Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon is a nighttime point to point course on Disneyworld property. I got out to the Wide World of Sports complex pre-race area by about 7:30 P.M. By this time there were already a ton of runners around and many more were on the way.
I walked around a bit to see the area and meet up with some friends also doing the race. It took me a little while but I finally locked onto some familiar faces together (Jeff, Rae and Amanda--all pictured in last photo in the same order) who were fellow bloggers and runners on Team Voice (a group of Disney oriented running friends I know through the internet) as they were standing together in the larger group. I hung around with them for about a half hour before walking off to meet with some other friends for a short time. In a bit I get in line to get my pre-race photo with Mickey (back with Team Voice friends again at this point). A bit later I also got a nice photo with Jeff Galloway after he spoke to the crowd. Finally, we are getting close to time to line up in the race corrals, so everyone walks over to wait in the corrals for a while. Eventually, we get a countdown and fireworks before we start.
My plan for this race was always to have fun, however when the gun went off I covered the first 2 miles in about 21 minutes running through the crowd. Around the Mile 2 marker I started walking with another online friend (Lisa) who I had coincidentally just come upon. Lisa and I spent the next 9 or so miles walking quickly but casually. We enjoyed catching up on real life conversation with each other as well as talking with fellow runners. We took the opportunity to stop at virtually every photo opportunity, danced around a bit to the music at some of the live bands, and just generally found about every possible opportunity. Just after the Mile 11 marker Lisa (with me in the photo just above) and I lost track of each other and I ran the last 2 miles in about 22 minutes through the walking runners. I finished in 3:31:39, easily an hour and maybe 80 to 90 minutes slower than the time I might have gotten had I really “raced” this event. However, my time on this night was measured not by hours, minutes and seconds, but by fun—and I had tons of fun on this night, although the excitement was far from over.
The biggest problems with the race were in the after-race party. As I cleared the finish area and got my post-race photos, I noticed a complete mess if the bag claim area (fortunately I had not checked any bag on this night!). After I got into the EPCOT party area I noticed very long lines for the various food and drink items, after walking halfway around the park looking for a decent bite of food I headed off to the restroom. It was shortly after this point that the lack of post-race food, plus the heat from waiting in line in a tight and poorly ventilated area culminated in a dizzy spell as I started to leave the area (a condition from which I was not the only one to suffer). Fortunately I had the sense enough to sit down and had some good friends around to watch over me until I felt better. We all sat around and talked for a good while before heading out in search of food and to find the bus back to the hotel. I ended up primarily eating the banana and gronola bar I got from the race, with only a small taste of the special Wine and Dine food offerings but what I did have was really very good. If Disney can improve these long lines for the runners, it will be much better next year.
All in all, I had a great time with this event and would highly recommend it to anyone, with any luck I’ll be able to do it again some day--and hopefully I'll be able to do it with some great friends again as well.