I have been a little sick the past few days, so I’m writing this recap later than anticipated. I ran Disney’s Tower of Terror 10-miler the evening of September 29, 2012. That morning, I ran the Happy Haunted 5K Trail Run, and I spent the afternoon resting and hydrating. This was my first long-distance Disney race, and my first race longer than a 10K.
The buses to the race from host resorts started at 7 p.m., and I was on the first bus at 6:45. At 7 it departed and we were driven directly to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Everyone was gathered in the parking lot, and there were food trucks, an emcee, picnic tables, bag check, and lots of porta-potties. I met up with a group of Running of the Ears members, and was able to meet a lot of them for the first time.
I had a costume planned and although I had already done a trial run in it, I decided that I didn’t want to bother with it during the race. It was feeling rather hot and humid and I was getting nervous and didn’t want to bother with it. I put all of the costume accessories into my clear runDisney bag and dropped it off at bag check.
At 8:30 I decided to head over to the porta-potties. The lines were ridiculously long. We were told by a runDisney employee that there were porta-potties inside our corrals we could use, and the lines were very short. She said “I know you all think that you have to stay in your corral, but that’s not true. You can come and go until we tell you to stay put.” So I headed over to Corral C, used the potty, and then went back to meet with the ROTErs. A volunteer stationed at the front of my corral had a big problem with all of us trying to leave (to the point that he was trying to physically block us from leaving), but I left anyways. Right hand, meet left hand.
Around 9:15, we heard the emcee tell us to get into our corrals. So I headed back to C and sat down near the front with two ROTErs, Cathy & Nicole. Eventually they had us file out in order. It was a fairly long walk to the race start location, which was at the main toll booth at the entrance to DHS. As we were all lined up, dozens of runners (sometimes groups of 8 or 10 all in matching costumes) who were supposed to be in Corrals A & B kept weaving their way through us to try to get up into their corrals. I’m not sure how they ended up in the wrong place, but there were rows of volunteers at the front of each corral holding a banner across, so these misplaced runners had a tough time getting to their corrals. I didn’t necessarily mind but it was rather annoying.
I noticed a large group of ROTErs at the back of Corral B. So close, yet so far away! It took a long time for the runners to get going once their corral started because everyone had to funnel through one small “start” chute. Since I was at the front of my corral, I was able to start running the minute the corral started.
Here’s my video of the start of Corral A:
We had to run up an overpass very soon after starting, then we ran on Osceola Parkway all the way to the Animal Kingdom parking lot. We turned around and ran all the way back, then turned off the road onto a gravel path leading to ESPN WWoS. I noticed that the pirate ship was out and realized we were running the same path as the 5K that morning, only this time it was dry. It was very narrow through the woods and I often had to walk just because of the crowding. We got out into the open, past the Josten Center, and into the baseball stadium at the 10K mark. Apparently there was some sort of theming in there (having to do with baseball uniforms on the ground) but I didn’t see anything. I did see spectators with signs (my favorite said, “worst parade ever!”).
About this time I started getting really thirsty. Although I had taken water at each water stop, the water stops were at about each mile and a half. It was very humid out and people were getting sick and slowing down all over the place (an ambulance had come through even before the second mile marker). Some of the volunteers at the water stations were unable to keep cups filled, and I got handed an empty cup one time and had to go back.
We ran around the track (just like in the 5K) and then exited the WWoS complex. I started getting frustrated every time I saw a group of volunteers and realized as I got closer that they weren’t handing out water; rather, they were just chEARing. I appreciate the chEARs, but at the time I just wanted water. At the next water stop I took an entire liter bottle of water and walked with it for almost a mile. I drank about half of it, before leaving it and starting to run again. I passed a medical tent and noticed they were handing out biofreeze. I decided to take some for my neck at the next medical tent, to help cool me down.
We ran down the same overpass we first ran up, and entered Hollywood Studios. We ran through the Lights, Motors, Action! stadium, and then through some of the backlot tour area. I loved running through the Streets of America, and couldn’t help but get excited for the Wine and Dine Half Marathon, which will run through when the Osborne Christmas Lights are working. We ran past a park smoking area, and people were actually there smoking. I was rather annoyed; couldn’t they use another smoking area? It’s not like the thousands of runners running past you need to breathe or anything.
We ran past the Sorceror’s Hat, and I looked up and thought of my friend Janice (long story). On the other side of the hat we turned and ran through Pixar Place and entered an area of the backlot tour again. When we ran through the costume department, I slowed down and took my time, looking at everything and snapping a few pictures. I wish I could’ve stayed in there longer.
I was running behind some buildings and past a parking garage when I turned a corner and realized that I was at the finish line! It kindof snuck up on me. It was confusing and not very well lit, but I could see the Tower of Terror to my right. After I crossed the finish line, I walked for a while until I saw someone handing out finisher’s medals. I took mine, and then kept walking. It was long, dark, and confusing, but I found water and snack boxes. After snaking behind the Tower, there was a big medical area set up at the Fantasmic! area. I grabbed some bags of ice and walked down the Fantasmic! line to the exit.
The bag check was on the other side of the park, in the Indian Jones stunt show theatre. Although a lot of runners complained about that, I liked it. It gave the runners a chance to walk on their tired legs and it kept the crowd levels down over by the finish line.
Along the course, each mile marker had a picture of a villain and that villain’s music was playing. Other than that, there were very few characters along the course and no course entertainment. It was a rather boring course, for Disney. The characters present were: Hyenas from Lion King, Dr. Facilier from Princess and the Frog, Stitch, the Haunted Mansion gravediggers, and I noticed Hook by the Toy Story Mania ride. I am not sure if the heat had something to do with it. All in all, the lack of on-course entertainment was very disappointing for me.
I was also disappointed in the after party, the Villains Hollywood Bash. I didn’t see any villains, but the Captain Hook I saw might have been one of them. I was hoping for a good picture with Maleficent and other awesome villains, but I didn’t see them.
Although this race was a disappointment to me, I did enjoy running it, and I will probably be back next year. Since this was an inaugural race, I have a chance at “perfect” status by running each one every year.
All of my photos from this race can be found here: http://theresheruns.shutterfly.com/pictures/69