Running a Walt Disney World Half Marathon…………
I will never ever profess to be an athlete or a runner. So I never ever thought that I would be crossing the finish line of a runDisney half marathon!! For the longest time, we held off from signing up for just that reason.
However, I am here to tell you: you definitely do not have to be an athlete to do a runDisney race!!!!
Our first experience with a runDisney race was the Princess 5k and that was a blast. I would recommend that anyone who is interested in doing a runDisney race start there!
You definitely don’t have to be a runner to enjoy these races! Basically, if you can walk around Epcot for the day at a pace faster than a stroll you can do a Disney 5k. After the 5k we were so excited about the runDisney races we decided to take the plunge and do a half marathon!
There is a great community of runDisney enthusiasts you can find on twitter @teamrundisney or find their facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/teamrundisney
Here are some tips for anyone who wants to runDisney based on my experience doing the Wine and Dine Half Marathon!
The distance of a half marathon (13.1 miles) seems like a daunting thing to train for, but rundisney.com (the official runDisney website) actually has a training plan for each race with specific dates and how many miles you should run/walk per day.
Their plan is broken down really simply so that the miles don’t seem so daunting. Here is an example for the upcoming princess half marathon. (It’s a 22 week training course and this is the first few weeks) basically just get out there and start walking/running!
The race weekend runs from Thursday Sunday with Thursday being the first day of the runDisney expo. The expo is where you pick up your race packet with your bib, t-shirt etc. Also there’s an entire convention hall where you can buy all kinds of runners merchandise like sneakers, runners belts, running skirts and much more!!
Definitely make some time to browse the booths, you might even score some freebies!
Race day starts early. The race starts at 5:30 am so buses run from 3:30am-4:30 am approximately. Once you get there, there are characters available to take pictures, but be prepared for the lines to be extremely long.
Also, definitely use the bathroom beforehand but be prepared for the waits to be really long for those too!! Once it gets to be about 5 am most runners will head to their corrals.
The start is a staggered start with the fastest runners starting first. Each start is about 5 minutes apart so that all the runners can get nice and spread apart.
We were in corral I and the last corral was L. We had about a 20 minute head start from the last corral. Many people worry about not being able to keep up with the 16 minute per mile pace requirement but in reality that requirement only really applies to the last people in the last corral.
I don’t run much so I ended up doing like 17 minute miles the whole race. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t train for 16 minute miles, it just helps to know that you won’t be pulled out of the race if you go slower than that as long as you aren’t at the very back of the pack.
We ran through Animal Kingdom, along the back roads by the Conservation Station, down World Drive (the road you take to get to the Magic Kingdom) and through Epcot.
Along the course there were some cool character photo ops, music, and some fun interactive entertainment.
My favorite was around mile 11 when the green army men kept us moving with some boot camp style motivation!
So if you possibly can I would definitely recommend doing a RunDisney race! Even if you can just do a 5k it is totally worth it and you will have some really awesome photos, a medal, a t-shirt, and (most importantly) bragging rights!!!
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