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Thursday, November 12, 2015

RunDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon 2015

Here's the thing about the Wine & Dine Half Marathon...I think it's one of the best race courses RunDisney has to offer AND it has an amazing after party BUT I think it might be unlucky.  Ask any runner who's raced it the last 2 years and they might agree.  Last year it poured the entire race and this year serious lightning threatened to cancel the entire event.
The Wine & Dine Half Marathon is one of the more condensed RunDisney weekends.  It's just 2 days and starts on Friday with the expo.  Saturday is a jam packed day with the 5k, kids races, expo, and half marathon.  I spent Friday afternoon at the expo and had a great time catching up with friends that I had not seen over the summer.
Saturday morning I donned my elf attire and reported for the Kids Races on the track and ESPN Wide World of Sports.  The track opened at 9am for the 10am race starts and I was a bundle of nerves, because my little one was doing her first ever dash around 11:15.  
Elf Stevie D and I sent off all the waves of the 100, 200, and 400 meter dashes.  Then it was the Mickey Mile and finally the diaper dashes!  Kyle brought CBear out and she was joined by Mojo (my mom), Kyle's cousin, his girlfriend, Guy, and our friend Cindy.  She had quite the cheering squad.
Now I went into the race knowing she wouldn't be able to crawl.  Homegirl is only 5 months, but I really just wanted to be able to have her touch the mat and experience that parental pride.  It was all that and more!
Race day was near record highs (87+) so it wasn't an ideal situation for a baby (mine or anyone else's), but Kyle did a great job keeping her cool.  We put her on her tummy on the mat and had a good 90 seconds before boredom and fussing set in.  Kyle helped her make it across and mat and she was rewarded with a medal and Goofy hugs!
A big thank you to my Mom for making her Santa outfit and Kyle and everyone for helping get her set for the event.  It takes a village my friends!
After the kids races I went back to the hotel for a quick nap before the nighttime race.  As a race announcer you lose all concept of time.  5am race, 10pm race...just tell me when and where and I'm ready to say "GO!".
The start line show started as normal and I was surprised when discussions about weather started to come up.  I knew there was a chance of rain, but when I saw the radar it didn't look good.  There were thunderstorms on their way in.  Now rain is an inconvenience, but lightening is a serious issue.  
About 920pm we were told we were on "standby evacuation" and around 935 we were told to alert the 16K plus runners that they needed to evacuate to the stadium and buildings at Wide World of Sports. It was quite a sight to see masses of runners trudging from the parking lot up to the complex.  The announcers returned to the trailer and awaited further instruction.  It was decided that at 10pm I would be sent to the finish line as planned.  One announcer needs to go early to insure someone is in place for the first chair athletes.  It took about 20 minutes to get there and once I arrived I checked in with our timing team and race staff to see what was the plan.  I could still see some lightening off in the distance, but I guess it had cleared our immediate radius.  We set a tentative start time of 1045pm.  The race would happen, but the course was going to be shortened by almost half.  The course would go out of Wide World of Sports, but it would cut out Animal Kingdom and all of Osceola Parkway.  It would basically jump from Mile 1 to Mile 8.  As a runner I know how disappointing that change must have been for the athletes, however we were very close to having to cancel the entire event due to dangerous weather.  I’m grateful to our race director Jon for taking runner safety seriously and giving the runners part of the experience they were looking for.
The first runners came across in about 30 minutes and we welcomed in finishers until 2am.  My Mom ran and earned her 3rd Coast to Coast medal.  Admittedly she wasn’t too sad about the shortened distance – she got to see the Osbourne Lights and save her legs for the Avengers events the following weekend.
It was certainly a memorable weekend and one for the RunDisney books.  Babies, lightening, and still a great after party.

Have you ever run a race that was affected by weather?
What’s the weather like where you are?  It’s still hot HOT here in Orlando.

Love and flashes in the sky,

Carissa & Kyle

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