Wednesday, November 11, 2015

2015 Wine and Dine (Almost) Half-Marathon Recap

Hello all! So by now if you are a runner, specifically a runner who likes to runDisney, then you heard about the events that unfolded at last Saturday's Wine and Dine Half-Marathon. In summary, the course was shortened after a delayed time due to lightning and inclement weather in the area. I will give you a recap of the race and my thoughts on how the matter was handled. First, we need to go to the beginning aka Saturday morning as we were making our quick flight down to O-Town (also do y'all remember that band of the same name? Ashley Angel for those of you who do!).

I love that Birmingham is only a little over hour flight time to arrive in Orlando because after a nap, you have arrived! We took a cab ride over to the Polynesian Village Resort and luckily our room was ready at 8am, which was so nice to be able to get our stuff in the room and change into park clothes. We were debating on whether to go to the race expo first....

or make a quick trip over to the Magic Kingdom! Obviously since we were there so early and had some time to spare before going to the expo, a trip to see the castle was in order. Also, we really wanted snacks. My friends and I all love the dole whip float, it is basically pineapple soft serve served in pineapple juice. It is a must-have of the snack choices in Disney and can be found in Adeventureland!

One really cool thing about going to Wine and Dine is that all the Christmas decorations are already up in the parks. Even if it is only November and what feels like 90 degrees out, it still brings out that Winter Wonderland vibe.

One last snack then it was time for the expo and if you are going to snack (hey, you have a race to run and you need those carbs, right?) I suggest the Nutella and Fruit Waffle Sandwich over in Liberty Square at Sleepy Hollow. At least this is a little healthy, it has lots of fruit!

Upon arriving at the expo, this was seen. Yay another race in the heat! Seriously if I am involved with a race, there will be some sort of weather condition and most likely it will be unusually high temperatures. But they also means it's normally sunny and good weather for other parts of the trip. Looking at things with the glass half-full here!

Here is a picture of the expo. I have said this before in other recaps but after doing so many races, the expo is fun but there is never anything I really have to have anymore. At first, you want one of each thing but as the years progress you can usually find an item or two (if that) but these are great if you happen to leave something at home! At least you know you can always pick something up. Expo to the rescue.

At Disney the time passes so fast! Even though the race had a 10pm start time, you needed to be on the bus to take you over to the start line no later than 8pm. After a nap and stressful college football watching, it was time to start getting ready for the race!

If you have read my other race recaps, you know I love to run in costume! I put together this costume the day before, with some pieces I already had. Since I didn't have much time, I went with a classic princess! Introducing...Snow White! Again, I like to thank my friends who are willing to take blogger pics for me even in a crowded hotel lobby. I really liked my costume, the wig perfectly tied it together but as I would find out later it was HOT.  

The weather had been pretty sunny and very warm all day but as we walked outside, it had the "feel" like it could storm. During the bus ride over, there was so much traffic, we were taken a different route to try and avoid some of it. The weather was drizzly but it didn't look too bad, until we pulled into the area where they drop us off. Then we saw lightning. There was a herd of people walking towards the complex and our bus got word that the start line and course were being evacuated due to the weather. People were worried, complaining, sad, some seemed unfazed, others completely fine. RunDisney gave updates as we all sat and wondered what was going on. Then a little after 10pm we got word to head back to the corrals.

There were rumors online through several running groups that the race would actually be a "half of a half" and that was soon confirmed through runDisney's twitter account. Several roadways and Animal Kingdom would be omitted meaning the course would be reduced to about 7.1 miles. I was honestly, a little happy. It was very warm outside, still signs of lightning and the race would not be starting till almost 11pm. Some people were NOT happy, I heard complaining in the corral and yes, I understand that if you traveled, first Disney race or your first half, I would be upset too. But you have to realize that ALL races have this in their waivers, they can not risk someone getting struck by lightning or getting caught in a storm. Most people seemed fine given the circumstances and were just ready to run. After all the delays, it was time! 

Like I mentioned earlier, it was very humid and I felt soaked after the first mile or two, my head was especially warm from the wig. But I did get lots of compliments on my costume that made it all worth it! I have run Wine and Dine the past 4 years and I will tell any of you first-timers, this race had all the best parts. The Osborne Lights in Hollywood Studios are one of the main reasons I love this race and I'm so sad this is their last year in the park. The lights will surely be missed, they really are spectacular!

This course essentially took you from the Wide World of Sports to Hollywood Studios to the Boardwalk and Epcot before you arrived at the finish. The weather was humid but luckily no rain as opposed to last year when it poured and was cold. It was miserable and I would have taken this shortened course to the experience last year any day. I thought runDisney did an excellent job of handling the situation, some might not have been happy but you can't please everyone. I would have much rather had the shortened course as opposed to just cancelling the race all together. They made the right call in my opinion.

Now I fully understand how some people may have gotten upset, these races aren't cheap and especially if you traveled from across the county, another country, first half etc.. then yes, it would be very disappointing to not run the full 13.1 miles that you thought you would run. As they say "you can't predict the weather" it is just like having an outdoor wedding or event, there is always that chance but you hope for the best. The course may have been shortened but the magic was still there. I saw plenty of character stops and on-course entertainment in addition to the parks and was really happy they made the best out of a bad situation.
I nor my friends personally experienced anything negative but I have seen comments online about people being particularly rude at this race. I'm going to tell you right now, if you are looking for a race course to PR or you are legit running for time, Disney is not the race for you. Yes, the course will be crowded. Yes, there will be people walking. Yes, you will have to navigate around people and they stop unexpectedly to take pictures. And it's Florida so the weather is always up in the air. But guess what? This is a DISNEY RACE, it isn't Boston, New York or Chicago, it's Disney. Calm down, adjust your pace, take some pictures, and go with the flow. You are running a race at Disney World, enjoy yourself!

We stayed at the after-party for a bit, did a few rides with no wait and had some snacks from the Food and Wine Festival in Epcot then it was time for a shower and bed! We left the next morning and had a great 24 hour trip. Even after the slight modification, the Wine and Dine is still one of my favorite races! Check out details here on how to register for 2016 and check the runDisney official website for races in Walt Disney World, Disneyland and Disneyland Paris.
Hope you enjoyed my recap!

Happy Wining and Dining!


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