Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Meet-Up aka #winedinehalfmeetup

So I flew out, to this little ole place called Walt Disney World. Have you ever heard of it? I thought so…

I went with my friend, Kelly to run a half marathon. Yep, half marathon #2 within a month of my very first half marathon. I’m crazy like that. We went to WDW to run the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon. This was a special treat for me because 1. I’ve never been to Walt Disney World 2. I was going with a great friend 3. It was my second half marathon 4. It was a night run {awesome} and 5. It was my birthday the week after the race.

I was lucky enough to be invited to a runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Meet-Up the day before the actual race with some special guests. We got up super early that morning and left for the meet-up at 6am. Which in case you are wondering, with the 3-hour time difference, it was 3am my time. Yikes, it was early!

@according2kelly and @angryjulie in @runTeamSparkle Skirts for the @runDisney Wine and Dine Half Meet-Up at Epcot

Of course, we had to dress “the part” for the meet-up. Kelly as Snow White, and me as Minnie Mouse. We were both wearing skirts from Team Sparkle, of course.

runDisney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend Meet-Up. Photo courtesy of Disney.

Kelly and I got to meet-up with some other awesome runDisney runners like Rachel, Krissy, and Heather. I was super excited to meet Krissy because we had been talking {tweeting} online to each other for some time. Rachel was a big help during our meet-up run because she is a Disney World expert and told me all about Epcot while we ran throughout the park. I had met Heather the day before, so it was great to see a familiar face in the crowd.

runDisney Wine and Dine Half Meet-Up. Photo by runDisney.

Speaking of familiar faces….Mickey Mouse stopped by in his running gear. He came to hang out with the “runners” at the meet-up.

After everyone was gathered together, we were organized into two groups for our meet-up run 1. the super fast speedy types like Kelly, and 2. people who don’t run 7 minutes miles and did the run/walk/run method with special guest Jeff Galloway. You can probably guess which group I ran with? I had a great run/walk throughout Epcot with Rachel. She told me about Epcot and The Wine and Dine Festival going on throughout Epcot. Jeff Galloway led our group through Epcot with a run/walk ratio of 30:30, which means 30 seconds of running and 30 seconds of walking.

runDisney Wine and Dine Half Meet-Up. Photo by runDisney.

Mid-way through our run, we {group #2 with Jeff Galloway} stopped to take a group picture, and Mickey Mouse joined in for the fun!

runDisney Wine and Dine Half Meet-Up. Photo by runDisney.

After our run we ended up in Germany {at Epcot} to hear some great speakers. Bob Hitchcock {Mr. runDisney} gave us all a warm welcome and introduced the fabulous guests that were speaking at the event.

runDisney Wine and Dine Half Meet-Up. Photo by runDisney.

Then Faron Kelly {Director of Sports Marketing & Communications for WDW} spoke about “runDisney” actually only being around for two years and how it has evolved. He also spoke about working with Jeff Galloway {runDisney Training Consultant} and Tara Gidus {Official Nutritionist for runDisney}.

runDisney Wine and Dine Half Meet-Up. Photo by runDisney.

We then heard our next speaker, Jeff Galloway. Jeff spoke about nutrition before a race and especially before a “night” race which we were running the next day. He advised not to eat anything too heavy.  He also talked about his run/walk/run method and reducing injuries.

runDisney Wine and Dine Half Meet-Up. Photo by runDisney.

After hearing Jeff’s great training advice, we were introduced to Anton Van Zyl {2-time Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Winner}. Anton had just participated in the Ironman Kona prior to the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon which is amazing for an athlete. He spoke about eating potato chips as his favorite fuel during a race. He said he wasn’t going to win this race {2012 Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon} as he was going to “run it”. Ironically, the next night, he WON the 2012 Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon, and took 17 pictures along the way.

runDisney Wine and Dine Half Meet-Up. Photo by runDisney.

Speaking of food, and nutrition of course, Tara Gidus {Official Nutritionist for runDisney} spoke about proper nutrition for runners and not starving ourselves.  She spoke about those runners that complain about gaining weight while marathon training. She mentioned the fact that you are not giving your body enough nutrition and fuel and it is starving itself, hence the weight gain. She also spoke about eating something before an early morning run, and also eating after your run. She has some great nutrition tips on the runDisney website.

Chef Steff, The Sports Chef.

After all of this talk about running, food, and nutrition, I was starting to get hungry. We had some muffins and orange juice, but I was seriously craving some protein. Our next special guest was Chef Steff. Chef Steff talked about what and how we should be eating as athletes. I admit, I am a bit of a novice in this topic. I eat horribly most days, but I do try to get in the right amount of protein at least. I have little to no energy without enough protein in the morning. Chef Steff made his “Famous Spaghetti Pie” recipe and plates were handed out to everyone. I am the “pickiest eater in the World” seriously…and I loved this dish. I was so hungry and I could have eaten have the dish. I want to make this recipe soon! See picture above for recipe.

runDisney Wine and Dine Half Meet-Up. Photo by runDisney.

After hearing the awesome speakers, we went outside and took a group picture. It was a great way to start and finish the morning. And it made my race experience even more memorable, the day before the race.

runDisney Wine and Dine Half Meet-Up. Photo by runDisney.
Kelly and I had to give our friend, “Mickey Mouse” a little kiss goodbye after a fun morning!


It was so amazing and inspiring to meet everyone and talk about our running and runDisney race experiences. The 2012 Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon was my first runDisney event, and it won’t be my last either! I can’t wait to tell you all about running the half marathon, but I will save that experience for a later date.

I can’t say enough how awesome this meet-up was and a great big thanks to Bob Hitchcock, Faron Kelly, Darrell Fry, Tony Morreale,  Jeff Galloway, Tara Gidus, Anton Van Zyl, Chef Steff, & anyone else who was apart of making this incredible morning happen!

Do you want to read Wine Dine Meetup recaps from other #winedinehalfmeetup attendees? Check out these posts:

P.S.  If you attended the #winedinehalfmeetup and your blog post isn’t listed, let me know…I will add you!
*Do you want to attend the next runDisney race meetup? Pay extra special attention to the runDisney facebook page, runDisney twitter account, & disney parks blog a week or two before the next runDisney race. in the past, that’s where they’ve announced the meet-ups.

Disclosure: I was invited by runDisney to attend the entire event weekend as media – meaning they were kind enough to cover my hotel expenses at the fabulous boardwalk  inn, meals, and my race fees. All thoughts & opinions are 100% my own. The photographs used in this post are courtesy of runDisney. It was super awesome to be able to enjoy an event without trying to capture the “perfect” shots {photos} while being in the moment. 


Thanks for the shout out! So glad I got to meet you and I hope you enjoyed your time in my favorite place on earth!