Fun Runnin' at Walt Disney World

Every year I attend a cybersecurity conference that this year was held at a resort at the Walt Disney World in Orlando and included a 5k fun run. When I hear “fun run,” I think more of the all-comers races of old, where you show up at a certain time and place and everyone runs a course. Very loose and freewheeling and free.

When I went to register and discovered this fun run was $30 and included a technical T-shirt, branded water bottle and plastic bag, course marshals, official start and finish line, professional timing and post-race medals and certificates, I was impressed. They even had awards for the top three male and female finishers. 

It was exceptionally hot in Orlando (though nothing like the heat and fires back home in California right now). The inaugural race drew about 70 participants and began at 6 a.m. (which felt like 3 a.m. to me) with 77 degrees and 100% humidity. It was still pitch black, but it’s Disney, so there were employees sprucing up the grounds before guests arrived several hours later. The course went along the boardwalk in Epcot twice with a 1-mile offshoot toward Hollywood Studies to make it a 3.1-mile course. 

I ran/walked with my friend the first mile-plus and then took off, falsely believing we were farther along the route than we were. But the initial easy pace gave me plenty of energy to start passing people until the very end. I managed to knock 4 minutes off my beach run 5k finish time just a few days prior.  The COO finished a few seconds ahead of me, so not too shabby. Looking at the results, I remain a resolute mid-packer.

It felt good to know going into the day’s keynotes and sessions that I’d had a great workout in America’s Happiest Place on Earth. Fifteen years ago I ran along this same path at the tail end of the Disney Marathon. It was nice to recreate that memory under very different circumstances, even if I came up waaaaay short this time around.


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