I was mostly excited about this event (the other emotion was nervousness). For one, it s kind of a goal to do one of every runDisney event at some point. For another, this would be my first serious challenge, incorporating a 10K and a half marathon back-t0-back. There was a lot of build up, both in training and preparation. Not only did my buddy, Steph, and I have to work on the actual miles, but we had to figure out our costumes, and then go one step further and ready ourselves for the trip and hotel stay. Racecations are a blast, but it s a lot, making sure all the fuel and socks and accessories are packed and charged and ready to go. Forgetting things isn t the end of the world, especially in an area like Orlando, but it does create extra stress and it s best to pack thoroughly and avoid all that extra static. We were ready!
On the Friday before the races, after all the kids were off to school, Steph picked me up for the trek to Orlando. It was an easy drive and we pulled into Walt Disney World in the late morning.
The plan was to go directly to the ESPNWide World of Sports to pick up our packets and visit the Expo, before heading to the All-Star Sports Resort to see if a room was ready for us to check in.
There had been rumors about the insanity of the Expo circulating around the internet. Packet pickup and vendors opened on Thursday and apparently, the lines were out of control, shoppers were rude and aggressive and people were making off with bags of purses, shoes and product. I was a little nervous about it, because I despise crowds, and also because I didn t want to deal with any shenanigans. Luckily, we parked easily and walked right into the nearly empty packet pick up area to get our bibs and shirts.
Before we left the area, we were also able to purchase an advance package with MarathonFoto. For the last few runDisney events I ve done, runners could purchase a $100 MarathonFoto credit for $75. Since a CD or download of digital images costs in the vicinity of $70, it was always a good deal. The customer service rep also informed us that there would be a Glass Slipper Challenge package, which would combine all photos from both races, so it was a no-brainer. The merchandise and vendor portion of the Expo was located in another building and we made our way over.
The scene here was a bit different.
It was just a wee bit overwhelming. We didn t have much shopping to do, so we kind of clung to the outskirts of the crowd. I really wanted an I Did It shirt with the 19.3 mile distance on it and Steph wanted that and a magnet. While a lot of the official event merchandise was picked clean, there were plenty of both of those (although the shirts were supervised by cast members inventory was folded on shelves behind a table. One shirt of each size and style was out on display, but then you had to request your item from the CM). We both walked away with exactly what we wanted. And some fun pictures, too.
After all that, we were starving, so we opted for lunch at the little grill attached to the convention center. It was fine for a quick burger and some water. The weekend s weather was going to be warm, so we wanted to make sure we continued to keep our hydration on point.
We were pleasantly surprised to be able to check right into our room at the resort, too. While the value resorts at Disney aren t the most luxurious, we got a great rate (only $10 more than the off-site place we normally select) and it was worth it for us to be able to use the shuttle system for the races in the mornings. We took a moment to freshen up and then it was off to Epcot for a wander around and dinner.
For whatever reason, we were both really tired, and after a couple of rides, we decided we just wanted to see some characters and people watch before our reservation at Via Napoli. We knew we had to be up the next morning in time to make a 3:30AM shuttle and shutting it down early was on our minds.
Oh, and snacks. We thought about snacks.
At dinner, we shared arancini and a small Neapolitan pizza, and we each had a glass of red wine. And then we hightailed it back to the resort to get our things sorted and get ready for bed.
It was looking to be a phenomenal weekend.
Have you ever run any big race challenges?
What kinds of things to you purchase from huge race expos like this one?
There s a story in yes, you ve guessed it right again the Bristol Post, in large print and with a headline to really make us all angry. It reads: Beggar who claimed to be homeless ex-Para had a flat around the corner and had never been in Army. A recovering drug addict and alcoholic called Stewart Fenton (39) was prosecuted for fraud by false representation by begging for money whilst pretending to be a homeless ex Para. It turned out he lived on benefits in a bedsit. The presiding magistrate Anna Blackmore told Fenton: You used emotional blackmail for your own personal gain. I sentence you to death by hanging. The courtroom exploded into riotous applause as Ms Blackmore put on her cap. Send him to the gallows. All right, I made up the last bit about Mr Fenton being sent to the gallows, but doubtless the Bristol Post s top journalist The Bristol Post (he really gets about, doesn t he?) would have preferred it if he had been. I ll bet Mr Fenton s bedsit was probably not comparable to the accommodation you might find in, say Princess Victoria Street in Clifton. I doubt whether Mr Fenton enjoyed fine dining, regardless of his begging activities. He was a drug addict, an alcoholic. These are both clues as to where his ill gotten gains were going. This was probably not a luxurious lifestyle with a long term future.
A former Grenadier guard, one Nicholas Hayman, felt sorry for Mr Fenton and gave him 25 and took the story to a national news agency to publicise Mr Fenton s plight. Then Mr Hayman found out that Mr Fenton had never been in the armed services. He said: I feel that Mr Fenton not only duped me but other members of the public. The only reason I can see he did it was for money. He was quite clever in researching the Seventh Parachute Regiment and Operation Telic. He was a fraudster and he has brought the good name of the Army into disrepute, and taken away the general public sympathy for homeless ex-servicemen. He should be ashamed of what he has done.
I have no wish to disparage Mr Hayman s good name, but hang on a minute. Of course, Mr Fenton duped people. Of course, he only did it for the money. (He was a drug addict and alcoholic. There s a bit of a clue.) And last and very much worst he was a fraudster who brought the good name of the Army into disrepute, and taken away general public sympathy for homeless ex-servicemen. He should be ashamed of what he has done. Yes, he was a fraudster, but at a very low level. We are not talking Nick Leeson, Robert Maxwell or any of those thieving bankers from the late 2000s who brought the world economy to its knees. He has patently NOT brought the good name of the Army into disrepute. I think it is a national disgrace and a national scandal that there are so many ex-servicemen on the streets. Mr Fenton s actions were wrong, but they do nothing to change my anger that we still allow people who served this country with distinction rot on the streets. That s the fault of politicians, not people like Mr Fenton. And he probably is ashamed. The Post says he is a dad of two , but he lives alone in a bedsit. He has addictions, he felt the only way he could make some money was to beg. He s not going to feel proud of that, is he? Put yourself in his shoes, for God s sake. An angel he might not be, but he s a human being who made a bad choice. Hands up anyone who never did that? The wheels of justice started turning at full speed today when Mr Fenton was given a criminal record. A 16 week prison sentence, albeit suspended, a 16 week night curfew; plus he was ordered to pay 25 compensation to Mr Hayman, 85 in court costs and an 80 victim surcharge, whatever that is. That, for a man in pretty desperate circumstances, is a heavy price to pay and now that he has that criminal record, he will find it hard to work again for the foreseeable future.
Oh yes, he did wrong. He committed a very crime and has now been punished in full glare of a pompous local media and doubtless the vermin of the national press will pile in on Mr Fenton on the next few days. That will help him return to a better place, no doubt. Still, it s a good story, isn t it? I m not condoning Mr Fenton, I m really not. He s done something he should not have done. I know that we cannot always excuse wrongdoing because of extenuating circumstances, but come on. My guess is that the man s life was a mess and now it s an even bigger mess. I really hope he makes a full recovery from the demons that appear to have inflicted a miserable existence on this wretched man and that our law, order and justice establishments can seek to find better and more proportionate ways to deal with crime. To repeat what the magistrate Anna Blackmore told Mr Fenton: You used emotional blackmail for your own personal gain, as if he was some kind of criminal mastermind, setting himself up for a life of luxury in the Cayman Islands, rather than a small bedsit in Weston. This was minor, petty crime and I suppose if we are imposing zero tolerance, these things will happen. It would be nice if such zero tolerance was applied to the real criminals in our society. But they don t make such good stories, do they?
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons / The Baptism of Pocahontas
- Historical event
- 21 March 1617
- In England, Pocahontas even met King James I, and participated in ceremonies in the royal palace at Whitehall. She died suddenly in England, at the age of only 22.
On this day in 1617, Native American princess Pocahontas was buried in England. Her life story is very unusual because it combines a childhood spent among Native Americans, a marriage with an English immigrant, and even attending ceremonies at the royal court in London.
Pocahontas was the daughter of Chief Powhatan, whose tribe lived on the territory of what is now Virginia. The English captured Pocahontas when she was around 18 years old. She was baptized during her time in captivity, and received the name Rebecca. In 1614 she married the English colonist John Rolfe, and had a son with him, named Thomas Rolfe. The marriage between Pocahontas and John Rolfe was allegedly the first recorded mixed-race marriage in North America.
As Rolfe s wife, Pocahontas bore the name Rebecca Rolfe. Together with her husband and son, she set sail for England in 1616. There she even met King James I, and participated in ceremonies in the royal palace at Whitehall. Pocahontas died suddenly in England, at the age of only 22, most likely of some infectious disease. She was buried next to the St. George s Church in Gravesend, precisely on this day in 1617. The town of Gravesend lies on the River Thames, between London and the Thames estuary.