Posts Tagged by 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

2013 Walt Disney World Half Marathon Recap

Big congrats to my good friend Jillian Hoffman for completing her first half marathon!  We ran our first 5K together back in 2010 and look how far we’ve come!!  I am so excited to have her here on RAD to share her experience.  Take it away girl…

Hi All! I’m Jillian and can’t wait to share my experience of running my first ever half marathon during Marathon Weekend!

Let’s go back to Marathon Weekend 2010. I participated in the 5k that weekend, my first race ever! I had so much fun and knew that I wanted to run a half marathon…eventually. Fast forward to New Year’s Eve 2012 just a few weeks before my 29th birthday. Every one kept asking what my resolutions were. Without even hesitating I said “to run the DisneyWorld Half Marathon in 2013 right before I turn 30.” And here’s my story of doing just that!

I spent all year training and even dealt with a severely strained psoas (hip) injury that sidelined me for almost 2 months back in Oct/Nov. So needless to say leading up to the race I had tons of anxiety about my injury and of course like so many others, came down with a cold the week before the race.  Thank goodness that by Friday morning when I hopped on a flight down to Florida I was feeling much better.

The day before the race was a whirlwind! My friend Jen was joining me on this trip to run the half as well. After our flight landed in Orlando we hopped on Magical Express, checked into our room, and headed over to the Expo. We quickly got our race bibs (anxiety set in big time right there), then headed over to the Expo for some shopping. We dropped everything off in our room and it was already time for dinner with my parents who were down to cheer me on. We ate at Delmonico Italian Steakhouse, which isn’t too far off property and I can’t recommend it enough. We filled up on pasta & Lasagna Chips, the most amazing thing we’ve ever eaten!!

Lasagna Chips!

Lasagna Chips!

We got back to the room 7:30pm and had just enough time for showers, stretching (you bet I brought my foam roller with me!), and putting out our race clothes before we went to sleep.

Race clothes ready to go

Race clothes ready to go

At the cruel hour of 2:30am the first alarm went off. After hitting snooze twice we finally got out of bed around 2:45am. Both of us did some more stretching, chugged down bottles of water, and I ate my breakfast of 2 slices of whole wheat bread w/natural peanut butter and honey drizzled on it. We got dressed, put together our bag, and headed out the door. Since Jen is a way more experienced runner than I, we planned to just check her bag with both of our things since she was going to finish about an hour before me.

03 JH_Jill & Jenn

After making sure we had everything, it was off to the buses. One was pulling up just as we were getting to the stop so we made a quick run for it to make sure we got on. We were staying at the Caribbean Beach Resort so it was a quick ride over to Epcot. On the long walk from where the buses dropped us off to the pre-race area, I started to get really emotional! Everything I had worked on all year was about to be put to the test. As Jen saw me starting to tear up, she said exactly what I needed, “Stop being a whiney (insert expletive here haha), suck it up, you’re gonna rock this! Look how far you’ve come!!” We laughed but that was exactly what I needed to get me pumped up and ready! We met up with some friends to say hellos and good lucks.

04 JH_Pre-Race

We took a few bathroom breaks and checked our bag.  Once through the bag check, insanity ensued! You could barely move! It took us over 20 minutes to walk from the bag check to our corral!

HUGE crowd walking to corrals

HUGE crowd walking to corral

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07 JH_Sign 2

Jen was supposed to start in corral C but was awesome and moved back to start with me in F. God bless that girl because I would have freaked just standing around by myself! While waiting we stretched some more, chugged down more water, and started taking GU & Shotbloks.

08 JH_Corral F



Pretty soon fireworks were going off all around us as the race had officially started!!!

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About a half hour after that first start our corral started moving on up to the start line!! Ahhhh here we go!!

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This was it!! I was about to start running my first half marathon!! I was excited, nervous, elated, you name it!! Goofy & Donald were there and all of sudden it was time to go!!!

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15 JH_Goofy&Donald

16 JH_F Start

I was doing intervals of 2 mins running/2  mins walking as per my doctors instructions since this was going to be my longest run since the psoas injury. As soon as I hit my first walk interval Jen gave me a big hug and was off running!  Side note: That chick finished in 2:16:05 and that was with 2 bathroom stops! Yeah girl!!

The first few miles went great!! So great in fact that I did my fastest 5k since before the injury! I was happy and taking pictures of things as I passed. I just couldn’t believe I was running a half marathon!!!

17 JH_MK Toll


18 JH_C&D

19 JH_Bikes

Heading into the TTC at mile 4 I was still feeling good and getting really excited that I wasn’t too far from the Magic Kingdom!


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Coming down the hill just before the Contemporary there was a DJ in duck wings cheering us on! I couldn’t help but smile running down that hill!

Quackin Your Pace!!

Quackin Your Pace!!

Then we passed mile 5 and started making our way into the Magic Kingdom! I was already getting emotional. I took out my camera to take some pics as I was coming down Main Street…

Main Street USA!

Main Street USA!

Once on Main Street, I started looking for my friends Shelley & Betsy. I soon spotted them but Shelley started pointing at something. I looked over and my best friend Kelly was there!! I started bursting into tears because I could not believe that she surprised me!! Thank goodness my friend Shalon caught this moment on video. I cry every time I look at it!

24 JH_J&K

After hugs & tears, I ran off with a renewed sense of spirit! I seriously loved the time in the Magic Kingdom!! I took lots of pictures and was able to use the bathroom in Tomorrowland with a very minimal wait! I also was able to get in a quick photo with Alice & the Red Queen since it was the only short line I saw the whole race!

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26 JH_ Queen & Alice

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28 JH_Belle & Beast

Running through the castle was amazing! It got a little congested but seriously, it was so cool!!

After that I passed by Tiana & Louis…

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On my way through Frontierland…

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And out the back entrance…by the garbage! They tried to spiff it up with Cinderella and the castle float…

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But the 10k mark, the water/powerade station, & port-a-pottys were all right there by the garbage! Seriously Disney?! It stunk so bad and I had such a hard time getting down my water. After that it got very tight too. I tried to keep to my intervals as best as I could but my running ones were almost as slow and my walking because there was just nowhere to go. A little after mile 7 it opened up but my hip started to hurt a bit. I stopped right after the Clif Bar station to stretch a little then continued on. Then next 2 miles were the worst of the whole race for me. It was just a long straight road with no entertainment, the sun blaring hot in my face, and trying to push through the pain. I want to give you all an honest look at how I felt so please try not to laugh too hard at my mile 8/9 pictures.

32 JH_Mile 8&9

I had a serious moment of “OMG I’m not going to finish.” But just as I was approaching mile 10 I got a text from Jen saying “Babe, ur right on track to finish!!! Ur doing AMAZING!! Keep it up, almost done!!!” It was what I needed; I perked right up and hit a few awesome spots in the race! As I was coming up the overpass the Green Army Men were shouting at us to pick it up and get to that finish line! So I snapped a quick pic and got on up that hill!

33 JH_ArmyMan

As we were running over the bridge I saw nothing but a sea of people running where I had just come from. I know this may sound awful but seeing that gave me confidence that I was going to finish; I wasn’t last! The next confidence boost came from this fabulous woman right before mile 11. She ran up next to me and tapped me on the shoulder. I pulled out my ear buds and she says “Can I just say that you look amazing! You barely look like you’re sweating and I’m such a hot sweaty mess. You go girl! You so got this.” I laughed and thanked her and told her I could just hug her right now but I can promise I’m as sweaty as you and I’m sure you don’t want to feel that! Folks, this is why I love runDisney races! The camaraderie and all the encouragement! So if that lady was you, THANK YOU, you got me through those last 2.1 miles.

Honestly, I was really feeling great at this point. The pain in my hip wasn’t so bad, I know that I had properly hydrated and fueled along the course, and I knew my parents were going to be there at the end to cheer me on! Now we were coming into Epcot. Phineas & Ferb were rocking out and cheering us on with a DJ…

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And I had just 1 more mile to go!!!!!

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I called my parents & Jen to let them know I was making my way into Epcot and to find out where they were standing. Hearing my Dad’s voice and him telling me I’m almost there was all I needed. I was about to be a half marathoner!

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The time in Epcot went so fast!! Before I knew it I was coming up to mile 13 and the sounds of the Gospel Choir.

Just past mile 13 was my parents and all my friends!! They were all jumping and cheering!

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It was so amazing and I knew that finish line was coming! I started tearing up! I did it! I set my goal and I accomplished it!

40 JH_Half Finish

My friend Rora was the one to give me my medal and a huge hug!! She let me have a good cry, gave me another hug and sent me on my way to get my powerade and food. I couldn’t believe it! I did it! I really did it!!

41 JH_Medal

I’m so proud of how far I’ve come and I’m ready to take the next step! I’m already signed up for the Double Dumbo Dare in Disneyland and I have a feeling my friends are going to convince me to run the full marathon next January!

New Balance and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Announce Multi-Year Strategic Alliance

runDisney sneakers…fun!!  Disney announced yesterday a new alliance with New Balance to make them the official running shoe for runDisney, as well as amateur baseball at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex.

With this alliance comes a snazzy new pair of runDisney New Balance 860v3 running shoes.  They are designed after Minnie and Mickey of course.  These are limited  edition shoes and will be released at the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon Health & Fitness Expo (which started today!) and future runDisney events.

Amanda from Disney Every Day snapped these photos of the the new shoes first thing this morning at the Expo.





Unfortunately, she reported that they sold out VERY quickly and there won’t be any more available over Marathon Weekend.  But if you’re heading out to the west coast for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon, you’ll be able to get a pair there.

Personally, I’m not in love with the design.  While I know red, black and yellow are the classic Mickey Mouse colors, it’s not my favorite color combination.  Fingers crossed this is the first of many designs runDisney and New Balance will be working on together!

What do you think of the runDisney running shoes?  Where you one of the lucky ones to grab a pair?


Official Announcement

New Balance and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Announce Multi-Year Strategic Alliance

BOSTON, MA and BURBANK, CA, January 9, 2013New Balance and Walt Disney Parks & Resorts announced a multi-year strategic alliance today that includes exclusive footwear, running-specific initiatives and co-branding opportunities.

This exciting alliance will bring New Balance’s innovative, design-forward athletic footwear to the leading vacation destination in the world, in particular Disney’s thriving sports business. As part of the collaboration, New Balance becomes the official athletic shoe of Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.  New Balance also becomes the official running shoe for runDisney race weekends and the official baseball shoe of amateur baseball events at the Sports Complex.

In addition, New Balance also becomes the title sponsor of the track & field facility at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, home of the annual Walt Disney World Cross Country Classic and Disney’s Track & Field Spring Training for high school and collegiate teams. Future initiatives include the creation of maps for the running trails at Walt Disney World Resort and fitness programs for Disney resort guests interested in pursuing healthy options.

“New Balance and Disney share a commitment to quality and innovation,” says Rob DeMartini, President and CEO of New Balance. “We are proud to work with Walt Disney Parks & Resorts to showcase New Balance’s brand excellence and the benefits of an active lifestyle.”

“Our relationship with New Balance complements our company’s efforts to provide healthy options for families during their Disney vacation,” said George Aguel, senior vice president, Disney Corporate Alliances. “We are excited about this new agreement and look forward to working with New Balance.”

To commemorate this alliance, New Balance created a men’s and women’s limited edition runDisney 860v3 running shoe that captures the spirit of two favorite Disney characters – Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.  The limited edition runDisney 860v3 will be available for purchase at the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon Health & Fitness Expo from January 10-12, future runDisney Health & Fitness Expos, special events created jointly by New Balance and Walt Disney Parks & Resorts as well as branded pop-up shops located at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

NB rD Shoes

New runDisney Vinylmations for 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

Big thanks to Matt from Vinylmation Kingdom for sending me photos on these great new runDisney vinylmations that are set to be released during the 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend!  The new figure will be released on January 10, 2013 and will retail for $12.95.  It is not clear if it will be available at the Health & Fitness Expo, but I sure hope it will be!


Mickey is wearing a 2013 bib on the front and there is a space on the back to add your finishing time, which I think is a really nice touch.  Beats standing in line after the race to get your medal engraved!  Not sure about the expression on his face…he looks a bit confused.  Maybe his knee is bothering him after running the marathon…  😉

The best part about this new vinyl are the accessories.  For an additional $1.95, you can purchase a mini finishers medal to put around Mickey’s neck for your respective race!  How cool is that?!?!

Mini Medals!

Mini Medals!

And as an added bonus, the artist Maria Clapsis (also the artist behind the Star Wars vinylmation series) will be at D-Street in Downtown Disney on January 13th from 5-7 pm to sign your vinyl!  Conveniently, this is during the Cool Down Party taking place that same day in Downtown Disney from 4-10:30 pm!

This new vinyl differs from previous years when each race had their own respective figure.  I like this design much better   and I think this is a great addition to the race weekend collectibles.  I love collecting vinylmations for special events and the addition of the medal makes this even better!  I wonder if they will be making medals for the other runDisney races throughout the year…hmmmmm

So what do you think?  Will you be getting a runDisney vinylmation?

**UPDATE: 1/3/13**  runDisney sent out a tweet this evening confirming that the vinyls will be available at the Health & Fitness Expo starting on January 10th!  Woohoo! 🙂

rD Tweet

20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Scores a Sellout Hat Trick

What an exciting week it’s been for runDisney!  First, the 20th Anniversary Walt Disney World Marathon sold out in record time on September 6th.  25,000 runners will be participating in the marathon – the largest event ever!  This sell out came on the heels of the excitement around the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend.  runDisney race season has officially begun!

Then just yesterday, both the Half Marathon and Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge reached capacity as well.  In total, there will be more than 58,000 people participating over Marathon Weekend, including 10,000 for the Goofy.  I guess those new medals really got everyone excited 🙂

That number is hard for me to wrap my brain around!  That is a lot of people descending on the Walt Disney World Resort for one weekend.  If you haven’t made hotel reservations yet, you should probably do so VERY soon.  I’ve heard that all DVC rooms are booked already.  This large number of participants also concerns me about transportation on the morning of the races.  I recall hearing horror stories of runners being trapped on busses for hours trying to get to the starting lines.  Disney always seems to improve on issues from prior years and let’s hope that’s the case in 2013 as well.

If you missed out on registering, there are still a few ways to do so.  You can register through the Runner’s World Challenge or with one of various charities that are fundraising for the race, such as Team in Training.  Registration is still available for the Family Fun Run 5K , runDisney Kids’ Races and the Mickey Mile, but those are filling up fast as well. Visit for more information.

See you in January!!

New runDisney 2013 Marathon Weekend Merchandise Available!

Great news…brand new runDisney merchandise for the 2013 Marathon Weekend is now available in the Disney Store!  There are shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, car magnets…you name it!  Let’s take a look at some of my favorites.

Men’s Half Marathon Performance Tee

Since this will be my first marathon, I MUST have all of the following.  I need to flaunt my marathon pride, right???

Women’s Marathon Performance Tee

Women’s Marathon Training Jacket

26.2 Car Magnet

And for all you Goofy runners out there…this hoodie is definitely the best out of the bunch.  You’re going to look pretty impressive sporting this sucker!

Adult Goofy Fleece Hoodie

Make sure to visit to check out all of the new merch.  I think the new designs are great, but I have to say I’m still disappointed that there are not women’s performance tanks available!  Maybe they will have them at the expo…a girl can only hope!!

Earlier this week, runDisney also released the new design for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon.  Fans were able to select their favorite design on the runDisney Facebook page and here is what won:

This is so fun and I’m a little green with envy (yuk yuk!) that I won’t be making it to this race.  Mark me down for 2014!

So far I’m really impressed with all of the new 2013 merchandise.  I can’t see what else is in store and I’m especially looking forward to the 5th Anniversary Princess merch!

What is your favorite new runDisney merchandise item?

Big thanks to We Run Disney for being loyal shoppers and making this find!