So, almost a month late, here’s how things went down at Disney’s Happy Haunted 5K!
Sanne (my 5K Partner in Crime) and I headed to Orlando on a Friday afternoon. RunDisney had been sending us emails leading up to the event with instructions on how things were organized, and the first stop was at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World. They were holding a Health & Fitness Expo, which is where all participants had to go to pick up their race day packets.
Our packets consisted of a clear bag (to put any items in that we might bring with us to the race), a program of events, a t-shirt, and most importantly – our bibs! Since we had registered early we were able to have our names put on them. So cool.
When you registered you had to give an estimate of how quickly you thought you’d complete each mile. Based on that information you were assigned a corral. Sanne and I had registered separately, and without meaning to had chosen different times, which placed us in different starting corrals (that’s why her bib has a “D” on it and mine has an “E” on it). Sanne was allowed to move into my slower corral though, so we were still able to start the race at the same time.
Everyone was supposed to be in their corrals by 7a, but we arrived much sooner and had the benefit of watching the sun rise. We are seriously too cute here.
At about 7:30a they started allowing Corral A to head to the starting line. They released another corral about every 5 minutes, giving the group ahead time to get going. As soon as they called our corral I started to tear up. As in, I was crying. It was so emotional for me to finally be doing something I’d dreamed about for the past year and a half. But to be honest, I think every time I go to Disney something makes me cry. I should have been more prepared for it – thank goodness for sunglasses!
We started out running in the grass around the fields, then started into the forest. The trails were unpaved and twisted all through the trees, keeping us on our toes the whole time. Many of the participants were already walking, so we passed by as best as we could (making me thankful it wasn’t a timed race). Along the trail every so often there photo-ops with villains, like Captain Hook, Prince John, and the Big Bad Wolf, which we decided not to stop for. There were also two stations with water and Porta-Potties, but we opted to pass by these too since the goal was to run the whole thing. There were also fun mile markers along the trail, which definitely helped motivate us to keep going!
As we came out of the woods the trail led us onto the fields and track, where a ton of photographers were snapping at us like paparazzi. Disney employees were stationed all along the track cheering us on too. It felt like everyone was there for us, waiting for us to cross that finish line. It was overwhelming. So, when we crossed that line, I cried again. Next thing I know a reporter is sticking a microphone in my face asking why it was so emotional for me. I blubbered something dumb while Sanne talked about what a great job Disney did. She’s smarter than me, obviously. The guy watched us get our medals (everyone who completes the 5K receives one), and a few weeks after the race we learned that we made it on the runDisney video!
The entire experience was incredible. It was so much fun to be a part of something so big – I think I’m officially addicted to 5Ks now, and I’m going to keep my eyes open for any (cheap) runs I can be a part of locally. I’ve actually already signed up to walk the Royal Family 5K at EPCOT in February with my mom!
I’m so thankful for so many things – my health, my supportive husband, my encouraging daughters, and of course, for Sanne. After our race we cleaned up and immediately headed to Islands of Adventure. Best Mommies Day Out ever.