Let me take you on a trip down memory lane. About this time last year, I wrote about why I chose the Walt Disney World Marathon for my first marathon. In short, completing a marathon has long been a personal goal of mine. This aspiration, coupled with my love of Disney, made running the WDW marathon a “no-brainer.” Thinking about all the great things heard about the race, I eagerly registered for the marathon and began my early training. You could say that I desired to be a real-life Hercules and “go the distance.” After spending the summer and early fall reading up on and writing about the race weekend details, making travel plans for our Walt Disney visit, and working through some of my own “spring training,” I was well on my way in preparing for the big day.
However, as with most things, life found a way to interfere with my plans and I made the decision to defer my participation in the marathon for one year.
What happened you asked? Well, despite some of my friends’ joking, it wasn’t due to my lack of commitment. Sure, there was some mental (and Disney-approved verbal) complaining during the long runs. But, I actually enjoyed my training. For me, running presents a great opportunity to clear the mind and observe the beauty of creation. Additionally, I was greatly looking forward to running the big race. I’ve heard so many good things about all of the runDisney programs that I was excited to be a participant. The reason I deferred was because my wife and I decided to adjust our life a little and it was becoming very difficult to focus my attention enough for the rigors of training for a marathon. So, with a quick call to the folks at runDisney and a short online form, I processed my deferment and began to wait for the start of the 2016 WDW marathon season.
Fast forward through a few months that included a move to the snowy northeast, a brutal winter, a new job, the holding of the 2015 WDW marathon (of which I was not present), and the birth of a new child, and it was now time to register for the WDW Marathon. As promised when I processed my deferral, I received an email just prior to the marathon’s general registration being opened up. Within the email was a coupon code that allowed me to register for the marathon about two weeks prior to the general registration. So, once the date came and I entered my deferral coupon code, I was back in! Along with my excitement came that quiet but heavy reminder in the back of my mind that I now had to build up enough strength to run the marathon’s 26.2 miles. (You can only defer once so it’s now or never!)
I was quite glad to receive that deferral coupon code that reserved my spot because, just like last year, the WDW Marathon Weekend events began to sell out very quickly. Just a few short weeks after registration opened, the WDW Marathon was 70% sold out; the Dopey Challenge, Runner’s World Challenge, and WDW Half Marathon were sold out; Goofy’s Challenge was 97% sold out; the Castaway Cay Challenge was 50% sold out; and the many Marathon Weekend extras were all about 50% sold out. (Read this for a brief review of the Marathon Weekend races and events.)
Now that I’ve registered for the race, I also need to register for the Disney Castaway Cay Challenge as my family will be celebrating my accomplishment with a relaxing Disney Cruise following the marathon! What is the Disney Castaway Cay Challenge, you ask? Well, this is a relatively new component of the runDisney programs and is a 5k course on Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line’s private island in the Bahamas. To me, this sounds like a perfect combination—a fun race following a few days on the Disney Dream. (If any of you are also planning to run this race, be sure to have your cruise booked prior to registering for the Castaway Cay Challenge as you’ll need your cruise reservation number. Check out the runDisney site for more information)
With my registration all complete, I can now begin the many steps of preparing for the marathon! Stay tuned as I check in to provide some thoughts on planning for traveling to the marathon, training, and the race itself!
I’d be very interested to hear comments from previous marathon runners! Do you have any advice for runners in the 2016 marathon? Leave your comments below!