Same runDisney Marathon, different course

The runDisney Walt Disney World Marathon 2020 has come and gone! It is my favorite time of year because it’s my favorite distance to run and I get to see ALL of my favorite people!! I was more excited about this year because the course was completely different so I couldn’t wait to run it.

The expo was fun because I was holding a giveaway as I have done in the past. I was giving away some Endure Jewelry running goodies! And I was hanging around the KT Tape booth helping out with questions and taping tips.


Alpha was coming back to run after not running for many years! I was thrilled about that. He was running the race to keep me safe 😉 Our wake up call was at 1:30 a.m. to be at the corrals by 3:30 a.m. because the race was starting at 5. Since it takes a lot of taping up time for me I needed to tape up with calmness and not be rushed.

We headed to the corrals and waited. Due to some issues with buses, we almost started at 5:30 anyhow. The temps were uncomfortably warm with 100% humidity at the start. I have ran the marathon for the past 6 years and this time everyone was super quiet at the start. Normally, people would talk, sing and dance along with the DJ. But this year, nothing. I smelled trouble.

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When we started it was the same as any other runDisney marathon. We had plenty of room, runners were going at their trained pace, it was all flowing. I was pumped because I had trained SO HARD. This course has us going into Epcot, then out towards the start and back out towards Magic Kingdom.

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I was still feeling OK as I approached MK. Was doing much better than last year. I saw my chEAR squad, took a few pictures and took off. The sun was starting to rise. Then I started to not feel so well. The humidity, the heat, and now the sun. runDisney had warned us over and over, to hydrate and there were more hydration stops than usual. We did stop for water at every stop. I had my body armour bottles with me.



As we were approaching the half point, my face started to go numb. I knew that was trouble. That is one of my symptoms for a bad migraine. A blind eye follows that along with getting sick to my stomach. I needed a coca cola asap. That usually saves me. But I had already passed me chEAR squad and wouldn’t see them until mile 23. I see my friend Matthew who did everything possible to try to help me and I so grateful for him. But I kept moving along. Down the way, I spot my friend Brandi and I have never yelled a name so loud and begged her to have coke and she did! She saved me more than she knew.


This is @funnerrunner who was there with perfect timing and perfect words. She means the world to me.

I started to feel better almost immediately. I had my medications on me so I took them. The temps kept getting hotter. Yes, I live here in Orlando, I am used to the hot weather, but I don’t run in it. It was starting to suck. Next was Animal Kingdom. I know this park well, it had lots of shade so I knew we had a bit of break from the sun. But My mind was extremely loud. I had a lot going on, I started to have an anxiety attack. Alpha noticed, gave me a quick Military pep talk. We talk a lot in Military form. It helps me.

Through ALL the sweat and humidity, our KT Tape stayed on and kept knees, legs, my ribs and lower back pain under control.

Now we were making our way to Blizzard Beach! Yay! I was back on track and so ready to see this new part of the course! We are heading towards it and I see it’s another straight away(just like going to ESPN WWOS) I thought we would’ve avoided this. Now the sun was completely out and facing us looking down at us cheering us on. At this point almost everyone was walking and we had seen many people drop and pass out. Medics were ALL over the place and ambulances were riding back and forth and people were getting treated in the grass. Very scary to see. As we made out way into Blizzard Beach, the pathway was super narrow, everyone was walking and took up the whole path. I was a little annoyed. You can hear people screaming, “Come on people! Runners to the left, walkers tot he right!” Since I am little, I just say excuse me, and sneaked though small gaps. But it was tough to do so in there. We were forced to walk so I didn’t like it.

Once we were back on the street we noticed there wasn’t a hoard of people anymore and got concerned. Then I received a text saying they cut the course short due to the high temps. The hoards of people where coming in on the left and that was A LOT of people.(They didn’t get to go through Blizzard they lost almost 2 miles of distance) It was a big mess because we were running and I’d say 90% of everyone else was not. We made out of Hollywood Studios and saw our chEAR squad again!

At this point is where Alpha didn’t feel well. The heat was getting to him and we had stopped at EVERY hydration stop.

All we had left was 3.2 miles! Woohoo!!! We were soooooo ready to finish. We were drenched in sweat. Alpha’s shirt was a light grey. You can see in the photos, it looked dark grey. But making it into the boardwalk, same issue…..everyone was walking. Again, I had to sneak my way into gaps and excuse my way through.

Where and how do I run here?!?!?

Once it opened up, we ran! We also were running through Epcot until we couldn’t anymore due to the crowds. Then my face started to go numb again and my back was killing me so much and the course had taken a different turn and my mind started to get loud again. I knew we were 1.2 miles away but my mind was running wild! Then one of my dear warrior friends came up from behind me and stopped everything! It’s amazing when you ask the universe for help, it responds!

I love this woman! We were literally passing mile 26 during this photo. She helped me sooo much!

Then we came across the finish line as the infamous Carissa Galloway said my name and what I battle through. It was done! We had done it. The heat, my migraines, my Scoliosis, my fibromyalgia, my anxiety didn’t win….I did!!!!!


Alpha did get heat exhaustion from the weather, as we tried walking to the car, he kept feeling worse and worse so he was taken to the medical tent. But later than night he was better. He was amazing and needed him every step of the way!

Team Dark Side
I have no words for how amazing these people are. They have never stopped believing in me and cheered me on the entire race. THANK YOU



7 responses to “Same runDisney Marathon, different course”

  1. Movin' it with Michelle Avatar

    Way to go my friend. So proud of you!!

    1. Empire Unleashed Avatar
      Empire Unleashed

      Thank you! 😘

  2. Janelle Avatar

    Congrats!!! Awesome job!!

    1. Empire Unleashed Avatar
      Empire Unleashed

      Thank you!

  3. Eric zink Avatar
    Eric zink

    I also thought is was very quiet in the starting corrals. Almost as if something was wrong. I was very upset about the closing of blizzard beach. Looks like I missed it by a few minutes. While in Animal kingdom I knew I was running my last marathon. But hear I sit waiting for registration to open for next year🤣🤦‍♂️

  4. Jacqueline Avatar

    Always enjoy reading how you persevere through challenges! Way to go!!! One year I may come down and try it.

    1. Empire Unleashed Avatar
      Empire Unleashed

      Thank you! You should. It’s a memorable experience!

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