Marathon Morning

Walt Disney World Travel Blog

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either before or around 5 AM at the Ticket and Transportation Center

We were up very early again this morning to catch the bus back to EPCOT.  Megan and Janie were dressed in sneakers, tank tops, and well-fitted shorts but sans tutus today.  I was dressed in "normal" clothes and was carrying a bag with papers to grade, my Kindle, and my camera stuff.  Can you guess which two were about to run a marathon?

After reaching EPCOT, we walked through the parking lot in the dark to where the runners were preparing.  I said good-bye to my sister and friend here and then trekked over to the monorail station.  This early in the morning I had no other way of getting to the Ticket & Transportation Center.

When I disembarked, I was shocked at how empty the area was.  I've been to Disney World at non-peak times, but there really wasn't anyone else there yet.

  In fact, the restrooms hadn't even been opened!  After checking out the area, I decided to figure out how to get to the viewing spot over at the Polynesian.  It was a little bit tricky to walk in the dark along an unfamiliar route, but I certainly felt more comfortable about my directions after this exploration.

Back at the still-deserted TTC, I staked out a spot along the guardrails.  I loved this spot because it was jammed up against a wall just high enough for me to sit on.  I did a little bit of grading and then company arrived.  I don't remember the woman's name anymore, but she was a great conversationalist.  We chatted for awhile as the crowd grew.  Eventually the space along the guardrails was packed.

The anticipation turned into cheers accompanied by bells and noisemakers as the first wheelchair racers came up from under the bridge.  Not much longer and then lead runners were flying through the lighted area.  I couldn't get over all of the costumes on the runners.  Yeah, I wore a flat tutu yesterday but now I was watching people completely decked out as Minnie, Jafar, Peter Pan, and various princesses.

I was having a great time encouraging all the runners when suddenly two familiar faces appeared; my shouts went up by several decibels :)  I managed to get a blurry shot or two as Megan and Janie run by, looking good.  I said good-bye to my fellow spectators and headed off across the monorail plaza.  I noticed a few more details in the South Pacific themed resort as I followed the path for a second time.

The crowd was big over in front the resort, but I found a spot along the fence right across from Lilo and Stitch.  I amused myself by attempting to get a picture of the characters when there weren't runners right in front of me as well as watching people pose with the two.

I decided to attempt a video this time as Megan and Janie ran by.  There is a loud woo-ing noise on the short clip; I don't think it liked my cheering :)  They still looked pretty good, and I watched happily until they were out of sight.

By now it was light which made retracing my steps to the TTC easier.  Here I caught a bus to the Animal Kingdom.  The runners followed a route just outside the park and the viewing area was crowded!  It really helped that I was a single person; having two of us would've made it really difficult to slide into a space.

  I ended up talking for a little bit with a grandmother with her granddaughter in the stroller; mom was on the course.  I recognized runners from the earlier two times I had watched the route.  After awhile I started to worry that maybe I had missed them, but I spotted them coming around the slight curve.

Megan and Janie were in a walk phase of their marathon strategy, and Megan waved as they came past me.  This strategy had them running X minutes and then walking Y minutes.  Throughout the race Megan kept a close eye on their timing which would prove helpful on preventing extremely sore legs from their pursuit of the Goofy Challenge.

At this point I was getting hungry.  I also knew that I had a break before I would be able to attempt one last sighting just before the finish.

  I decided to try to get to one of the monorail resorts.  I waited awhile at the bus stop, but while Disney buses rolled in and out, not one for my destination appeared.  However, a bus for the TTC pulled up so I switched plans and jumped on that bus.

At the TTC I boarded the monorail for the Magic Kingdom which meant I would get to ride through the Polynesian and the Grand Floridian as well.  I disembarked at the Contemporary.  Besides taking some photos and wandering rough the extremely-high-ceilinged atrium, I got something to eat and read my Kindle.  I also picked up cookies for Megan and Janie.  Even though Disney would feed them at the end of the race, sweets would also be appreciated.

I used the monorail to get back to EPCOT via the TTC.

Megan and Janie back at the resort after the full
  Gliding above Future World, I saw runners moving along near Spaceship Earth.  The crowd was three people deep for the last quarter mile to the finish.  I spotted Megan and Janie in this last stretch but there was no way 5'1'' me was going to get a picture.  I hurried to the meet-up area to congratulate two very tired but proud runners.  Megan's strategy had really paid off for Janie who had just finished the marathon in her fastest time ever.

We quickly got a bus back to Old Key West where we changed into swimsuits and relaxed by the pool and in the hot tub.  We ate ice cream and French fries for lunch; healthy food was not a priority.  All too soon our idyllic time in the sun came to an end and we had to catch the shuttle to the airport.

At the airport I had an issue with finding my ID, but we all made it through security and eventually home to Ohio.

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either before or around 5 AM at th…
either before or around 5 AM at t…
Megan and Janie back at the resort…
Megan and Janie back at the resor…
motorcycles leading the way
motorcycles leading the way
our designated meeting spot
our designated meeting spot