Well folks we have another Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend in the books and boy was it good to be back to runDisney. Sticking with the villains theme for the entire event, yesterday’s half marathon featured Yzma and Kronk from The Emperor’s New Groove along with several other baddies causing trouble along the 13.1 mile course.
Wine & Dine Half Marathon – Saturday, November 7th
It’s been more than two years since I ran a half marathon, so I was a bit nervous about getting back to covering such a distance but was excited nonetheless. Considering the Villains theme, I wanted to dress up too, but in something that was unique, inexpensive and easy to run in. So I went with a triangle…as in Bill Cipher from Disney Channel’s Gravity Falls!
And while the weather at the start of the weekend proved to be troublesome, yesterday’s conditions were perfect: cold, clear, and sunny meaning that even if I didn’t set a personal record (I definitely didn’t!) I’d at least be able to enjoy my run. Ready to recap the day? Here we go:
Pre-Race Transportation and Starting Groups
Just as it was for the 10K, there were food trucks, a DJ, and photo spots, but I skipped these altogether and went straight to my starting group (S3). I spotted a Jeff Galloway pacing group planning a 2:45:00 finish and decided to stay as close to them as possible.
The race started promptly at 5am and a new wave of racers hit the course every 2 minutes. We set off about 5:24am more than 30 minutes earlier than my 10K start.
Villainous Characters and Elements on the Course
Shortly after setting off, the first villain to greet us was Cruella de Vil with a group of (not real) puppies! Adding to the spooky atmosphere were Haunted Mansion grave diggers, The Sheriff of Nottingham, Prince John, and Pain and Panic—although I missed those two while they were on a break.
During one long stretch early on bubbles, fog, lighting, sound and props enhanced our running experience and made for some great photo ops for fans who wanted to stop and take pictures.
As we approached the backstage of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, some adorable donkeys were there to greet us, but they clearly stated they wouldn’t be giving us rides to the finish line!
I also stopped to take a picture in Pandora – The World of Avatar and enjoy the view of Everest too.
Other characters appearing across the course were King Louie, Kronk, Drizella and Anastasia, Mr. Smee, Captain Hook…
Lotso Huggin’ Bear, The Queen of Hearts, Jafar, Honest John and Gideon, and the Bowler Hat Guy.
As for the mile markers several of the characters from the 10K were featured, but my favorites were Mother Gothel, Hopper, Chernobog, and Gaston.
I crossed the finish line 2 hours 47 minutes and 25 seconds after I started and was really happy with my results. I picked up a mylar blanket, my medals, water and Powerade, and a box of post-race snacks. Once again, runners could buy food and merchandise if they wanted as well as line up for finishing photos and pictures with Disney props.
— LaughingPlace.com (@laughing_place) November 7, 2021
That evening there was also a Post-Race Party at EPCOT where runners could enjoy select rides, entertainment, character encounters and the best of the Food & Wine Festival. Admission was free to each half marathon runner and tickets were $89 for all other guests. Guests could enter the park as early as 5pm but the official party start time was 9:30pm.
We didn’t seek out all the characters but did spot Shan Yu, The Evil Queen and Gaston!
There was a toast to all the runners at the start of the party and the DJ was playing a playlist straight out of 2010. I was loving it! Half marathon runners were also gifted a $15.00 promo card so I treated myself to some teriyaki chicken wings and a S’mores Stout from Brew-Wing at the EPCOT Experience. Both were delicious!
This 2021 event was my ninth runDisney half marathon and eighteenth runDisney race overall. I don’t know about you, but I was thrilled to know that runDisney events were coming back and jumped at the chance to participate in the first in-person event since February 2020. I’m so happy to be back and I’m already looking forward to my next race.