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The Inaugural Port Orleans Riverside 1/2 Marathon | Guest Post

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You know, sometimes life happens.

Yes, I’m talking about the canceled runDisney Walt Disney World Half Marathon weekend. In case you weren’t aware, the race had to be called due to lightning storms in the area. To keep runners safe, the entire race was called off.


My luggage tag Donald medal. That’s about all I earned on Saturday.

But we were at Disney World, so of course, we had choices on that day. Hit the parks, sleep in, see a movie, shop at Disney Springs… or hey, maybe run 13.1 miles around the resort anyway?

Sure- why not! Social media was lit up with the reports of the DIY half marathons happening all over property.

That’s what makes the runDisney community a very cool place to hang out.

This is the first of such stories coming from that day. I’m hoping to share a few more over the next week or so.

You ever meet someone online that you just adore from the first tweet?

That’s how I felt about my friend, Jesse James, aka @loudgayamerica on Twitter. We’ve run into each other a few times on the race course and I’ve followed his travels to Paris and back.

This weekend he was at Walt Disney World for the Dopey Challenge, and like many of the runDisney runners, he hated hearing that the half was canceled. (BTW, I wasn’t one of them! I took that extra sleep and “ran” with it).

Jesse, however, got out there and ran his 13.1 miles around Port Orleans Riverside. Here’s his story.

The Inaugural Port Orleans Riverside 1/2 Marathon

by Jesse James

I came to Florida with my husband and a friend to run the Dopey Challenge.

Obviously, we were disappointed when we found out the 1/2 had been canceled but agreed safety is a good a reason as any.

We woke up on Saturday resolved to enjoy ourselves on our unscheduled rain day, maybe see a movie (Moana anyone?), and rest up for the full marathon on Sunday.

That plan lasted about as long as opening our hotel room door, sometime around 10:30. Faint cheers and applause were coming down the path, and it didn’t take much time at all before we encountered our first runners, gamely jogging past with their race shirts and bibs on. That was all it took to send us back to our room to fetch our running shoes.

Peer pressure is real, kiddos.

Coming to Florida we never intended to participate in the inaugural Port Orleans Riverside 1/2 Marathon, but we’re glad we did. Families came out of their rooms and lined the river to cheer runners on, people took time out of their trip to set up impromptu water (and beer!) stops, and the energy each runner gave off as they zig-zagged and looped around the resort, banging out their 13, was infectious and like nothing I’ve ever experienced at a running event (RunDisney or otherwise).

That shiny Dopey medal on Sunday was earned and will assume a special place in my treasure hoard.

Also, if Disney is looking for any new race ideas, a beer stop at mile 12.5 or a loop along the Sassagoula wouldn’t be a bad place to start.

I’ll drink to that! Congrats, Jesse, you big Dopey! 

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Thursday 12th of January 2017

That's so cool! I think I remember hearing something similar happening for the NYC marathon when it was cancelled after the hurricane a few years ago. Great job Jesse for going out there and getting 13.1 miles!