I know a lot of people may question why I didn’t run one of the races in Disney World for my half marathon in Florida. Honestly, I purposefully didn’t choose a Disney race because the huge crowds at their races and super-early start did not appeal to me. I think Disney is fine for family vacations just not for a race, but I know plenty of people love their races so I may be in the minority on that one.
I ran the Naples Daily News Half Marathon in January 2007. I chose this race for my one in Florida for a couple of different reasons. At the time, my mother-in-law and step-father-in-law had recently bought a winter house in Naples and had invited us down for a visit. Also, we (my husband’s parents and my husband, daughter, and me) were all planning a vacation together in Hawaii the following fall and would be bringing our daughter who would be almost 2 when we flew to Hawaii. I wanted to see how she would do on an airplane before we flew all the way to Hawaii. Since this race was in January, it would be a nice respite from the cold weather where we lived. My verdict: the Naples Half Marathon is a fun, not overly-crowded race in a perfect location for those from colder climes looking for a break from winter weather.
For things to do, there’s the Naples Zoo, which is especially good if you have younger children; the Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, a fantastic place for viewing wildlife in the area; and if it’s warm enough there are some beautiful beaches. One of the best beaches is Loudermilk Beach with powder white sand, perfect for long walks after you’ve ran your race.
From my post-race notes:
“Ran through wealthy neighborhoods with huge multi-million dollar homes and had views of the water. Flat and nice. Good early start so didn’t get too hot. The short-sleeve technical shirt and medal were cute and of good quality. A clergyman at Trinity-by-the-Cove Episcopal Church was outside the church blessing runners passing by with holy water, which was quite interesting. My finish time was 2:01:09.”