On January 10, 2014 my husband, Tom, and I woke up at 2:45am to get ready to run the 1st Minnie Mouse 10k.  Tom thought that I had lost my mind when I explained that we needed to get on a monorail shortly after 3am but he went along with my insanity.

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(Forgive the funny expression on my face.  I was trying to get a decent Selfie.)

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The Super Heroes were ready to go!

We hopped on the 2nd monorail of the morning and headed over to Epcot.  We later heard about some people waiting and waiting for transportation to the start so we were super happy to be there early.  The morning was pretty comfortably warm, which isn’t a great temperature for a race but since this was a 10k and not the full it was ok.

One of the things that was immediately obvious to me was the increase in security.  In order to enter the start area (or the finish area), everyone had to go through bag check.  Running belts were inspected as were any “check” bags.  The start set-up was similar to the Royal Family 5k that we ran last February.  Unlike the half and the full, the starting corrals were right in the Epcot parking lot without the endless walk.

While waiting to enter the corrals there was a DJ and we had the opportunity to meet up with several friends.  One of my favorite things about becoming a regular at runDisney events is how many friends I’ve made over the years!

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Tom getting ready to run.

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We started in Corral E with 2000 of our closest friends!

There were 10,000 runners participating in the 10k of whom 7,000 were taking part in the Inaugural Dopey Challenge.  There were 5 corrals and I’m still not sure how the corrals were divided.  The corrals were crowded and there was a long lag between starts.  Annoyingly the first runner crossed the finish line before we crossed the starting line! There were fireworks for each Corral although more limited than for the full marathon.

We decided on a run 20 sec/walk 40 sec ratio to start the race.  The first 3 miles were outside of Epcot.  I was pretty disappointed by the lack of entertainment, especially since the scenery wasn’t interesting either.   Early in the race we saw one of my DISboard friends – McFlurry John.  He had his name on a piece of paper attached to the back of his hat.  John is famous for being a 60-something year old race walker who can walk a 2 hour half marathon and routinely finishes long-distance triathlons.  What an inspiration! He talked with us for a few minutes before leaving us in his dust.

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Here’s a picture of the crowd early in the race. In the middle of the picture, you can see some balloons.  It was somebody dressed as the bird from the movie Up and the balloons were part of the costume.  Crazy!

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Mile 3 was near-ish the entrance to Epcot.

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Finally some in-park time!

We did a clock-wise loop around World Showcase.  While there were a few characters stops, I must say I was a little disappointed.  Granted we were near the back of the pack so they may have started packing up to prevent issues with the Sweepers.

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An early morning shot of the World Showcase lagoon.  The Epcot “ball” is in the distance.  I love running through an empty World Showcase at sunrise!

We exited at the International Gateway and started a clockwise loop around the Boardwalk area.  We had such a magical stay at the Boardwalk Villas in August so this area has even more meaning to me, now.

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Mile 5!

Football Goofy was outside the ESPN Club with quite a line and I didn’t get a decent picture.

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Tom doesn’t look nearly as happy as I do….

 

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An iconic shot of the Boardwalk looking from the Yacht Club.  Love early mornings at Disney!

As we were leaving the Boardwalk area to head to a backstage area near International Gateway, we saw something amazing.  The very last runner on the course was entering the Boardwalk area with the Sweeper bikes right behind her.  Every single runner who saw her stopped to cheer for her.  It was an amazingly emotional moment and I sent some speedy thoughts to her as I hoped she finished.  I won’t lie.  A few tears were shed.

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As we re-entered Epcot, we headed towards the front of the park.  Tom was definitely hurting at this point and my goal was just to get him to keep going to the finish line!

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We’re in the home stretch now!

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Is this a metaphor? I look like I’m pulling Tom across the finish line!!!

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Even with his painful ankles, wearing a medal makes Tom smile!

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So proud!!!!

Overall it was super fun to run this race with my husband and get him across the finish line.  I thought Disney “phoned it in” a bit with this race.  The first 3 miles were just boring and the next 3.2 miles were mostly interesting because we ran in places that I love.  The characters stops were much fewer than I expected, especially given the price tag.  I’m glad we got to run the first Minnie 10k.  I think I’d only run it again if I had family or friends who needed someone to help them finish.  My almost 10 year old is threatening to run it next year and I’d be more than happy to run with him!

 

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