Disney Half Marathon - A Cold Race
January 9, 2010: The 13.1-mile Disney Half Marathon, which began and ended at Epcot, had almost 23,000 registered runners. Many did not show, possibly due to the weather, but 17,099 runners finished the race despite rain, sleet, flurries and temperatures in the low 30s. The runners got a hint as to how cold it might be when it started raining about 15 minutes before the start. The combination of near freezing temperatures and rain can drain body heat rapidly. The rain stopped shortly after the first wave started the race, only to be followed by ice pellets. Winds gusting to over 15 miles per hour didn't help the runners retain heat either. The rain and ice pellets turned on and off as the race progressed, leaving runners wet and freezing. Most runners managed to handle the weather and complete the race, though blankets, jackets, and a warm car were welcome sites after the race for most of us.
Chad Johnson and Emily Mortensen, both of Rochester Hills, Mich., were the top men's and women's finishers as runners, while Mike Fradera of Lakeland won the wheelchair division in 50:04. Johnson won the half marathon for the second time, finishing in 1 hour, 7 minutes, 2 seconds to edge his Michigan running-club teammate, Sage Canaday, by 18 seconds.
Hunter Kemper of Longwood was fourth in 1:09:12.
Emily Mortensen (1:20:58), the women's winner won by almost a minute over Elizabeth Foster (1:21:52) of Ellington, Conn.
Other local top runners included Jon Williams of Miami who won the Men's Masters Division in 1:18:09 and Ramilya Burangulova of Gainesville who won the Women's Masters Division in 1:22:22. The oldest runner was George Braceland of Sanford, who won the 80 and over age group against 3 other competitors at the age of 81.
For complete results go to Disney Half Marathon 2010 Results.
A Personal Note: Races like this may be a bit difficult at the time, in spite of the fireworks, the excitement, and running through theme parks in the dark, but leave lasting memories for everyone involved. You don't soon forget freezing your tail off running through Cinderella's castle! In my case it was especially memorable, running side-by-side with my 18 year old daughter for the third year in a row. She may not have taken second in her age group like she did last year, but I will never forget her grabbing my hand and us running across the finish line together with our hands (and heads) held high.
Frank Norris. Copyright 2010 by Florida East Coast Runners. Reproduction or reprinting without written permission is illegal.
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