Written By: Patty Holliday
If you stick around my blog for a while you’ll quickly learn that I love racing at Disney.
What’s not to love, right?
I’ve put together a few tips for readers interested in running their first race at Walt Disney World or Disneyland.
- Pick your distance. The runDisney events cover distances for all levels of runners. There are 5ks (3.1 miles), 10Ks (6.2 miles), Half Marathons (13.1 miles) and even a Full Marathon (26.2 miles). All of the races will include running through one or more of the Disney parks. They even offer options for the kids from a diaper dash to a mile fun run! Every mile is indeed magical!
- Realize that ALL runDisney races sell out- and sell out fast! Your first training “run” will be a sprint to the registration website. In recent years the popularity of runDisney means that races will sell out in minutes. It’s important to be familiar with the runDisney registration schedule by following along with rundisney.com or @rundisney on Twitter.
- Running Disney is NOT cheap. The races, the resorts, the food, the park tickets (no, they are not included in race registration!) will quickly add up to an expensive racecation. I’d suggest budgeting and planning in advance so your pixie dusted trip doesn’t come as a shock to the ol’ Disney Visa!
- There are pace requirements. Since the Disney Parks will need to open up to non-running guests at normal business operating hours, the roads and parks must be cleared of runners. A generous 16 minute mile pace must be kept in order to remain on the course. Any runner falling behind that pace will be removed from the course at certain points referred to as “sweep” points.
To help runners out, pacers carrying balloons, known as the Balloon Ladies, will be a visual cue as to when you are in danger of being swept. If you see them pass you, you are in danger of being removed from the course.
- The runDisney community is welcoming, encouraging, and supportive. I’ve made some of the best friends of my life through races at Disney! Get involved in Facebook or Twitter discussions and you will find a world of Disney fanatics that speak your language!
- Have FUN. These races are not known as serious PR events. You certainly CAN get a PR at a runDisney race as the courses are generally flat and fast. But it doesn’t often happen. Why? They tend to be pretty crowded AND offer lots of distractions. Can you really pass up your chance to take a picture with this handsome guy on the course?
I hope this helps you plan your next runDisney event. If you have any more questions feel free to share them in comments and maybe we will cover them on an upcoming podcast!
Patty Holliday is a 40-year-old mother runner, married to a (mostly) perfect guy. Learning to love running one step at a time. It’s not working. But runDisney helps. She is a work at home mom and blogs at My No-Guilt Life.