Two weekends ago I volunteered at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – that includes a 5K, kid races, half marathon and a full marathon (people that do both the half and full marathon are doing what they call the “Goofy Challenge.)
Last year, Jeff and I signed up to help out at the expo and also to be apart of the cheering squad at Animal Kingdom. That was a lot of fun to see people so close to being done with the marathon, but still a ways to go.
This year was totally different. Jeff didn’t want any early mornings, so he didn’t join me. I was signed up to volunteer with a couple of people I’d only ever talked to on Twitter – Aurora and James. Thankfully we all had fun! And it’s always good to meet new people
On Saturday, I picked them up at 1 AM – yep – and we headed over to Downtown Disney to check in and catch the bus to Epcot. We went over to our section for the weekend – medals!
From 2-3 AM we unloaded a crap ton of medals to hang on display (see our handiwork above.) After they were done we were set free until 6 AM…
Thankfully we knew people running the half marathon that morning, so we walked over to the starting area to see them. Lots of music, stretching and energy in the air!
We headed back and waited for the wheelchair racers to finish 0 they are some speed demons! Shortly after they finished the crowds started flooding in. It’s such an amazing feeling to be out there. So many emotions. So many people of different shapes, sizes, ages, everything – such a rush to see these people crossing off dreams on the life lists.
The next day, Sunday, started the same.
We got to spend some time by the starting area again. This time way more people were sitting than on Saturday.
We did get to witness first and second place come over the finish line. 2 hours and 21 minutes to run 26 miles?! Are you kidding me?!
At that point we still had quite a while before the main group of marathoners were due to cross the finish line. So we had some fun
We got to see some friends cross the finish line
One of the guys that did the Goofy Challenge completed it in full firefighter gear – tank, helmet and all.
Oh and we also got to see Joey Fatone finish the Goofy Challenge as well – after he stopped in Epcot for a beer…
It was so inspirational to get to medal a few of the “Perfects” – it’s a group of 95 people that have completed all 20 Walt Disney Wold marathons. They all got fancy rings and I got to check out Jeff Galloway’s on his hand after he finished.
Seeing so many people I knew and didn’t know cross the finish line was amazing!
So many finishers cried. So many looked like they were in pain. A few looked as though they were going to pass out.
I have never been hugged as hard in my life. I have also never wanted to cry tears of joy for people that I had never met.
I was kissed on the check a few times. I was sweaty hugged numerous times. I said congratulations to, what felt like, every finisher. I was cried to and on a couple of times.
One guy even said I was his favorite person ever – to which I told him he’d say that to the person handing out water next
It was a crazy, crazy weekend full of crazy hours and long days and I would do it all over again in a heart beat!
Congrats to all the finishers! And to you Goofy Challenge people…. You. Are. Nuts! In the best way!