It's time for another Tip Tuesday!
Well the holidays are behind us, which means it's nearly time for Marathon Weekend! I've had the distinct pleasure of attending two RunDisney events (the 2010 half and 2012 full), and this week, I'll share a few thoughts about some ways to make your pre-race go a bit more smoothly.
First, and most importantly, is to get to the pre-race area on time. Depending on where you're staying, you'll need to probably get up around 2 a.m. in order to have enough time to get to Epcot by 3:30 to 4 a.m.
If you're staying on-property (which I recommend), you'll most likely be taking a bus from your resort to Epcot and then walking to the pre-race area which is located in the far eastern parking lot area. In years past the bus service has been dubious, so I strongly recommend being at the bus stop by 3:30 a.m., no later than 4 a.m. Sometimes buses go to multiple resorts, so don't be surprised if a bus isn't there waiting for you. The later buses tend to get very crowded and can fill up, which means you could be forced to wait for another bus, putting you at risk of arriving late and having to hustle to the starting area.
Also, it's possible, even likely, that the bus stop will not be in the same location as where you would catch buses to the parks, so it's a very good idea to check ahead of time so you know where you're going early in the morning. Do not think you can sleep in a bit and catch a last-minute bus at 4:30. - you might miss the start. Runners are required to be in their assigned corral by 5 a.m. and it's about a 15-20 minute walk from the pre-race area to the start line. It's not worth missing the start just for a few extra minutes of sleep. Be on those early buses and you'll be fine.
Those runners staying at a monorail resort will need to take a monorail from their resort to the TTC and then another monorail to Epcot. Monorails start running at 3 a.m. Much like buses, it's a good idea to be on those first few monorails to make sure you get to the pre-race area with plenty of time to take care of things, especially if you plan to check a bag.
Either way, if you're staying on property - take Disney transportation. Don't try to drive yourself. It's not worth the hassle.
Those staying off-property need to plan to arrive at Epcot by 3:30 a.m. and no later than 4 a.m. Road closures start to go into effect starting at 3:30 a.m., which means you could run into significant delays getting to the parking lot if you're arriving late.
OK, now that you've made it to the pre-race area, it's time to get situated. For my two events, I met up with the WDW Radio Running Team and enjoyed meeting old and new friends while starting to warm up for the race. This is a good time to stretch. You won't need to do much walking or running yet - you've got a walk ahead of you to get to the race start. Make sure you've got some glide or other substance to help lubricate certain areas (feet, chest, etc.) that tend to chafe and rub into blisters.
Be sure to listen to the announcers, they will tell you when you need to start making your way to the corrals. As you leave the pre-race area, you will want to make a pit-stop by the porta potties. Here's a BIG tip -- DON'T stand in line for those porta potties just in front of you as you start heading to the start line. Hundreds of runners will be standing in line and it will take forever to get through the line -- trust me on this one. Instead, go on down to the left. You will see some to the left of the path a few hundred feet away that will likely have far shorter lines. If those lines are still too long, there are several sections of porta potties further along your way to the start line, so there are still opportunities to use the restroom before you start running.
Once you get to your assigned corral, enjoy some of the pre-race banter with the commentators, Mickey Mouse and the gang. Before you know it, the gun will go off and you'll be on your way toward that coveted finishers medal!!!
To all the runners -- good luck and a big shout out to Team WDW Radio!!!