Disney has always offered races at both Disney World and Disneyland but as of late 2017, all Disneyland races have been canceled. At the moment, the only race locations are Disney World, Disneyland Paris and a couple of virtual races. This post is going to be about my experiences with these races which will hopefully help you decide which one you want to participate in.
(I wont be talking about Disneyland Paris because I have yet to participate in that race)
Now when it comes to choosing what race you want to register for, my advice is this: BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF. runDisney offers a variety of different distances from 5K (3.1 miles) to a Full Marathon (26.2 miles). If you’re new to running, be honest with yourself and choose a race you know you will train for. There’s no worse feeling than paying for a race only to get picked up before finishing it.
I’ve attended all the Disney World races and I have two weekends which are my favorites: Marathon weekend and Princess! The other races are still amazing but here are a few quick notes about every individual weekend and my opinion on them:
Easily at the top of my list! Marathon weekend is the only race weekend with a full marathon and this usually attracts a bigger crowd. Aside from the regular distances, there are two challenges you can participate in, whereas all the other race weekends only offer one challenge. The two challenges include: the Goofy challenge where you run the half and full marathon, and the Dopey challenge where you run every race. This is also the best race option in terms of weather. It may seem cold for many of us but its usually perfect PR weather.
The Princess Half Marathon Weekend is another AMAZING race experience. Out of all the races, this one seems to have the most “magic” incorporated in it. The princess theme is everywhere, even from the moment you get to the expo for packet pickup. The weather for this race is usually nice and cool, at least for me, a Floridian lol.
^Entering the expo for Princess in 2016
Star Wars Half:
For all the Vader lovers out there, this is the race for you! The newest race weekend in the lineup is all about the dark side. Although this isn’t one of my favorite races, I have participated in it every year since it started (twice… I’ve ran it twice…) and I hope to be able to go this year as well. The reason I continue to do this race even though its not my favorite, is because I want to be a perfect! A perfect is someone who has ran the race every year since its inauguration. If you’re a big Star Wars fan don’t miss this race! The crowds are usually much smaller and aside from the horrible Florida humidity, the weather is decent.
Wine & Dine Half:
Wine & Dine has a special place in my heart because it was my first half marathon! Out of all the races, I feel like this one usually gets the attention of new runners. I suspect it has something to do with the drinking and eating aspect that’s included in the form of an after party. In previous years, this race has been known as the cursed race, and for good reason. The year I ran this race it rained the ENTIRE time and if I remember correctly, the weather was in the low 40’s/high 30’s. The following year, one of my best friends ran 7.1 miles instead of 13.1 because a storm forced runDisney to modify the course. Here’s the thing, since then, runDisney has changed this race from a night race to a daytime race. I haven’t ran it since but it seems like its finally curse free (for now). For all you non-Floridians, keep in mind that its still pretty warm in November so come prepared!
I know, I know, I know… Virtual races are the new big thing! runDisney has added a series of “Virtual Running Shorts” and a new “Star Wars” virtual half. The shorts consist of three 5K’s throughout the summer and The Star Wars half marathon is from Jan- March. As long as you register for these, you can complete them at at your leisure and you’ll receive a medal in the mail. Although i’m not a fan of virtual races, I know plenty of people who sign up for these and use them as training runs. Keep in mind these are still pretty pricey for being races you do on your own time. The “Virtual running shorts” races are $40/race or $142 to complete the entire series, and the Star Wars race is $59 for the half.
So there you go, thats basically a quick overview of what each race experience has been like for me. If you’ve participated in any of these races and feel like I missed something, feel free to leave a comment!