Now that I’ve followed along virtually with those who ran during Princess Half Marathon Weekend, my feelings about runDisney have only been further confirmed. Although I virtually followed runners at other races this past weekend, there’s something truly magical about the runDisney races that can’t be found at many other races.
If you don’t believe me, then believe the statistics. When registration for the 2014 Disneyland Half Marathon and Dumbo Double Dare opened up last month, Dumbo was sold out less than 45 minutes after registration opened. Both the half marathon and 10k were sold out within hours of registration opening.
The 2014 Disneyland Half Marathon weekend isn’t the only race that has sold out within a very short amount of time. The inaugural Dopey Challenge, which Preston ran last month, sold out within three days of registration opening. The inaugural Disney World 10k (part of Marathon weekend) and Glass Slipper Challenge (the new Princess Half Marathon challenge) also sold out the day that registration opened.
What’s the hype all about? Why do so many people flock to their computers when runDisney race registrations open, eager to run through either Disney World or Disneyland?
There’s countless reasons. Ask any of the thousands of people who are eagerly awaiting runDisney’s announcement of a new race later today, and I’m sure you’ll get any number of answers. There’s been talk about new races since runDisney made their announcement about “future races” at the On the Road to Disney Parks Meetup in Atlanta back in November, and social media has been a buzz with talk about the potential races since then. Sunday evening at Downtown Disney during the Princess Half Marathon Weekend Cool Down Party, runDisney displayed this announcement:
So why am I eager to find out what the big announcement is? Why is it that I have found a passion for runDisney races, even after just participating in one race weekend as a runner and a second weekend as a spectator?
The races go off with a bang with fireworks! Not only are the fireworks shot off at the very beginning of the race, but they’re shot off with the start of each corral.
Where else can you run a race and take pictures with some of your favorite characters along the way?
There are plenty of water and fuel stations along the route. At the Disney World Half Marathon there were nine water and Powerade stations, as well as a Clif Shot station. This is by far the highest percentage of water stations for the race length that either I or Preston has ever experienced.
Where else is it socially acceptable to run in a costume, or better yet, a tutu?
There are more than enough volunteers along the course at runDisney races. Not only are the volunteers in plenty, but they are also some of the most enthusiastic and supportive volunteers that I’ve ever encountered at a race.
How many other races give you race medals as large and sparkly as the runDisney ones?
After finishing a race, how many other races prepackage your food into easy to carry boxes instead of having you pick up each individual food item? I couldn’t carry everything at the end of Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach last September and had to leave some of the food I wanted behind since it was only available in the secure finisher area and you couldn’t return once you exited. And the food in those boxes? Absolutely amazing! Whoever decided to put chips and cheese in the food boxes for Marathon Weekend deserves a raise because those hit the spot!
I have yet to experience a race with as many spectators as I did while at Disney World. Maybe this will change in the future as I run more races?
Not only does runDisney get runners pumped up, but they also get the spectators pumped up as well. My parents were beyond impressed with the race announcers at the finish line and how pumped up they got the crowd going and kept the crowd going during Marathon Weekend. runDisney certainly knows how to make the race experience magical, not just for the runners but also for the spectators themselves, particularly through the ability to participate in ChEAR Squad.
Not every race is perfect though. What are some of runDisney’s flaws?
The races and cost of travel quickly add up. Unless I win the lottery, I won’t be able to run these races as frequently as I’d like to.
runDisney, like many other major races, likes to nickel and dime you. Want to participate in Race Retreat? That’ll be extra. Want to go to the pre race dinner? That’ll be extra. But like I said, most other major races also nickel and dime you. For example, Rock ‘n’ Roll USA, which Preston and I are running next month, offers runners guaranteed parking at the finish line, but for an additional cost.
Despite the couple of negatives associated with runDisney races (what race is perfect?), there’s a passion that I’ve found for runDisney races. If money and time were of no object I’m not sure that I’d run every race, because it would cause the magic to not be so magical. But I will be returning for another runDisney race in the future.
QOTD: What are your overall thoughts on runDisney races?