You’ve done it. You’ve registered for your first RunDisney race, or maybe you’re thinking about it and have no idea what you’re getting into. Well, we are by no means experts but we have completed 4 RunDisney races and are about to sign up for our 5th to complete our medal collection! We have a few tips we’ve learned along the way, things we wish we would have known and how to combat those “omg it’s only mile 3 wtf” feels. Lace up your shoes and let’s go y’all!
RunDisney: A Quick Overview
Every year, Walt Disney World hosts 4 different races where you can run a 5k, 10k, 1/2 marathon or full marathon. If you’re feeling extra ambitious and want to run all of those or just a couple you can complete challenges for extra medals (and extra dollars) as well! I am very content with just one race a year or just lazy and cheap- you decide. The race courses vary with each length and each theme (WDW Marathon Weekend, Princess Weekend etc). You might remember Disneyland having races back in the day; they have unfortunately cancelled all their races until further notice so all RunDisney events are held on WDW property (except the Castaway Cay 5k held on all Disney Cruise Line Voyages and Disneyland Paris has several). While these races have definitely gone up in price, in our mind they are 100% worth it. If you’re going to run you might as well be able to eat a Mickey Bar right after you finish!
Our First RunDisney Race: a Lighting Speed Recap
A literal lighting quick recap. It was cancelled. Due to lightning.
We made our first trip as a couple to WDW in January 2017 to take part in WDW Marathon Weekend and for Phillip’s first ever trip to WDW. We had trained in the insane humidity and heat of Hawaii for the half marathon only to arrive and have the worst lightening storm ever cancel our race! We were initially bummed out but after watching everyone hobble around the parks after the full marathon the next day we were pretty ok with it. That is something to keep in mind, if you are planning a trip to Disney around a race; consider planning the race at the very end just in case you injure yourself! Nothing is worse than injuring yourself and then trying to do a whole Disney vacation with literally miles of walking.
I will say the RunDisney organization kept everyone extremely in the loop and happy while they were trying to decide if they were going to cancel the race or not. Once they made their decision, they refunded everyone their race fee in the form of Disney Gift cards and gave everyone their medals as well. Even though we technically didn’t run the race, with all our training- I count it as a RunDisney race.
Castaway 5K just before Christmas 2019
RunDisney Expo: A room full of compression socks and KT Tape
The expo is actually a lot of fun! You are required to attend tin order to check in and pick up your gEAR bag, race tee and race bib, but it is a really great place to meet other runners, check out the exclusive race merchandise you can purchase as well as other running attire and thing a ma bobs. We usually only go to check in, pick up our gear and peace out to treat ourselves to a pre-race tradition of a WDW property restaurant feast. If this is your first race and you’re reading the online checklist of all the things you have to do and turn in before the race, here’s a helpful tip I with someone would have told me. DON’T STRESS OUT. I literally had 2 copies of our waivers as well as IDs coming out of everywhere and was so stressed about not having the info so we could run. Everyone there is SO helpful and there are tons of computers and printers if you forget your waiver. It will all be ok. Deep Breath.
Top Tips for any RunDisney Race
No matter how good of shape you think you are in; I don’t care if you can bench 500 lbs and squat with 4 children on your back. Running a marathon requires training. Let’s go more specific there; running on asphalt in the Florida humidity (or freak winter weather) requires training. Florida weather is notoriously unpredictable (especially during January) and the heat can zap your energy fast! Hydrate, eat healthy, prepare your body for those hours of running by you guessed it…running! Mixing in cardio by rowing and biking or doing Crossfit is out favorite ways to train for our races and we managed to finish the Princess Half Marathon last February with no injuries!
Princess Half Marathon Feb 2019 | Wine and Dine 10K Nov 2018
GO FOR THE COSTUME.
Nothing is better for the defeated, runner’s soul than passing by a dude dressed as a Disney Princess. I’m not saying you have to cross dress and wear a wig to be in the race but when you run Disney, people go ALL OUT with their costumes and it’s amazing! I will never forget running at mile 11 and passing by an entire group of dudes dressed up as different Disney Princess and it just made us laugh so hard and forget about the miles left to go. Have fun and be creative with it! Make sure you wear comfortable undergarments under your costume to avoid chafing or unnecessary heat. We have gone as Chef Luis and Sebastian for the Food + Wine 10k, Moana and Tamatoa for the Princess Half Marathon and we were lame and didn’t dress up for the Castaway 5k. (Our Donald and Daisy costumes never saw the race course for the WDW Marathon Weekend Half of 2017). So, dress up and help a fellow runner out that needs a smile at mile 11!
YOUR BRAIN WILL TURN AGAINST YOU AT SOME POINT.
There isn’t much to say about this one except; yes. Your brain is wrong and you can do this. It’s just mad you had to wake up at 3 am to run 13 miles in the dark around Disney Property. Shut up brain, this is fun and no one wants to hear any lip from you.
@mainstreetpress : Brit and Leo
RUN WITH FRIENDS OR HAVE A CHEERLEADER.
We had the best time at the Princess Half Marathon last year running with some friends of ours. We didn’t know if we would be in the same corral as them but we ended up together (long story short we underestimated how long it would take us to get to the start line; whoops) and finishing the race as a team! It made the 13 miles breeze by with a whole lot of laughter, spontaneous dance moves and learning that BioFreeze is indeed a gift from above.
Finish Line of Wine and Dine 10K
REMEMBER, IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE FUN. YOU PAID TO DO THIS.
It’s Disney. It’s honestly one of the best places to ever to run a race! Where else do you get to meet exclusive characters, have something in common with every single runner and get a box of delicious snacks at the end (don’t underestimate the goodness of that cheese y’all). We are always impressed with how well organized the events are, how kind and happy all the volunteers are and how much fun one can truly have at 3 am while running.