HeyZeus.org : Personal Blog of Zeus

Mandy Running the Disney Marathon and Our Funny Marthon Signs

Well for the past 6 months Mandy has been waking up between 4:30am and 6:30am to run from 3-22 miles, a training schedule she was provided by the Burnam Institute.   This is the group that she raised over $2,500 which is dedicated to revealing the fundamental molecular causes of disease and devising the innovative therapies of tomorrow.   Total they raised over $125,000 for medical research and awareness!!

Over the course of 6 months, I have watched and supported her run the Nona 5k, OUC Half, Jacksonville Half and now the Disney Marathon.  I have a whole new respect for the running culture and the dedication involved.  Luckily she had an amazing and dedicated running partner Jennifer Thompson.  Jennifer motivated Mandy and Mandy motivated her, they are a strong team and both first time marathon runners!

So, this weekend was the Disney Marathon and I wanted to tell you a little about my side of this Sunday’s experience.  I’ve already told you about details from other races.   Sunday was the big race, and Mandy had been staying with Team Burnam since Friday over in the Disney Area.  I had the house to myself to prepare for whatever came, with Saturday cleaning the house top to bottom; bathrooms, vacuuming, mopping, cleaning the kitchen, unloading dishwasher, cleaning dog slobber from windows AND washing the dogs, vacuuming and washing two cars by hand, taking down Christmas decorations, grocery shopping, and buying lots of flowers for Mandy’s homecoming!  It was a hell of a day with little sleep the night before.  That Saturday I also went to the Office Max to buy some poster boards for funny signs for the race.  I didn’t want Mandy to come home to a messy house not that she would have cared because of how tired she was.

Race day came and I was up by 5:15am.   Not as early as Gavin and Dawn whom watched the runners take off, which I’m sure is really awe inspiring.  I picked up David (Jennifer’s husband) at his house and we were on Disney property by 6:20am.  We were fairly prepared packed with our signs, towels and water for the girls, Publix chicken wings as a snack, cameras, and a map.

The shotgun was at 5:50am and they left in three large groups.   There were over 21,000 runners and first place was Brazilian Adriano Bastos finishing in 2:20:38.  Mandy and Jenn were in the third group and were quite frustrated at the slow place of the start.  I was told most people were walking because it was so congested.  They first entered into Epcot and looped around back out of the park to mile 4.  Dave and I were shooting to meet them at mile 4 but were concerned when we had to park at the Transportation and Ticket Center and take the monorail to Epcot.  After arriving at Epcot and seeing the mobs of people we decided to skip mile 4 and wait for the girls at mile 9 back at Transportation and Ticket Center.  We still debate if we could have seen them at mile 4, but the number of people was overwhelming and we wanted to be sure we saw them at mile 9.  Ironically Jenn had her cell phone on her and as we were driving up she was on the phone with Dave (this was where she was walking at the beginning).  We were able to communicate easily with her via text messages and that made things so much better!!  We were also tracking the girls based on what they have run in the past, and via a text messaging service Disney was providing that was tracked via their ChampionChip (although the text was delayed about 10-20 minutes, but it helped us judge mile average.

Our first text was directly form Jenn saying she was passing mile 6.  We patiently waited at mile 9, setup camp on the less crowded side and started holding our signs, supporting all the other runners passing by and getting lots of laughs and comments.  Here we saw the first pace setter setting a 5 hour pace, then the 5:30 pace (this will be important later).  So Dave’s first sign is the one pictured below, we got a few comments like, “Aww that’s not nice,” and “Can I buy the medal off you?”

Dave’s first sign

Then we spotted Jenn, she stopped had a full conversation with us, and flexed her muscles.  Later came Mandy and I was so excited to see her that I forgot to take photos or video.

I held this sign below, I got comments from, “that’s the best sign yet,” to, “you’re totally right.”

Zeus’ first sign

After seeing the girls at mile 9, we walked over to mile 12 in front of the Polynesian Hotel.  We patiently waited for the girls with our next set of signs:

Dave’s next sign
Zeus’ next sign

From here we decided to go to somewhere between mile 15 and 25.  We found the best spot in front of Disney Hollywood Studios between mile 23 and 24.  Here we had a good time frame of when Jenn would be here, but didn’t expect to wait for so long for Mandy, which we later found out after mile 13 started to have major pain on her right knee (she walked every water station and even had to glide her feet cause of the rubbing from her special socks.   This next sign was one we came up with last minute.  I got a couple comments saying, “So True!” and  “You’re very right!”

Zeus’ last sign

AND the best sign and the one with the most comments and laughs!  The comments here were non stop!  Mostly were, “You better not be lying.” With our response, “Would we lie to you?”  We also got, “Really?”  and then they would run faster.  We started adding our own comments like, “Mickey & Minnie are serving Ice Cold Beer!”  It was really funny and you can see some more comments from the video below.

Dave’s last sign

Our dirtiest sign, which was never used because we didn’t want to offend anyone and (I heard from Mandy and Jenn that this happens on long races, and they did smell something poo-ish Sunday).

Was never used.

Video Responses from our Free Beer Sign:

Video Montage of Mandy finishing and photos.

This was an incredible event, and extremely emotional, the energy throughout the race of people cheering runners on and runners pushing themselves was incredible.  It was very touching to have anyone and cheer on runners throughout the race.  I want to say I’m so proud of the girls and accomplishing such a challenging task.  I also want to thank people for donating.  Brian Hess especially!!