I have run two RunDisney events and both of them were half marathons and they were both totally different experiences. Here are a few tips I have learned about running a RunDisney race.
The first time I ran I didn’t submit a time because I didn’t have a time that fit into the window required and I also was running with a friend and it was her first half marathon. We started in the back and it was a lot of jumping around people, walking when things got tight and pretty slow going until we got to the street and then things thinned out. The second time I ran I started in Group B and there were a few narrow parts for the first mile, but since everyone was running it was easy going, by the time I got to the park there were few people around me and I had plenty of room to run my pace. I even stopped for a picture (I wish I had stopped more) with one of the fairies since there were only 2 people in line. Then it was out to the street for a long 8 more miles to go.
I didn’t realize running a half marathon on your own could be so boring. I’m not sure if I was tired from all the events leading up to the half or if I just wasn’t in the right state of mind, but each mile was long and there wasn’t really anything to look forward to until the finish. The course for the first RunDisney event (September) leads you through a long line of old cars lined up as you run into the Anaheim Angel’s stadium. The Tinker Bell race (May) didn’t have those fun surprises. Yes, there were people out and cheering, but since I started so early there were lots of spots that didn’t have anyone. So looking back I am happy I was able to meet my goal of running a half marathon in under 2 hours, but here are a few things I have learned.
- You don’t want to start in the back. You probably really don’t want to run two half marathons just to run the one Disney one, but I recommend the Disneyland one not being your first. You don’t want to be in the back.
- Running with friends is more fun. If you are lucky enough to find someone close to your same pace and they have completed a half marathon before the race and you can start in the same corral you are really lucky. If you are on your own I recommend to take more time to stop and take pictures. You are in Disneyland and that is what the race is all about, so have fun, don’t worry about your time and stop and enjoy it. You will probably feel better at mile 10 if you do, instead of wishing you had stopped early on.
- Get to your corral early. They say the race starts at 0530 so you think that is already pretty early, but you should shoot to be at your corral at 0500. If you need to wait in line for the bathroom, get delayed in any way you will be able to make it to your corral before they close them. Even if you have a low bib number if you show up after they close the corrals (around 0520) you will be forced to start in the back.
- Stay at hotel the night before or arrive super early race day, I mean like 0400 early. Race day traffic can be really bad so if you want to ensure you get into your corral and have a stress free morning stay at hotel close by so you can walk. It may seem like driving is better than walking, but it saves you time and a headache if you are able to walk to the start.
- Have fun and dress appropriately. If you go to a RunDisney race expect that everyone is going to be in costume. If you have always wanted to wear a tutu when you run here is your chance. No costume is out of bounds, just make sure you follow the safety standards. When I ran in September I saw people dressed in any Disney theme you could imagine. There was even a guy with a full conductor outfit. Near the front most people were in running gear, but they still had tutus, fairy wings and the like.
Overall I had two great RunDisney experiences and am planning for a third in January. I’m signing up for the Rebel Challenge (10k and Half) in January. If you have thought about competing in a RunDisney event. Here is your chance. Join me at Disneyland for the Star Wars weekend. Email me or comment below with any questions you have. Registration opens June 14th! And if you are on the East Coast and want to join in I plan on completing a Coast to Coast next year and hope to attend the Wine and Dine in November.