The start time for the half marathon is the same time as the 5k and 10k, but this time runDisney wants you to get on the buses to the start a half hour earlier. WHYYYYYY????? I was not thrilled to move my alarm from an already absurd 3:15am to an even worse 2:45am. Plus, the damn weather hadn’t gotten much better. The winds were a bit calmer and the temperature shot all the fucking way up to a toasty 34º! Again, good running weather, but bad weather to just be hanging around for 90 minutes in not a lot of clothing. ❄️⛄️
When I got to security, I didn’t have a bag that needed searching because, like the other days, it was folded in my pocket and I was wearing all my post-race clothing to stay warm. This time, however, security was not smooth.
I walked through the no-bag line and a security guard asked me to lift up my heatsheet to see if there was anything being hidden under it—they had been doing this to everyone everyday. After I showed him and continued walking, another guard came power-walking up to me flashing his flashlight at me like a 35-year-old movie theater usher on a power trip. I didn’t turn around because he was yelling “sir!” over and over to get my attention and WHY THE FUCK WOULD I THINK HE WAS TALKING TO ME?? Eventually, he got up in my face and asked to see under my heatsheet again. I don’t know what his deal was with this.
I immediately was not happy about being misgendered and called sir and straight up asked him why he would look at me and say sir and expect for me to turn around. He started giving me a hard time and I said “what the fuck”…or some similar thing with fuck in it. I don’t remember exactly.
It was at this point when he lost his 💩 and demanded that I walk off to the side and talk to his supervisor. I wasn’t prepared to have any of this so I just started walking through again, ignoring him. He came chasing after me, again, yelling sir. I didn’t want to stop, but I heard him start calling on his radio and didn’t want to have some ridiculous scene happen later so I relented. He got up in my face and I, again, called him out for misgendering me. He apologized for that and then started going off on me about my language like I was some sort of fucking child. Then he called me sir AGAIN. ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME???? At this point, I was getting really pissed off. I told him this was bullshit and he was out of line. Well, me saying bullshit really set him off and it looked like steam was going to come out of his ears. It was like he’d never heard a woman curse before. This was insane. He was seriously trying to remove me from the event because I said “fuck” and “bullshit,” as if I was some sort of child.
Eventually, his supervisor came over and apologized for the misgendering and then asked me to step away so he and I could talk. I couldn’t believe this was even a goddamn thing. He tried to apologize for the misgendering while also still giving me a hard time. He tried to tell me the security crews that work these events are “night shift people who are still trying to get used to the kinds of people they see and the new popularity [of transgender people].” I about lost it when he said that. He apologized again as he realized the words that were coming out of his mouth. Still, he was trying to lecture me about it being Disney World and that language not being acceptable. I said to him “do you realize this is an event you have to be 14 and over to run and you’re reprimanding an adult woman about her language as if she were a child?” He seemed to just want out of the whole thing.
He told me I could file a complaint against the security guard, but I said I just wanted to go meet up with my friends. I wanted out of this situation 10x more than he did. I didn’t get any names because I just wanted out. After this he finally let me continue on, but I was shaking with rage over how absurd this was and how much it felt like I was being talked down to like a child.
Luckily, hanging out with my Ohana friends before the race helped me forget about it and get psyched for the race.
Starting out on the long trek from the staging area to the starting corrals, Nathan, Katherine, and I stuck together since we were all in corral A. Like previous days, Nathan was struggling to even survive in the cold. He’s from near Disney and doesn’t have the ability to handle cold at all. I felt bad laughing about it, but…I couldn’t help myself.
In the starting corral, we huddled together to stay warm again and joked about how it could be totally possible the real Jeff Galloway died ten years ago and Disney replaced him with a hologram and none of us would even know.
runDisney has started doing mini waves for each corral where they don’t let the whole corral go at once and instead stagger it into a few smaller groups to space people out more. It makes sense, but it’s always a little awkward. This is something that New York Road Runners has also started doing for some races. Anyway, we just barely got cut off from the first mini wave and had to freeze for a few extra minutes.
Once we got going, the three of us stuck together. I was into the plan of running with the two of them to keep me more honest. Plus, it’d be fun running with friends the previous two days.
We chatted and ran, just having lots of fun running together. Then, just at the 5k mark, Nathan peeled off to go to the bathroom. That was the last we saw of him. The plan was going to be that we’d let him catch up, but sometimes plans don’t work out.
Katherine and I stopped for a photo with Vanellope a few hundred feet up and kept our eyes open for Nathan, but we didn’t see him. Shortly after that, we stopped for Jack and Sally of Nightmare Before Christmas fame. We still kept looking for Nathan, but didn’t see him. He must have gotten past us because he finished before us.
Throughout the rest of the race, Katherine and I chatted and stopped for photos here and there. We took a bunch together which makes for some of the only runDisney race photos I have that aren’t solo. It was nice getting to know Katherine a little more as I mostly just know her through Twitter and our private Facebook group.
We kept going back and forth with the 2:00 run/walk pace group all race. It was kind of weird, but I guess we were running roughly the same pace as them, but with a few minutes head start.
The big change to the half marathon course for this year was the entrance to Magic Kingdom. In the past, you’d enter from backstage through a Magic Kingdom service road. You’d come onto Main Street USA from the side. This year, because of construction, the course ran right through the motherfucking main Magic Kingdom entrance! The course took us through the bus stop area and then right alone the same walkway you take when you walk into Magic Kingdom. It was so rad to have this experience in a race. It felt just like that first time you hit Magic Kingdom up on a Disney trip and the magic you feel. You get off the bus and round that corner to have the train station and the front of the park come into view and you FEEL ALL THE FEELS!!! 😍
Coming into Magic Kingdom through the main entrance is a 10⁄10 improvement 🤩👍🙌👏🧚♂️👸🧞♀️🏃♀️🚂🏰☄️💫. I hope this becomes standard.
We grabbed pictures down Main Street and shot our way through Cinderella’s Castle with huge smiles on our faces. Coming around the 10k mark and out of the back of Magic Kingdom, it was time for the sloggy part of the race.
The section from Magic Kingdom back to Epcot is always a little boring, but it was nice to have company for it this year. As we started getting closer to Epcot, I was ready to be done with the race. My legs were feeling a bit more fatigued than I’d had hoped and I was starting to worry how they’d feel for the the marathon.
After we made the turnaround at the start of the World Showcase, I mentioned to Katherine that we had to finish in front of the 2:00 pace group just because we were going back and forth for most of the race.
I tried to do a jump for a random race photographer, but it didn’t really time super well with his shutter release. Oh well. Can’t win ‘em all!
As we approached the finish, we made sure to get just ahead of the pacers and finish in a 2:06:11. Not bad and roughly where I wanted to be for the half.
And, of course, jumped at for the finish and got this fantastic invisible snowboard shot. Perfect.
With three days down, I was ready to finish this puppy up with the marathon. After the race, we hit up the parks for a bit, but I wanted to be in bed early so we didn’t stay out too late.