you can actually catch the first couple sets of characters twice. Once in the dark and once after the sun comes up.  Both groups remembered me and “Donna” which was fun.

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The background was great. It really looks like you are on an island instead of a median of a road.

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From there is was up the dreaded curved ramp at mile 10.5. It actually wasn’t too bad this year and we even stopped and did push ups for the sarge army man from Toy Story. (He’s the only one that you’ll find that talks)

We met the second WDW cheer group right before Epcot and several of them beat us from the Magic Kingdom to this point. I think they were using some magic to get there.  Once in Epcot things got a bit….rowdy. First up was the dance moves pose with Mushu….

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I’ll pause here and say I’m happy that my Post on how to get great Run Disney Pics has helped people get the pictures that they want to get. So what happens when your running buddy “Donna” decides to try to ruin your pictures in Epcot and enlists the help of your other running buddy? A new category emerges: Shielding.

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Then it was 38 attempts at a jump photo. I’d like to point out that my head is slightly higher in the air than Donna’s.

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I peeled off for a quick Daisy photo and then caught back up to the group.

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It was at this point that Donna and I got in a wrestling match/dance off as payback for his shielding earlier. This was the only one that came out because both of our numbers were covered for all the others. We had the photographer cracking up!

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After pulling it together it was time to hit the finish line!

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Is it funny that Donnie and Nicki almost perfectly match? Yes. Yes it is.

 

So here we are at the end. Does it live up as the best Disney race in the US? Yes it does. The vibe is so cool, you don’t have a marathon to run the next day, the weather is great and more predictable, you run through the castle and some of your best friends show up to run a race together.

I love you Princess half marathon, but I’ve got to say that I love my friends and running team even more.

See you at the Castle.

-Zack

 

 

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