Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Volunteering & Spectating at the 2013 Disney World Marathon

Volunteering with Disney's Sports Enthusiast program is always a good time.  They are so organized and treat their volunteers great.  While I have only volunteered for runDisney events, the Sports Enthusiasts participate in almost all the events that come to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.  If I lived in Orlando I would totally volunteer with them more.

On Sunday I volunteered for 2013 Disney World Marathon.
When you volunteer for one of the runDisney half marathons or the marathon, you are required to pick up an event credential prior to your shift.  Pick up can be done either at the Health & Fitness Expo, or at an offsite location the week prior to the event.
I picked up my credential at the Expo on Saturday afternoon.
I was scheduled for 1:30am to 7:30am on Sunday morning.
They ask that volunteers arrive to Downtown Disney (where the volunteer parking and check in tent is located) 20-30 minutes before your shift starts.  At this time they scan your credential to check you in, you receive your volunteer jacket, you are handed a snack bag and then off you go to the buses to your volunteer location.

I was working the Refreshment Tent, which is where all the runners would filter through after they finished to collect their snack box, bananas, candy, etc. 
We stacked a lot of bananas and snack boxes.

 In case you are wondering, those boxes are stacked 8 across, 9 tall and 6 deep :)
Our team was done with the set up by 4:30am.  We were able to check out with our Team Lead and then we could go watch the start.  We were not able to go home at that point because the road the buses used to get from the Epcot start line area back to Downtown Disney were closed.
The road the buses travel on is actually the road the runners use to walk out to the start corrals.

This was fine by me, I knew I was going to stay after my shift was over to watch some of the race.

By 4:30am, the pre race area of the marathon was pretty crowded.  I did a quick scan of the area for a couple of ladies whose blogs I read in the hopes of meeting them in person, but was not able to find them (insert sad face).

I then headed out to the start line viewing area to watch the start.
How cute is this Mickey start line banner?
The race started right on time with the wheelchair competitiors at 5:30am.  They were followed by the first corral of runners at 5:35am.  After that, every 7 minutes another corral was released onto the course for a total of 8 corrals!  It took one hour for the race start to be completed.  There were thousands of runners in each wave.  It was really cool to watch.
The crowd support right beyond the start line was kind of dull.  I had my cow bell out and was ringing it as every runner went by.  So if you heard a cowbell after the start line, it was me :)
I definitely annoyed the old couple next to me, but I really could not have cared less.  These runners were setting out to tackle 26.2 miles, some support is necessary. 

Once the start was completed I wandered around the, now quiet, start area.  I bought a cute runDisney pin which I will put on the "wall" of my cube at work.  It was also at this time the DJ announced the leaders were at mile 18.  I headed over to the bleachers in the finish line area to wait for the winners. 

Goofy, Minnie, Donald & Mickey waiting for the winner
The race announcers and Mickey, Minnie, Donald & Goofy kept us entertainment for the hour or so until the two lead runners made their way to the finish line.
Can you see the winner in the middle of the path?

The winner was Adriano Bastos from Brazil.  He previously won the WDW Marathon 6 straight times from 2005 - 2010.  The second place finisher was Fredison Costa of Brazil who had won the last two WDW Marathons.  Between these two, they have won half of the WDW Marathons that have taken place - amazing!  They are actually training partners as well.  Once they had both crossed the finish line (16 seconds apart), they came back out onto the course to enjoy their moment.
Good Sportsmanship!
The men finished in 2:21:and change, while the winning woman was Renee High, who also won in 2012, who finished in 2:48.
I sat in the bleachers until the clock read 3:30.  It was fun to see the finishers trickle in.
I saw 3 Clif Bar Pace Team Leaders finish right on time - awesome!  The 3:05 and 3:15 leaders didn't have any runners with them, but the 3:25 leader did.  Great job pace team!
Once I knew Epcot was open, I went in the park to cheer on some more runners.
If you are ever in need of inspiration, go watch the last mile of a marathon.  People are in pain, they are hot, they are sweaty, but they are gettin' it done!
I don't know who these people are...
but they are awesome!
Marathon Sunday is also a great time to go on the rides at Epcot, FYI.  I went on Spaceship Earth, Soarin' and Test Track all within an hour and 45 minutes - awesome!

I then headed out to the UK pavillion in World Showcase to get some fish & chips for lunch (they are delicious here).  While I was waiting in line, who do I see getting a beer from some spectators?  Joey Fatone from NSync!  Omg.  I love me some NSync!
So of course I did what my younger self would expect me to do and I got out my cowbell and shouted, "Way to go Joey from NSync".  He looked over, raised his beer cup at me and gave a "Wooo".
Awesome.  I love celebrities.  I love boy bands.
Since Joey & I are now cool, this obviously means I am practically BFFs with JT :)

After lunch, I headed back out to the volunteer area to catch a bus to Downtown Disney.
When you volunteer for a runDisney half marathon or the marathon, you receive a one day park pass.  Since I have a season pass I always forget about this (obviously it is not the reason I volunteer at 1am in the morning), but it is definitely a nice perk of volunteering.  My parents will be using it when they are here in a couple of weeks!

Congratulations to all the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathoners!!

Some fun facts about the 2013 WDW Marathon:
* 20th Anniversary Year Event
* Half Marathon Race: 27,000 participants
* Marathon Race: 26, 000 participants
* Goofy Participants: 10,000
* Family Fun Run 5K Race: 10,000 participants
* runDisney Kids¡¦ Races: 3,000 participants in three days
* runDisney Mickey Mile Race: 3,000 participants in three days
* Approximately 7,000 Volunteers are a part of the Marathon Weekend
* Approximately 800 Medical Volunteer are part of the Marathon Weekend

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