Walt Disney World 10k Race Report from 2018

RunDisney’s 25th annual Walt Disney World Marathon weekend continued on Friday, January 5th with the Minnie-themed 10k. Over 13,000 runners made their way through the cold, dark morning hours to finish this second event of the weekend.

Vital stats: 5:30 am start (alarm off at 2:00) 37 degrees at race start. Character Stops: Ducktales, Flik and Atta, Witch, Flynn and Rapunzel, Pinocchio; Finish time 1:26:36 (more about this in a minute).

If the 5k was a leisurely stroll with people who were not concerned about time, the 10k was just the opposite. My plan for the start area was the same as with the 5k. Stay warm, don’t shiver. I layered up my Rapunzel costume and was still able to preserve the spirit of it, and I stayed warm all morning. In the staging area, there is a lot of time to dance around and keep warm, so I did that. For the race, Gerald from the YouTube channel “RezRuns” and I had planned on running together as Flynn and Rapunzel. I knew from watching Gerald’s channel that his training pace is about 2 minutes per mile faster than mine, but I also knew that for a 10k, I could keep up with him. I had an altitude advantage, but for anything longer that 6 miles, I might not have been able to keep up. My goal was to just stay with him, even though it meant I wouldn’t get the video and pictures I would have liked.

Once the race started, I had a good, easy shuffle going, meanwhile Gerald is chuckling at how “slow” everyone is at the start — just shows that one person’s comfortable pace is slower or faster than another’s. Once the field stretched out a bit, though, we were able to pick up the pace. Long slow hills in the form of onramps don’t bother me much at all, but Gerald lives in Florida. There are no hills. The data is pretty telling as to what the race objective was. We ran from photo op to photo op, those being the Mile Markers and the Characters, but we didn’t stop for more than a minute or two in each area. The only regret I have is that we didn’t stop for Flynn and Rapunzel on the course, but the line was around 20 minutes long.

For the majority of the race, I experienced something completely new to me. I’ve often wondered if I could manage running with a visually impaired athlete. How would I communicate with them, what would I do to help them. Gerald is legally blind, and he carries a GoPro on every race so he can go back later and see what he missed. But sometimes he has to switch out his camera batteries and needs assistance. Other times, there are potholes and traffic cones that he may not see. I was able to communicate with him throughout the race as his “eyes.” In the end, I was pleasantly surprised at how I was able to successfully navigate both of us through the course.

As a runner, I would run with Gerald any day of the week and twice on Sunday, and I told him so. My experience running with him was a fun challenge, and he is a sweet and generous person all the way around. I knew going into this race I would be a bit faster than my “normal,” but I planned for that in the grand scheme of the weekend. After the race, I felt great! My heart was warmed by the fact that I could assist a new friend with whatever he needed, and I could actually keep up with “Speedy McSpeederson.” Although I had to choose between running to keep up and getting more pics and video, I wouldn’t do this race any other way.

The race kit included (from head to toe): Fleece running hat, Long sleeved base layer henley, insulated zippered vest, “Rapunzel” Tank, Saucony Bullet capris, Rapunzel Skirt, CEP full length compression socks, and Saucony Guide 10 shoes. Plus a “ditchable” fleece jacket that I dropped right after race start.

Heather Jergensen

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