In 2014 I discovered that Disney did marathons. I was never a runner before but would become one to run in Disney. I ran in my first runDisney event in 2014 which was really my debut into this frenzy called Marathon Weekend. 2016 marked my second year of running during that weekend which has really become a week rather than just a weekend. runDisney has events all over the world now with events in Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and making its debut in September, Disneyland Paris.
Marathon Weekend is considered runDisney’s main event and started it all with the Marathon 23 years ago. Now Marathon Weekend includes a Family Fun Run 5K, 10K, Half-Marathon, and Full-Marathon. That’s not all some run in the Goofy or Dopey Challenges. The Goofy Challenge includes running both the Half-marathon and the Full-marathon. The Dopey Challenge includes running all four Marathon Weekend events totaling 48.6 miles.
After running the 10K in 2015 I knew I had to do it again and do more than the 10K. The runDisney bug had bit me and let me tell you, it’s almost sort of an addiction, but a good one. Come April, I signed up for the 2016 Half-marathon and the 5K. I ran and completed both in early January.
The beauty of runDisney is that they have races for everyone, even those non-runners. The Family Fun Run 5Ks are really the best option for everyone. The age requirement is 5 years of age so whole families can partake in the fun. The courses go through Disney parks. For example, the January 5K starts in the Explore parking lot at Epcot and takes you right through and around World Showcase experiencing some backstage areas along the way before finishing in the Epcot parking lot.
runDisney does require a 16:00 min/mile pace for all events. The 5K events are not timed though. Every Disney race runs through one if not all the parks. Volunteers make you feel welcome and are cheering you on the entire race. Walking is permitted and many do walk, especially in the 5K.
The magic of Disney also brings many amazing photo opportunities along the course. Characters that can be seen in the parks to characters that rarely are seen come out for meets along the courses as well as parade floats, marching bands and church choirs.
While the sound of running or even walking may not seem like fun, Disney definitely knows how to change that and make it fun. These events are like no other and that is why oftentimes they sell out quickly and the big events can have up to 25,000 runners.
And then finally, one of the biggest reasons people run these races is for the bling! The runDisney medals are always amazingly designed and change from year to year. All of the runners are then encouraged to wear the medals in the parks after the races.
The runDisney Calendar includes the following:
- Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in early January
- Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend in Disneyland in mid January
- Walt Disney World Princess Half Marathon Weekend in mid February
- Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend- Dark Side in Walt Disney World in mid April
- Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend in Disneyland in early May
- Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend in early September
- Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Weekend in late September
- Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend in Walt Disney World in early November
- Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend in Disneyland in mid November
I hope everyone gets to experience a runDisney event in their lifetime. I know I have loved every moment of my three runDisney events and I truly believe you will as well.