Submitted by Tony Conticello @RunDisney 56
The Inaugural Disney Tower of Terror 10 Miler took place on Saturday September 29, 2012. While this was considered the “Inaugural” race, Disney actually had a prior Tower of Terror 13k race, which was discontinued in 2009. Over 11,000 people registered to race this event, which begins at Disney’s Hollywood Studio, weaves 10 miles through Walt Disney World, ESPN Wide World of Sports and then back to Hollywood Studio’s for a finish in front of the Tower of Terror ride.
For me, Saturday began for me at 5:30am. For the past week my family and I had been sailing on an Eastern Caribbean cruise aboard Disney’s new flagship’s boat the Fantasy! As I looked out of my cabin’s window I could see the Cocoa Beach shoreline that would lead us back into Port Canaveral and back to land. We gathered our remaining items, had a quick breakfast, said goodbye to all wonderful memories and walked the gangplank back to reality. Luckily for us "reality" meant another trip to Walt Disney World so that we could race the Tower of Terror 10 Miler!￼
Within a few hours of disembarking we were at the ESPN Wide World of Sports picking up our racing bibs and packets and checking out the Expo. The energy inside the expo was building for the evening’s race, and a lot of people were coming in from the kid’s races that had just finished. We saw a lot of medals being worn from the 5k race early in the morning. We took in the sites, looked at all the Disney medals, listened to Jeff Galloway talk for a few minutes, then snapped a few pictures before heading over to the hotel. After checking in and grabbing a bite to eat, it was time to set out our clothes and draw signs for the meet up before heading over to the starting area. I spent the rest of my free time tweeting some #RUN3rd dedications and coordinating the meet ups for later that evening.
At 7:30pm we left our room and took a quick bus ride from our Disney hotel to the Tower of Terror race’s staging area. There were racers and their friends and family heading in all directions, but we headed straight over to the pre-arranged meeting area by the stage. Our meet up was a joint meet up of members from the Pacebook Running Club and #RUN3rd, and a few members were already waiting for us. The place was filling up quickly and lots of racers were dressed in costumes, most of them Disney themed. The DJ was playing great music and had a huge number of people were dancing by the stage. This made finding all of our members a bit difficult, but we managed to track down most everyone and get a combined pre-race #RUN3rd and PbRC group picture (see above).
All racers needed to be in their corrals by 9:00pm, so we exchanged hugs and good wishes and then headed to our respective corrals. We were lucky enough to get into Corral A, which meant we were the first wave off after the Wheel Chair racers! As is normal with all Run Disney races, the race began with a flash of fireworks. Temperatures just before the start appeared to cool down a bit from the stifling midday heat, but once the race started, the heat combined with the humidity and the nearly 11,000 racers made the race feel like a sauna. I wasn’t sure if it was my 8 days aboard the Disney’s Fantasy where I ran up and down the stairs all day, or the 5k I raced with my daughter the day before on Disney’s Castaway Cay, or what it was, but within the first 3 miles my legs were noticeably tired and I had 7 more to go! My saving grace was that Disney is noted for having characters throughout the race and I planned on taking as many pictures with them as possible! I ran as much as possible, but walked through the water areas, stopped for character pictures and even created a few of my own picture stops.
With a little encouragement of my racing friend Derek, I finished the race strong and ran the last mile in! Then it was time to celebrate the race, my accomplishments and enjoy Hollywood Studios. I changed out of my race clothes, cleaned up and then coordinated a meet up with my wife and a few friends.
Before long it was time for our 1:30am Post-Race meet up. While the heat and humidity took its toll on some people, over 80% of the people registered actually finished the race. Several #RUN3rd and PbRC members showed up for the post race meet up and picture. Those of us who remained afterward had a blast until 4am in the morning riding Disney rides, including the Tower of Terror, Rockin’ Rollercoaster, and Toy Story Mania.
Endurance races, while being individual events, unite us in a common purpose and with common goals: to achieve, to finish, to overcome, and to succeed. The Disney’s Tower of Terror 10 miler was a true endurance event. I feel privileged that I was selected to be a Team Captain for #RUN3rd and that I was able to connect with many runners and listen to their stories of why they race, what compels them to reach that finish line and overcome extreme conditions in order to feel satisfied with their race accomplishments. We all have become part of #RUN3rd for our own reasons, but we come together to celebrate our achievements.
#RUN3rd Members – I RAN THE TOWER OF TERROR 10 MILER FOR MY THREE DAUGHTERS!!!