WDW Marathon Weekend 2016 – Part I Expo

Now that the race weekend is over and the Post Disney Depression has settled in (it’s totally a real thing btw) it’s time recap Disney’s largest running event of the year and a pretty big running achievement for me…running the WDW 10k and my first ever full marathon! ….but before we talk about the tears and triumphs let’s talk about the Expo…

After an 11+ hour journey I finally arrived in Orlando on Wednesday January 6th. The plan was originally just to unpack and unwind at Pop Century but after chatting with tons of awesome runners on the plane and on the Magical Express I was just too excited about the weekend to stay at the hotel and relax.

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After picking up my Magic Bands (gotta love that online check in) I headed out to the Expo at the ESPN Wild World of Sports. One of the many perks of staying on Disney property is the free transportation that is provided to the Expo and the race itself. Pro Tip: During the smaller race weekends make sure to check that your resort is a ‘host resort’ for the race you’re running in to partake in the free race transportation. During marathon weekend though all Disney resorts offer shuttle busses for your convenience. I never had to wait more than 5 min for a bus, if at all, and given the long lines for parking at ESPN I highly recommend the hassle free transportation Disney offers over driving your own vehicle.

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Expo at ESPN

First stop at ESPN was the Josten’s Centre to check out what was left of the official RunDisney merchandise. For anyone who’s participated in a RunDisney event before you know that snagging that elusive event wine glass, car magnet or event jacket can be just as stressful as registering or even running the event. I was actually surprised to see the shelves still fully stocked – even when I returned later in the week there was still plenty of the usual hard-to-find products available. Maybe RunDisney has finally listened to runners and found away to better distribute stock over the weekend or keep the E-Bay resellers at bay. Win!

Despite lots of awesome marathon merch on display I had to rein in my spending with the Canada/US exchange rate as awful as it is. The only thing I bought was an “I Did It!” shirt. Does anyone else really wish they had these for sale after you run the race?? I’m always super worried of jinxing myself by buying the shirt before I actually finish…

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Doesn’t the course look waaaay shorter with fun bright colors??

I couldn’t leave the Expo without stopping to pick up a few extra items for my race costume from Sparkle Athletic (sparkle = speed) as well as a few new rolls of KT Tape. The success of many a race relies on your KT Tape color coordinating with the rest of your running outfit – just sayin’.

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my race swag

The last stop was the HP Field House to pick up my race packet/bibs for the 10k and Full Marathon. I tell ya, I’ve been through the packet pick up process countless times but something about signing my name in that little book and being handed my marathon bib made me crazy nervous! It was actually real. It was actually going to happen – whether I felt I was ready or not.

In total I only spent about an hour at the Expo. It was pretty busy and I didn’t really have the patience to really explore some of the other vendor booths. I think the downside to hitting the Expo on Wednesday (first day during marathon weekend) is that all the Dopey/5km runners are scrambling to get all their things since the first event starts Thursday morning. I did take a short trip back later in the week and found it a lot less crowded and I was able to take my time and window shop a bit more.

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Expo at ESPN

If you attended the Expo this year did you find it crowded? What were your must-have purchases to remember the weekend by? I’m still kicking myself for not buying that wine glass…

Up next we finally get to see some running! A recap of the WDW 10k and some well-earned time playing in the parks coming up in Part II

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