Welcome to the runDisney category!

This category is for discussing runDisney races around the world!

Remind @len that he needs to tell the story about how the love of his life, Laurel, left him to die on the bridge between AK and DHS during the 2008 WDW Marathon.


Thanks so much for creating this @Len! And I definitely want to hear that story!


Thank you @len !!!

I am very much looking forward to your tall tale about Laurel leaving you for dead. I can’t imagine such a lovely human would do anything like that.


Thanks! Sounds like a good story for the podcast!


Ouch and between AK and DHS is a brutal stretch of running!


It is.

But you know, that’s where I’ll never forget the camaraderie of the runners.

In that (nasty, boring) stretch, there is nothing. No spectators, no entertainment, and you’re not in a park.

It’s nothing but runners and the road.

And that is where I most noticed everyone urging each other on. Cheering for each other. Chanting “we got this” and similar.

Every time I think of that part of the run, I get teary. It was one of the most awesome things I’ve ever experienced, and I’ll never forget it.


Excited for this category, thanks @Len!


Thanks for the category @len! I will be taking on the Dopey Challenge next January. I already printed the training schedule and stuck it on the fridge. Plotting out additional races and half marathons in the fall for my long runs needed on the weekends. I’m excited and scared at the same time. But my reward is a cruise already booked on the new Disney Wish the day after the marathon!


Okay, so here’s the story: I had run a couple of Disney half-marathons before, and successfully. I met Laurel online after my second half, and she convinced me to run a full with her.

Training went well - I was living in rural North Carolina and had mapped out routes on rural roads that took me anywhere from 3 to 20 miles. I had to run these either early in the morning or late at night because of work and family.

During the last couple months, I don’t think I ever ran in temperatures above 40F. My last 20-miler was done on a clear day of 32F.

I get to Orlando and it’s warm, like 75F during the day, or roughly 40 degrees more than the climate I had trained in. The runDisney folks tell us before the race to slow our pace because of the expected heat. Laurel and I decide to run the entire race together.

We get to mile 18 and my back starts to hurt. By mile 20, I realize I’d stopped sweating and that the pain was dehydration. We’re on the bridge between AK and DHS and I realize I just can’t keep going. So I tell Laurel that I think I’m dehydrated and need to stop because something is really, really wrong.

Laurel turns her head, says “OK, you’ll be fine. Good luck.” and keeps going.

I sit down on the bridge with my head between my legs, trying not to die. And a bunch of people run by and ask if I’m okay, which is very nice.

Eventually, a medical team arrives in a cart. They ask me a couple of questions to assess my condition, and ask if I want a ride to the medical tent. And they say that if I take the ride or they help me walk, that my day is done.

The nearest medical tent is a little over a mile away, so I decide to walk it. It takes an hour. I’m still not swept from the race.

I get to the medical tent. They give me lots and lots of fluid, and set me down on a cot. I sit there for an hour, eventually drinking 40 ounces of fluid (without having to pee).

I’m still not swept at this point, nearly 5 1/2 hours into the run.

Side story: The day before, during the WDW Half, my friend Mike Scopa breaks his ankle at Mile 6 in the Magic Kingdom. He gets it taped up and runs the rest of the race. Okay, he spent 6 months in rehab for that, but still, he finished the race.

Anyway, I’m sitting in the tent and thinking “If Scopa can run a race on a broken leg, I’ll be damned if I’m not going to finish this because I’m thirsty.” I push myself up off the cot, head out of the tent on to the course, and start walk/jogging to the finish.

I get to the EPCOT resort area and it’s so late in the day that everyone’s out and it’s busy. A bunch of people recognize me and ask for selfies. Everyone invariably asks “You’re still running?”

I finish the race in just over 7 hours. (There may have been a stop at La Cava - I forget.)

That afternoon as I’m recovering, Laurel calls to make sure I’m not really dead. (“I knew you’d be okay” she says, along with “And I was on a PR pace.”) We end up having dinner at (I think) Caribbean Beach.

A couple years later we fell in love during a walk through the All-Star Resorts. But that’s another story.


Ok I stand corrected. LOL

You never leave your wingman and your wingman doesn’t leave you. That was COLD!



I have a much less dramatic story about leaving a race partner behind.

DH (then BF) and I decided to go from couch potatoes to marathon runners in about 6 months (note that we made this decision at a diner while hungover in our early/mid twenties).

DH fractured a small foot bone towards the end of training and ended up not doing the 2 longest runs before tapering, and was very worried about finishing at all.

Race went well, we were ahead of our target pace and at mile 23, we decided to speed up (I have no idea what we were thinking) because we had a chance to make a sub-5:00 time (again, literal couch potatoes 6 months previously, neither of us were runners ever in our lives).

The race ends with a big downhill and across a bridge. At the top of the hill, I can see the finish line and race clock and ask DH if he wants to sprint. He looks at me like I’m crazy (we’d just done the last 3 miles at an increased pace), so I take off and leave him behind.

He’s still mad about it. Literally 20 years later. (not like mad mad, but it’s definitely a thing). That my time is 10 seconds faster than him, and I left him.

I’m going to tell him Len’s story, because Len has way more cause to be upset than he does :joy:


So it can be done!


That’s an incredible story. That you were able to get going again after a long break with 20 miles in your legs. I would be as stiff as a board. That long slow walk to the medical tent probably saved you.

Thanks again for creating this space where we can share our horror stories for others to enjoy.



This story is fantastic and I’m glad you were able to see past this one mistake of hers and eventually fall in love :slight_smile:

I can not imagine not getting swept these days…they’re on it anymore.

Love this! Good luck! And I’m sure you know you’ll have a lot of support in the forum during your training!

She may have been trying to PR but she missed tequila and selfies!

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I don’t run, but I’m so glad I saw this thread :rofl:

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No one has posted in awhile so I’ll update with the fact I’ve booked my room at POFQ already for Marathon Weekend. Several friends have booked DVC rooms at AKL & Boardwalk already as well. Now just waiting for RunDisney to announce registration dates. With all the comments about registering for Dopey 2023 I’ve seen, I expect it to sell out fast!