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Monday, January 9, 2012

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 2012

Are you one of the 50,000+ runners who crossed a finish line this weekend at Disney?
If so, congrats! I hope you and your family had a wonderful time!
For those of you who don't know I am a race announcer and I had the honor of announcing at the Disney Marathon weekend.  This is my 8th time announcing the big event!  Wow! I am one of four great announcers who work together to celebrate the runners during the weekend - Creigh Kelley, Rudy Novotny, and John Pelkey also share time on the mic.
I often talk to runners about their races and they say they've raced Disney....so I say, "I was there.  I'm one of the announcers."  Then they stare at me with a blank look on their face with no memory of every seeing (or hearing) me.  It's okay.  I get it..it's not like you have a massive athletic feat ahead of you....however...I just thought I'd put together a post about us announcers and maybe you can give us a listen next time!


Here's a breakdown of a typical day as a Walt Disney World announcer.
Wake up by 12:45am, in the car by 1:15, and in the Epcot parking lot by 2am.
Script review at 2am
 Start line rehearsal at 3am.
Start line show starts at 4:50am.
This year for the start line I handled several VIP interviews.  For the half I interviewed Trista & Ryan from The Bachelorette.  She was SO nice and gorgeous at 4am. They were honestly really cute together.
Trista & Ryan
I also interviewed Ethan Zohn and Jenna Morasca both winners of Survivor.  They ran the Princess Half in February and I interviewed them there too.  It was a bittersweet moment.  Ethan was diagnosed with cancer previously and was in remission in February 2011, however a recent scan found the cancer had returned to his chest.  This was his last public appearance before he starts chemo again.  He had a GREAT positive attitude and I encourage all of you to send prayers and good thoughts his way.
For Sunday's full marathon I interviewed a principal from Pennsylvania who encouraged each student in her school to read 26 books in honor of her first marathon.  Overall 18,000 books were read!
Finally I interviewed an Orlando woman for runs with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  I could write a whole post on LLS (and I probably will), however I encourage to look at their site and see how you can get involved. 
Liz ran with LLS in 2009 at Disney and had no idea that soon after her Mom would be diagnosed with a blood cancer.  She spoke about how much LLS helped her family and her mom.  Sadly, her Mom passed away and she was running the Goofy Challenge (13.1 Saturday & 26.2 on Sunday - 39.3 miles) in honor of her Mom's 38 days of Chemo.  It was very emotional and makes you remember to never take a day for granted.
After the fireworks and the runners start all 4 of us announcers head over to the finish line.
Kids races
For the half marathon we will call out runners for about 4 hours and around 7 1/2 hours for the full.  
Creigh Kelley interviewing marathon winner Fredison Costa
Video feed of runners at Cinderella Castle
We have a computer screen that the runner's name pops up on about 30 feet from the finish and we try to recognize and encourage as many runners as we can.
After the 6th hour on full marathon we are all a little hoarse and slap happy, but if the runners can keep on chugging then so can we! Go Go Go!
It is an exhausting weekend but one I enjoy so much.  You are in the happiest place on Earth surrounded by people achieving their personal goals! 
Later this month I'll be heading to DisneyLand in California to announce the inaugural Tinkerbell Half Marathon too!
Check back for more WDW Marathon posts this week.  I have a marathon What I Ate Wednesday coming and a video blog (once I get it edited) of parts of the weekend. Also if you are interested in starting running I am happy to give you advice on training.


Have you ever run a Disney race?  What did you think?


Love and mouse ears, 
Carissa & Kyle

8 comments:

  1. I have :) And it was by far the BEST race ever! We ran the Disneyland Half in September and loved every minute of it. I cannot wait to run another!

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  2. I always enjoy your announcing for rundisney as well as track shack but part of me feels a little sad because I feel like you wanna run too but then it's good to see you at the end waiting for us no matter how far back we are

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  3. I think it's hilarious that you are in my picture at the finish! Thanks for being there and announcing!

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  4. Hey Adam! Thanks for the comment! I do always want to run, however I love my job! I am running a half in Clearwater at the end of the month...well...hopefully as long as my ankle heals. I did run 3 today and it felt good.

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  5. Carissa this is such a great piece on announcers. Gosh, I thought it was just grabbing a microphone and blah...blah...blah!! What most people still do not know is your incredible depth of experience. If one was to "age grade" for experience, you are probably among the most experienced race announcers in the U.S.!! Cant wait to work with you on the "Left Coast" at Tinkerbell!!!

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  6. Thanks Rudy! It was a great weekend and I am definitely looking forward to see how you run things over there in California! Bring it on Tink!

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  7. I have not run a Disney race but want to.

    Really interesting look into what the announcers do. It looks like it must get exhausting!

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  8. I ran the marathon this year and it was amazing!

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Your comments make me smile! :)