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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Tip Tuesday: The morning of the race - part 1 - getting there

WDW Radio Running Team before the 2012 Marathon

Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

Well, there's just over five months to go before the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.  While I've still got a lot of training to do, it's also time to start talking about some more tips about participating in a RunDisney event.

I wanted to focus on the morning of the race (or races in the case of the Goofy and Dopey folks like me).  There is quite a bit of planning that runners need to think about prior to race morning.  I'm a visual guy, so how about a quick map (this is a rough approximation of locations and is not official).  This week, I'll focus on getting to the pre-race area.  In future posts, I'll talk about some things to keep in mind while you're getting ready for the start.

click for larger view

First, runners need to try to arrive at the pre-race area located in the eastern-most section of the Epcot parking lot, shown in yellow on the map, by around 4 a.m. at the latest.  Disney says runners must be in the corrals by 5 a.m. or they will not be allowed to race.

Runners staying on-property:
For runners staying on-property, this is pretty easy.  Disney offers bus transportation from just about every resort starting as early as 3 a.m. each race morning (depending on the race).  For a detailed schedule for each race, see the RunDisney website.  From my past experience, these are usually touring buses, not standard Disney transit buses.  It's important to remember that these RunDisney events are VERY popular, so there will literally be tens of thousands of people (often more) all trying to get to the pre-race area.  What does this mean for you?  It means that buses can fill up FAST, so you would be wise to get down to your bus stop at your hotel by around 3:15 a.m. (4:15 a.m. for the 5K) so that you can ensure you won't run into any issues and end up missing the start.  Disney recommends runners be on a bus by no later than 4 a.m. to avoid missing the race start.

Buses will drop off runners at the front of Epcot.  Runners will then have to walk to the pre-race area.

Oh, if you're staying at a monorail resort, the monorails will start around 3 a.m. each morning  You'll need to take the resort monorail to the TTC and then take the Epcot monorail to the front of the park and walk to the starting area.  For my 2010 half marathon, this was surprisingly easy and painless.  This is one benefit of staying a monorail resort -- easy transportation and no buses.  Just like the buses, I recommend being on a monorail by no later than 3:15 a.m.

Runners staying off-property:
If you're not staying on property, you'll need to plan to arrive at the Epcot entrance no later than 4 a.m.  Arrive any later, and you'll run the risk of missing the start, which would be a very bad thing considering how expensive these races are.  Therefore, you'll need to carefully think about how much time you need to allow to get to Epcot and add LOTS of additional time for traffic delays (which there will be due to road closures).

So, you've made it to the pre-race area!  Now what do you do?  And what else do you need to think about before the race starts?  I'll discuss that in a future post. 

Until then, keep up the training!

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