WDW 1/2 Marathon: An Open Letter to My Fellow Runners


As I sit to write this, I, like many, am waiting to hear about further updates about the WDW Marathon weekend.

To explain, the half marathon has been cancelled. Like so many other, I am heartbroken and crying. This really sucks. For some people, this was their first half. Others it may be the only race they were going to run this weekend. For those like me, this was the next step in the Dopey Challenge. Others the first step of their Goofy.

As a community we are all disappointed right now. This sucks.

But there is something I urge you all to keep in mind over the next few hours and days. Last I checked no one, not even Disney, is in control of the weather.

I know for a fact that Disney is working hard to make Guest Relations and Run Disney representatives available tomorrow to answer questions and offer a resolution to this. To be honest the offerings are quite amazing considering they could realistically do nothing.

Run Disney has laid out exactly what is available to runners. Now, when it comes to Dopey and Goody Challengers, that is still up in the air. I know we’re getting credit for the challenge. We’ll all be receiving our half medals and the challenge medals. It will be bittersweet but there it is. In terms of out compensation, that hasn’t been announced.

What I do know is that Disney will do right by their guests. I think they are offering reasonable compensation for those strictly doing the half marathon. I’m sure the fallout from the disastrous Wine and Dine 2015 is still ringing in their ears as they works to resolve potential issues with this situation.

Now, is everyone going to be happy with their options. Absolutely not. Because some people can’t be happy. Totally get that.

But let me get to the point of me writing this.

Hell, as I’m writing the rain has begun. I can hear the thunder in the distance. Welcome to Florida. We have weather. Our weather can get ugly. Remember 2015 Wine and Dine when we all had to shelter in the stadium? There’s no shelter at the Epcot parking lot or along the course. There’s no need to put 11,000 at risk of serious injury.

If I recall we had rain during the 10k and the half last year and I distinctly remember getting pelted with hail during the full.

This year we have lightening storms. This year a race had to be cancelled.

It sucks.

For those hoping that they’ll run and half and a full on Sunday I hate to say that I don’t see that as something feasible for them to do. The sheer volume of extra bodies on the roads wouldn’t be realistic for the volunteers and the course. I could be wrong but I’m trying to be realistic.

My point?

Tomorrow many people will trek to ESPN to work face to face with the Guest Relations. These are people who are just finding out about this situation as well and have been given the same list of options for runners and they are going to hold fast to it.

Remember these people are the messengers. They don’t make the rules.

They are also human beings. Be patient. Be understanding.

No one controls the weather but we can control how we are when it comes to our fellow human beings. With all the god-awful shit going on in the world, let’s be good to each other.

I get it on all fronts. There are people that have traveled far and wide for this. One of my good friends, Meg, flew down from Boston for this. She’s making lemonade out of lemons. We now have a full day to hang out with no stress or exhaustion. Erica flew down for this race and we get a full day together where I’m not exhausted and cranky.


Let’s make lemonade.

Make the most of your extra day at Disney. Spend time with friends and family making memories rather than being miserable.

Keep that in mind. We know what our options are and further answers are coming. Hopefully soon as it’s been an hour since they said we’d have them and we don’t. That’s fine. There are a lot of variables at play.

ESPN is going to be a nightmare tomorrow. I’m calling it now. Keep that in mind.

This got long and rambling.

I’m exhausted and going to bed.

I know a lot of people are planning on trying to run their own 13.1 miles tomorrow to keep the spirit alive. If you choose to do so, please be smart and safe. If you’re not from around here and don’t know our weather, please know it is not something to mess around with.

Believe me, Erica and I are considering running our own but we’re gonna keep an eye on the weather and make a smart decision.

I’m disappointed for sure. The case can be made that I’ve paid my dues and have earned my Dopey regardless of the run. I don’t feel that way because, to me, the point is the make that sacrifice and, for lack of better term, suffer through four early days of running.

I’m not rushing to return my Dopey jacket though. I’m keeping it. What a story to tell. As far as I know, Run Disney has never had to cancel a race before. What a story. Same with 2015’s Wine and Dine turned 10k-ish. I got to experience that madness.

I’m always okay with a little madness.

UPDATE: The final details have been shared via email and the Run Disney web site. I STRONGLY encourage looking at them before heading to ESPN. They’ve have given many great options to avoid going to ESPN unless you want to immediate gift card refund.

Please think twice before going and utilize the time in a fun way.

As a seasoned runner, I know what I agreed to when I signed up. Technically, if the event is cancelled we are entitled to nothing.

I know that many scrape and save to have this “run of a lifetime” experience and the options offered aren’t ideal and you’d like something more. But this is what we agreed to in that fine print. I’ve been reading the comments and some people are driving me nuts. Seriously if you are going to complain and it starts off with “I know what we agreed to but…” just go ahead and stop right there. Or, go ahead and write out your thoughts. Go back. Reread that opener, delete your comment and go to bed.

Disney has done right by its runners and I think all the offered options are fair. Does it suck that many of us won’t get the full experience? Absolutely. But safety first. Does it not work for everyone. Obviously it can’t. But something is better than nothing. Go the gift card route. It can be used online or at any Disney Store. I plan on using mine out at Disneyland next weekend.

Lemonade people. Make some lemonade.

If you do go to ESPN remember patience. There are a lot of people in the same boat and resources are going to be stretched thin. I know for a fact that they are pulling extra guest relations folks for various locations to offer support.

They are doing everything that can to make this as right as possible. Give them the opportunity to do that and if your soul purpose in going to ESPN tomorrow is to be miserable and make a stink to see what else you could possible get, I want you to take a really good look at yourself and your values as a person.

[Featured Image Copyright Disney/RunDisney]

6 comments on “WDW 1/2 Marathon: An Open Letter to My Fellow Runners”

  1. So sorry you have to miss your race, but you are, indeed, one of the nicest people. It’s obvious through this blog post. Have fun at Disney, use your gift card wisely and just enjoy not having to run in the rain!


  2. Excellent! I’ve been looking at pictures, videos, etc., of those running their DIY half marathons – it’s awesome to see. Makes me wish I was there to run with them this year! Seriously.


    1. Right! So inspiring to see so many wonderful people in the running community coming together. A friend of mine in Guest Relations said that out of the hundreds of people she dealt with at ESPN only one was terrible and it was mostly because he was misunderstanding her. I’m so proud of everyone! I opted out of running on Saturday for a variety of reasons, primarily my health, I’ve been battling a cough and with the Rebel Challenge sneaking up in a couple days, I didn’t want to risk being sick! Hopefully we see you out there soon!


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