Walt Disney World Half Marathon 2017 – The race that did not happen

My original plan for the start of 2017 was to run a Coast to Coast to Coast (C2C2C) challenge. This meant running Walt Disney World Half Marathon, a week later running Start Wars Light Side Half Marathon, and a month later run Princess Half Marathon. Well that C2C2C turned into a Vacation to Coast to Coast challenge.

Expo
Getting to the expo and getting my bib wasn’t too bad. Lots of twist and turns and weird signs but overall not bad. My dad did have a few issues with his bib but it was a misunderstanding about a limited edition pin he purchased that sent us on a wild goose chase.

Once that was sorted out finding our shirts for the Half Marathon and Goofy Challenge was hard. The expo was super crowded and hot which did not help us navigate the chaos. We quickly got our shirts and got out of the hot Jostens Center and back to the hotel.

When we got checked in and settled my dad and I realized we did not have our standard bag check tags for race day and the buses were a bit different compared to previous years.

Weather
The weather in Orlando was a bit humid for January, but each year I’ve run during marathon weekend it’s been super humid. We were told via email and Twitter that runDisney was following the weather closely and they would let us know if the race was canceled. Friday we went into the parks and we went to the Magic Kingdom first thing in the morning and then went to EPCOT for our pre-race dinner. We chose the Garden Grill, I highly recommend this place.

After we finished my dad and I both checked our phones to see if the race was happening. Well it turns out it wasn’t but the only notification we received was a FACEBOOK POST. Yes it was a Facebook post, no supporting emails, no supporting Tweets, just a Facebook post. This is one of my frustrations, I did not find out the race was “officially” canceled until 11pm via email the night before the race.

I understand it was a game time decision because of the weather situation but there were other ways to notify participants and their families. runDisney could have sent a notification text and email via runner tracking along with the Facebook post but waiting two hours to send the email was frustrating. I do agree with their decision to cancel the race and I am happy runDisney did the right thing for the safety of their participants, staff and volunteers.

Disney’s customer service
runDisney did offer many options to refund the runner. You could go to the expo and get a full Marathon bib for Sunday, get a gift card for the full entry fee, get two one-day park tickets, or get a transfer entry. I chose the transfer entry but have yet to receive some sort of confirmation. I am very grateful runDisney offered participants options for the canceled race I do wish there was a bit more Disney magic when it came to communication post-race weekend. I know I am supposed to receive a finisher medal but honestly, I have no clue when that will arrive. (Update: Finally got my race medal at the end of March!) I did receive my Coast to Coast medal at Star Wars even though I did not run a race in Florida. I did bring it with me to Princess so I could take pictures with it after running my “third” half. I am also grateful that I did get to have a family vacation at Disney World. We spent more time together since I did not run the race. So, there was a silver lining in all of the disappointment.

Vacation
I did have a great vacation! We went to all of the theme parks, saw the new parts of the park and got to spend more time together than we hoped. I am returning for Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend with my boyfriend and his family and I hope it will be just as fun as this trip.

Have you ever traveled to a canceled race? Let me know your frustrations and your silver lining in the comments!

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