The next 5 miles include the most anticipated mile of the race – the run through Magic Kingdom and the castle – as well as my most anticipated part of the race – running past my family. After passing the Contemporary we headed on a cast member route into the Magic Kingdom.  This is truly one of the highlights of a Disney race! Entering from a backstage area you soon find yourself running down Main Street, U.S.A.

Holiday decorations were still up on Main Street.

The icon of Magic Kingdom!

We then made a right hand turn into Tomorrowland….

And then a sharp left and we head towards Fantasyland.  Which, sadly, still has all the construction walls up.  Like any good Disney geek I took some pictures beyond the construction walls.

Off in the distance is a glimpse of Beast’s Castle which will be the 2nd castle in Magic Kingdom.

More construction pics!

Rapunzel and Flynn Rider.  Supposedly he’s been a victim of some costuming issues involving very tight pants…. 😉

Liberty Square.  I took this picture with the sign of Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe for Tom who likes to mispronounce the store name.  It’s become a family joke.

And Mile 11 which is in Frontierland.  I love the mile markers in the parks!

From there we exit Magic Kingdom, following the parade route.  The backstage area is next to Splash Mountain.  For my 40th birthday Tom and I took the Keys to the Kingdom tour which brought us to this backstage area.  It seems a little different after running 11 miles!

You can just see Tigger and Pooh past the mile marker sign.

Mile 12 was right at the Grand Floridian and I knew I’d be seeing my family soon!!!

The single most energizing part of any race for me is the moment where I see my family.  There’s nothing better than kissing your loved ones and hear them cheer for you to motivate you to keep going!!! I handed off my arm warmers and non-working Garmin and was given a 20 oz bottle of water, 2 poptarts, and a stop watch in exchange.  And got lots of hugs and kisses as I ran off!!! The crowd for the marathon was much thinner than the crowd for the half marathon the day before.

Not the best picture in the world.  Soon after this was the exchange point for the marathon relay (new this year was a 2 runner marathon relay called the Chip n Dale where each person ran half the marathon).  The relay runners veered to the left into the Ticket and Transportation Center to finish their portion of the race.  The crazy ones – i.e. ME – continued to the right to begin the long, boring stretch of hell.

runDisney – Disney World Full Marathon:
AMANDA NORTH at HALF in 2:50:34.
Pace: 13:01 min/Mile.
Estimated Finish Time: 5:41:16.
Estimated Time of Arrival: 11:41:36.

My slowest half ever but still at a respectable 13 min/mile.

I know it’s a stretch of hell because we soon encountered some Disney villians.

After the villians we entered a portion of the course that went past the Water Waste Plant at Disney.  Let’s just say the smell left something to be desired.  Especially after 14 miles.  You may also notice that the sky is a perfectly clear shade of blue with no clouds and lots of sunshine.  Remember that!

There were some lost tourists out there with some useful advice…

And a not-so-great picture of Captain Jack Sparrow.  Yum.

I will say that despite the character meet and greet spots, there were almost no spectators in this stretch of road and nothing interesting to see.  Again, I’m thankful for a good playlist on my iPod because it kept me going during an otherwise difficult stretch of race.  No splits at the 15 mile mark.  Next up? Animal Kingdom and the highlight of my race…..