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My Marathon Journey
By Andrew Roe – Florida Leisure Vacation Home Owner
I have always enjoyed and been lucky enough to get out and run 3 to 5 miles with no real effort. I just did not do it very often. You may have read my post that Florida Leisure put in their newsletter in Jan/Feb 2014 (here) when I ran the Walt Disney World Half Marathon. It was on that day I set a goal to run a full Marathon before I was 50 years old . (I am 50 on 8th May 2017).
That was it a goal had been set, what did I do about it…well actually absolutely nothing. Not a great start until the morning of 4th Feb 2015. Yes, over a year later when finally I had run out of excuses, and got on the treadmill and ran 3 miles!!! That was it there was no turning back. I wrote a plan, it looked very daunting but I knew I would not be able to take any shortcuts after all it was 26.2 miles (41.92km).
I followed my plan with military precision. I was even impressing myself with my dedication to the cause. The days, weeks and months rolled by. A friend of mine asked whether I would be interested in running a local marathon at home in the UK, (the Disney one was going to be my first but I thought it would be a good gauge of my fitness) as she had always wanted to do one but could not travel to Florida.
I carried on with my training as race day was only at that point 20 weeks away on 25th October. Unfortunately, my friend found that she was unable to train at the level that was required and reluctantly withdrew from training. That left me running a race I had not planned to do. In hindsight I will always be very grateful to her as I completed the race in 4hrs 46mins and it proved to me I was ready and more than capable of completing the Disney Marathon now just 70 days away.
Running continued after a recommended 7 days rest and all felt great. I had been very lucky to this point as had suffered no injuries, then I fell ill and was not fit to train for 30 days……hmmm not great!!! Just 30 days till race day 10th January 2016!!! What do I do now as my original plan was not appropriate as the next planned run was 20 miles and had not run at all for 30 days? I looked on the internet for inspiration and I found a plan called “The 30 day marathon training plan – or – are you crazy.” It entailed a plan of running every day for 28 days then two days rest and then the 26.2 miles!!!
I had no option, I got stuck in. Actually I did have an option, I could have quit… but I had come to far. So 115 miles later and the 28 day plan had been completed. It was great as the last 50 miles was completed while here at my home in Kissimmee on Cumbrian Lakes, temperatures in the mid 70’s so perfect conditioning for me.
On the morning of Wednesday 6th January 2016, I collected my race gear at the ESPN Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex . I was so excited and a dream had turned into reality when I collected my race number and Disney marathon shirt. Emotions were running high as there only 3 days left till the race.
The alarm clock was set and went off at 2.45am as race day finally arrived on 10th January 2016. Off to Epcot at 3.30am and into my race position Corral P right at the back at 5am. Race number 15403. Official race start time was 5.30am but I did not cross the start till 6.40pm……temperature was about 66 degrees!!! But very humid!!!
I started in Epcot with the other 24,000 plus competitors ….. the course took me to the Magic Kingdom and up Main Street….. loads of people cheering us on then we passed through Tomorrowland, then running by the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, through Cinderella Castle. I saw Fay, my wife, it was so emotional (at that stage I had only covered 5.7 miles!!). Then it was off towards Big Thunder Mountain Railroad before leaving Magic Kingdom. Next stop was Disney’s Animal Kingdom, (12 miles approx) running past the Tree of Life and Expedition Everest. The sun started to appear but to our relief went quickly behind the clouds and did not reappear. Even the winner (see here) admitted at the end he found the humidity a problem!!! Nice to know!!!
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (19 miles approx) was next. It felt like we were in there for ages, legs very very tired!!! Having left there the next stop was entering the Lights, Camera, Action attraction in Disney’s Hollywood Studios (23 miles approx) and running through Washington Square Garden and the Streets of America and passing by the The Great Movie Ride attraction before exiting the park at the end of Hollywood Blvd. This was so exciting as crowds had started to build supporting family members who were running. It gave all the runners a much needed lift.
Finally we ran by the Boardwalk and the coastal village of Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts and entered Epcot, I had a real spring in my step. (25miles approx) running round the World Showcase and passing by Spaceship Earth. I could see the finish line……OMG I had done it…… tears of emotion were uncontrollable, a high five with Donald as I crossed the line. A goal I had set just two years before was now reality…… my legs were sore but everything else felt great but all that did not matter as I had my medal and boy what a medal!!!
Fay was there and it was all so real. She had put up with me for all these months and now we can get back to normal. This was the final chapter in my short long distance running career…… short but fabulous.
Disney Marathon is done!!! Final stats are in. 120 training runs covering 952 miles in 341 days. On average ran 7.93 miles every 2.86 days (2.79 miles/day). 2 Marathons in 70 days…… OMG!!!! I actually did it……. I am sure I had my doubters but none came forward!!!
26708 starters and 19838 finishers. My final position was 13954 with a time of 6hrs 21mins 57 secs ( included queuing at least 8 times for toilet stops ( took on so much fluid ) plus numerous character stops….. Well it was the Disney marathon after all )
If this inspires just one of you reading this to dust off those training shoes in the back of a cupboard and complete your running goal long or short then go for it. Don’t procrastinate set a date and don’t quit. Winners never quit and quitters never win.
Thanks to everyone for all your support and generous donations. My Just Giving page will be open till the end of march for anyone that wishes to donate. If you did donate, again Thank You. It has been a rollercoaster of emotions and thanks for putting up with all the Facebook posts!!!!
Here’s my charity:
And if you’d like to stay in my vacation home…click here!