Posts Tagged by 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – Family Fun 5K

My first race EVER was a 5K at Walt Disney World.  I wasn’t a runner at all back in 2010, but I managed to finish the race and I had a BLAST!  It’s a great way for Disney fans of all ages and athletic abilities to try a new challenge and see the parks in a completely different way.  The recent Walt Disney World 5K was Beth’s first runDisney race and as you can see from her recap, she LOVED every second of it!

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The 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon weekend kicked off with a bang last Thursday, January 8 with the Family Fun 5K run/walk event through Epcot. This race is now known to all participants as the “Frozen 5K” with a wind chill advisory bringing temperatures to a balmy 38 degrees (but more on that in a little bit).

This was my first runDisney event ever, and a great introduction to the runDisney club. My best friend and I had originally signed up just to participate in the half marathon (also my first ever), but after realizing that the last training run of the Jeff Galloway training plan (provided for free by Disney) called for a final 30 minute training session the Thursday prior to the half, we thought – why not?! A chance to get another fantastic Disney medal? Sign us up! (It turns out, Disney medals are incredible and very, very addicting).

The 5K starts slightly later than most of the other races of the weekend. The first gun goes off at 6:15am (as compared to 5:30am for the half and full). This means we didn’t have to wake up until 3:30am (of course everyone’s wake up calls vary, depending on pre-race rituals). Heading out from the Art of Animation resort, we jumped right on a bus at 4:15am to arrive at Epcot at 4:30am. (Bus transportation was amazing all weekend long, with little to no waits at any point.)

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Arriving at the race, we knew right away we were in for a long wait to the start. As mentioned before, it was freezing with high winds making matters even worse. Racers lined the fence line seeking protection from the wind as much as possible. Other groups gathered around the spotlight generators which blew out warm air to try and stay warm. Disney had a great DJ going to entertain and pump up the crowd, but when the DJ is dressed in a coat, gloves, hat, and scarf, it’s hard to leave the sanctuary of your wind protector to dance the cupid shuffle in the open arctic tundra.

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During this time, runDisney did have bag check available as well as food and drink for purchase. Few racers appeared to check bags, due to the nature of the race. I was pleasantly surprised to see the food available for purchase, both from Disney and local food trucks.

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Lines were never long, and the Disney booth did accept Magic Band payments if linked to a credit card (they also accepted cash and regular credit). The most popular item was certainly the hot beverages since participants were doing whatever they could to stay warm. Though picnic tables and high top tables were available, few took advantage, instead seeking refuge along the fence blocking perimeter. (Some racers did creatively use the table clothes as blankets.)

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Runners were not moved into their corrals until 5:20am and the walk from the gathering area to the corrals was a quick 5 minutes. Had it not been so cold, the early arrival time would have been fine and filled with dancing and photos, but the chill made the wait until the start feel like forever. The longest line of porta-potties I had ever seen were lined up for use before entering the corrals. So many were supplied, lines never seemed to be that deep.

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Moving into the corrals, runners huddled together for warmth, which provided everyone a great opportunity to make new friends. One of the best things about runDisney races is the friendliness and camaraderie amongst the participants. Everyone is so excited and supportive. Past participants are a great sources of information and inspiration to first time runners.

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For the 5K, there are only 6 corrals. I was in corral E, the second to last corral to start. Corrals were sent out 8 minutes apart to help spread participants throughout the course. Each corral received their own starting fireworks, which can get even the chilliest runner moving. Especially moving was the playing of the national anthem. Everyone went silent as the trumpet started. Slowly, there was a hum through the crowd, and gradually a quiet sing-a-long. It was a beautiful moment.

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Then we were off! Finally moving, it took a little while for the legs to warm up (the hands never thawed). Participants ranged in all ages and abilities. I had expected to see tons of younger children, but was surprised to find kids were a very small portion of the participants. Many participants wear costumes to the 5K, many more than to the half or full marathon. People can be so creative! Costumes are a great way to add even more fun to your race, and help to give your fellow runners something fun to look at during their run/walk.

Since Disney only requires a 16 per minute pace, it was common to see participants who walked the entire track, especially those participating in the Dopey challenge who needed to save their legs for later in the weekend. I did not hear of anyone getting swept off the 5K course and find it highly unlikely, but cannot confirm if they do or do not sweep for this race. An important note is that since so many people walk, to actually run the race can be difficult. My friend and I ended up bobbing and weaving all over the course and in many places where the course narrowed, there was no choice but to walk. Not a huge problem since this is supposed to be a fun run, but important for runners to be careful so they do not trip each other and cause injury.

The first mile of the course is mainly on a side road long the Epcot parking lot and then along a backstage access road where you reach the first mile marker right around where you enter the backstage of Epcot behind Test Track.

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During the first mile, there was only 1 character stop. This character was Princess Atta from “A Bug’s Life”. My friend and I choose not to stop for a picture since we barely knew the character and the line was fairly long.

Mile 2 takes place almost entirely within the park and is the best mile of the race. You enter the World Showcase between Mexico and Norway. The sun was just rising for us, providing a beautiful view.

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Norway Daisy was the next character, and we decided to stop since it is more rare to see Daisy in Norway garb. This also provided the perfect opportunity for my friend to use the park restrooms. (Park restrooms are preferable to porta potties any day).

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We then stopped for Pinocchio in Italy and waited about 8 minutes in line.

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We passed on Chip n’ Dale in Japan because the line was just enormous. Had it been nicer weather, we would have stopped, but we were just too cold. Marie from the Aristocrats in Paris had a short 4/5 minute line which was more tolerable.

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Note – wait times are not posted. Some lines look long but move very quickly because of the character attendant/photopass cast members’ efficiency. Other lines can be short but take forever if the character attendant is not taking photos with runners’ personal cameras.

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Running down international gateway and slightly behind stage, we finally hit mile marker 2. The three character stops had made this mile last 30 minutes!

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The course then jumps back into the park between the UK and Canada. Donald was the last character meet and great on the course at Canada. In all, there were 5 character photo opportunities; one in mile 1, three in mile 2, and one in mile 3.

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You finish the World Showcase and turn left for a straight shot down toward Spaceship Earth before turning left and running in front of Future World West (Imagination Pavilion, Land Pavilion, Living Seas Pavilion) and head back in front of the Electric Umbrella towards Spaceship Earth.

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You never pass directly under Spaceship Earth, but veer right slightly beforehand to go backstage for the last stretch out to the Epcot parking lot and the finish line. Crossing the finish line, the wonderful volunteers give you the great Pluto medal (while not metal like all of the other weekend races, the medal is huge and great quality. Plus, what other 5K gives a medal?!)

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My friend and I were able to backtrack and take pictures right outside the finish with our medals while the runners were still coming in (this was not allowed during the half).

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Professional photographers are everywhere to take your picture, and a very generous refueling kit of food and water are supplied to all participants (hint, always go to the photographer and food table farthest away – never ANYONE there!).

Disney still had other food available for purchase, and the DJ was still playing away on stage to keep the party going. Pluto, the 5K mascot, was available for photos and the line was quick at only 10 minutes (considering the thousands of participants, I was impressed). Dopey was also there for those participating in the 4 day Dopey challenge. Bus stops were very clearly labeled and nothing felt better than walking into that heated bus.

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Overall, the 5K race was tons of fun and very low pressure. Don’t let it intimidate you if you haven’t participated in a 5K before, don’t consider yourself athletic, but have always wanted to do a runDisney event. This race is perfect for any ability and a great way to start what is a very fun weekend of events!

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Beth Pope currently lives in Washington, DC and is a former Walt Disney World cast member. In addition to the 5K, she also completed the WDW Half Marathon. Prior to this race weekend, she had only ever completed two 5K and two 10K official races. She now plans to complete the Coast to Coast challenge in 2015.

2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Info

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It’s almost here…the largest runDisney race weekend of the year!  Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend will bring over 50,000 runners and their families to the resort January 7-11, 2015.  With four races, two challenges, kids races and a TON of other events crammed into five days, it’s easy to lose track of why you’re really there…to run!  So I’ve put together everything you need to know to have a stress free race weekend!  Let’s get started…

Health & Fitness Expo

The race weekend starts with the Health & Fitness Expo at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.  Hours for the Expo are:

  • Wednesday, January 7th: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
  • Thursday, January 8th: 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
  • Friday, January 9th: 9:00 am – 7:00 pm
  • Saturday, January 10th: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm

Participants in all of the races must attend the Expo to turn in signed waivers (click here to print your waiver) and pick up race packets, which include your race bib with B-Tag timing devices, race shirt, and gEAR bag. The gEAR bag doubles at the bag to use for bag check during the race.  This is also where you will receive any commemorative items you may have purchased during registration, such as pins or necklaces or these new Dooney & Bourke bags!

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Because this race weekend is so large, the Expo is spread out through much of the Sports Complex.  Your first stop at the Expo should be the HP Field House for Packet Pick Up.  Starting with this weekend you can no longer have someone pick up your race packet for you.  Everyone MUST turn in a waiver, show ID and pick up their own packet.

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Because there are so many races and challenges over this weekend, packet pick-up is spread out over the two levels of the HP Field House.  On the Entry Level you will find: Kids Races, 5K, 10K, Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge, Dopey Challenge, and Pre-Purchased Commemorative Jacket Pick Up.  On the Lower Level you will find: Half Marathon, Marathon, ChEAR Squad, Race Retreat, and Family Reunion Breakfast Pick Up. The Lower Level is also where shirt pick-up is for Goofy & Dopey participants and where you will find Runner Relations and Castaway 5K information.

After getting your race packet, proceed across the way to the Jostens Center to pick up your race shirt and gEAR bag (except for Goofy & Dopey participants), visit with more vendors and spend all your money on runDisney merchandise.

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More vendors can be found in Champion Stadium along with Runner Tracking signup and pickup for Dooney & Bourke bags.

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Plan for BIG crowds at the Expo, especially early on when there will be long lines for exclusive Expo merchandise.  I recommend allowing at least two hours if not a full half day to visit the Expo.

Resort Transportation

Bus transportation will be available from ALL Walt Disney World Resort Hotels to bring participants to and from most events taking place during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.  This includes the Expo and all races.

Bus service to the Expo and the Kids Races will run during the following times:

  • Wednesday, January 7th: 9:30 am – 7:30 pm (last bus will leave for the resorts at 8:30 pm)
  • Thursday, January 8th: 8:30 am – 6:30 pm (last bus will leave for the resorts at 7:30 pm)
  • Friday, January 9th: 8:30 am – 6:30 pm (last bus will leave for the resorts at 7:30 pm)
  • Saturday, January 10th: 9:30 am – 3:30 pm (last bus will leave for the resorts at 4:30 pm)

On January 8 – 11, bus transportation will be provided for runners and spectators to and from the races.  For those staying at a Magic Kingdom resort on the monorail line (Contemporary, Polynesian and Grand Floridian), the monorail will begin running at 3:00 am each day to take guests to and from Epcot.  Here are the times the busses will run:

  • 5K, January 8th: 4:15 am – 5:30 am & 7:00 am – 9:00 am (runners must be on a bus by 5:00 am)
  • 10K, January 9th: 3:30 am – 5:00 am & 7:00 am – 10:00 am (runners must be on a bus by 4:00 am)
  • Half Marathon, January 10th: 3:00 am – 5:00 am & 7:00 am – 11:00 am (runners must be on a bus by 4:00 am)
  • Marathon, January 11th: 3:00 am – 5:00 am & 7:00 am – 2:00 pm (runners must be on a bus by 4:00 am)

Driving Directions

If not staying at a host resort, participants will need to provide their own transportation to all events.  On the mornings of the races, expect SIGNIFICANT DELAYS on all roads heading into Epcot.  You will need to enter via World Drive as Epcot Center Drive will be closed due to race course.  Leave early and allow from plenty of time.  You will need to arrive no later than 4:30 am to make sure you are in your corrals in time for the race start.

Costumes

Costumes are one of the best parts of any Disney race.  It’s amazing to see what some people run in!  I think one of my favorites from the Marathon in 2013 was this guy dressed as a flamingo!

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Please note that runners are NOT allowed to wear a face mask of any kind and will be removed from the course if this is violated.  This is for your own safety, especially during a night race!  So who are you dressing up as??

Bag Check

Participants MUST use the clear bag provided at the expo to check any belongings during the race and affix the label with their bib number on the outside.

Tip for you: Put a small, lightweight backpack or duffle bag inside your clear gEAR bag to transfer everything into after the race.  The strings on the gEAR bags make them horribly uncomfortable to carry around if you are planning on staying for the after party.

All bags are checked in the Family Reunion area prior to heading to the start corrals.  Here are the bag check times for each race:

  • 5K, Thursday, January 8th: 5:00 am – 9:00 am
  • 10K, Friday, January 9th: 4:15 am – 9:00 am
  • Half Marathon, Saturday, January 10th: 2:30 am – 10:30 am
  • Marathon, Sunday, January 11th: 2:30 am – 1:30 pm

Staging Area & Start Corrals

When you arrive at the Epcot parking lot, you will be directed to a large staging area before the corrals open.  This is where you will find bag check, water stations, photo ops and most importantly Port-a-Potties.  The corrals for the 5K & 10K will be located in the Explore Lot (see map below) and you will need to be in those corrals 30 minutes prior to the race.

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The corrals for the Half Marathon & Marathon are located on Epcot Center Drive.  This is approximately a 20 minute walk from the staging area, so make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to get over there.  You can find your corral placement by printing your waiver and finding the corresponding corral for your bib number.

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Race Bibs

Bibs must be centered on the front of your shirt.  Safety pins will be provided in your race packet at the expo.  Do not bend our fold your bib, as the ChronoTrack B-tag will be affixed to the back of the bib which will be used to track your time.  If your bib is not properly centered, damaged or covered, your time may not be recorded properly.  Your bib will also be used for the on course photographers, so make sure the number is clearly visible.

If you are participating in Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge, you will be given one bib for both races.  If you are participating in the Dopey Challenge, you will be given 2 bibs.  One for the 5K & 10K and one for the half marathon and marathon.  Keep good care of these throughout the weekend!

Pacing Requirements

You must keep a minimum of 16-minutes per mile throughout the race or you will run the risk of being picked up and brought to the finish line.  Keep this in mind if you are planning to stop for character photos.  Those lines can get long and it’s easy to lose track of time.  Pace cyclists and the dreaded balloon ladies will be on the course to let you know if you have fallen behind.

Aid Stations

There will be 2 water stops along the 5K course and 3 water stops along the 10K course.  No PowerAde or fuel will be provided for either of these races.

For the Half Marathon, there will be 9 PowerAde and water stops along the course and there will be one food station at mile 8.5 that will have Clif Shots available.  For the Marathon, there will be 19 PowerAde and water stops along the course and 4 food stops.  Bananas will be available at miles 11.5 & 18.3.  Clif Shots will be available at miles 15.4 & 19.4.  In additions, there will be sponges distributed at mile 15.4 as you enter the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and candy will be available when you enter the Studios at mile 22.5.

Tip for you: Hang on to the sponge for the remainder of the race and soak it in water at the following water stops to keep you refreshed!

Aid stations will be located approximately 1.5 miles apart from each other for both races.  The PowerAde flavor is lemon-lime, so if that isn’t your thing you should carry your own.  Same goes for the fuel stops…don’t rely on those if you have trained with other products.

Course Maps

Walt Disney World 5K & 10K

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Walt Disney World Half Marathon

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Walt Disney World Marathon

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More information on other events like the Kids Races is available on the runDisney website and in the Official Event Guide for the weekend.  Also, check out some of my packing tips as your get ready to travel and more tips on getting ready for your runcation from RAD contributor Hannah!

Best of  luck to everyone taking on one or all of the races over marathon weekend!  I will sadly not be there, but be assured that I will be stalking my social media feeds and cheering you all on!

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Sneak Peak at the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Merchandise

Today runDisney released some photos of what you will find at the Health & Fitness Expo taking place January 7-10, 2015 during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend!  Since this is the largest runDisney race weekend you can expect to find a LARGE assortment of merchandise items from shirts, hats, pins, glasses,

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Here we have some of the overall Marathon Weekend items.  As always, I love the pint glass but I especially LOVE the edition of the new runDisney Magic Band!!  Those will surely sell out quickly!

2015 Coast to Coast & 2016 In Training

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Here are the designs for the 2015 Coast to Coast shirts featuring the Partners Medal design which is a great addition.  If you have your sights already set on a 2016 race, you can also pick up an “In Training” shirt to keep you motivated throughout the year.

I Did It!

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Each race and challenge over Marathon Weekend features it’s very own “I Did It!” merchandise.  You can pick up one or six if them if you are taking on the Dopey Challenge!

There is also a wide variety of options that feature all the events…I’m loving the addition of tank tops this year, something I have been asking for for a LOOOOONG time!!

WDW Half Marathon

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WDW Marathon

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Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge

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Dopey Challenge

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WOW…that’s a lot of stuff!! As with most runDisney expos, it’s best to get there as early as possible if you have your heart set on certain items since they tend to sell out quickly.  It’s hard to pick favorites out of all this great merch, but I’d have to go with the entire runDisney glass set, the aqua Marathon hoodie and BondiBand, and the pink Goofy pullover hoodies as my favorites.  What will you be getting over Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend??

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2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Dooney & Bourke Bags

2015 WDW Marathon Dooney Bags

Here they are…the NEW Dooney & Bourke designs for the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend!  There will be 5 designs available for pick up at the Health & Fitness Expo during Marathon Weekend in January.  Let’s take a closer look:

Lexi Crossbody – $159

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The Smith Bag – $360

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Slim Wristlet – $98

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The Satchel – $269

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There will also be a Letter Carrier for $189 available for purchase.  You can pre-purchase any of these bags right now by going here and clicking “Register Now.”  Make note that you can ONLY pick up these items at the Expo and they will not be mailed to you or refunded if you can’t make it.

What do you think of the new designs?  Will you be splurging in 2015 to commemorate Marathon Weekend?

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Castaway Cay Challenge Added To 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

Looks like the rumors are true and runDisney will be hosting a cruise following the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend!  The 4-night cruise will depart from Cape Canaveral on Monday, January 12, 2015 taking runners to Nassau and Castaway Cay.  On January 14th, the inaugural Disney Castaway Cay Challenge will be taking place where participants in any of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend races will be able to earn TWO MORE MEDALS – the Castaway Cay 5K medallion and the inaugural Disney Castaway Cay Challenge medal!!  That means if you are taking on the Dopey Challenge, you can earn 8 medals in one week!

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Participants in the inaugural Disney Castaway Cay Challenge will receive:

  • Castaway Cay Challenge Inaugural Event T-Shirt
  • Commemorative Castaway Cay 5K Finisher Medallion
  • Commemorative  Inaugural Castaway Cay Challenge Finisher Medal for participating in one Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 5K or longer event PLUS the Castaway Cay 5K
  • Post-race refreshments
  • Exciting Activities and access to Special Merchandise on board Disney Cruise Line
  • Featured Healthy Menu Options on board Disney Cruise Line

So here’s what you need to do.  Head on over to www.disneycruise.com and book the January 12, 2015 cruise on the Disney Dream.  Make sure to use the promotional code RUN when booking.  Then on May 23rd, register for the Castaway Cay Challenge at www.rundisney.com.  You should book your cruise BEFORE registering for the challenge because you will need to enter your reservation number when registering.  I’m sure the cruise will now fill up very fast and the challenge is sure to sell out quickly, so make plans soon!

Here is the official press release from runDisney:

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (May 14, 2014) – Runners taking part in the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend can add the ultimate finish to their experience – the new Disney Castaway Cay Challenge, a joint venture by runDisney and Disney Cruise Line.

After competing in the 5K, 10K, half marathon and/or full marathon during the Disney Marathon Weekend (January 7-11), runners can compete Jan. 14 in the Disney Castaway Cay Challenge, a special 5K race on Disney Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line’s private Bahamas island. Every runner who finishes this new runDisney Challenge event will earn two medals – an inaugural Disney Castaway Cay Challenge medal and a Castaway Cay 5K medallion, plus any medals earned for running any Disney Marathon Weekend events (5K, 10K, half marathon or full marathon).  

The Castaway Cay Challenge takes place during the 4-night Disney Dream cruise itinerary that sets sail Jan. 12, 2015 from Port Canaveral, Florida and includes a stop in Nassau in addition to Castaway Cay. The cruise will feature exclusive activities designed for Castaway Cay Challenge participants, plus special menu items and merchandise.

To sign up for the Castaway Cay Challenge, runners must book the Jan. 12, 2015 Disney Dream cruise at www.disneycruise.com and then register for the Castaway Cay Challenge at www.runDisney.com. Race registration opens May 23.

What do you think of this news?  Will you be taking on the inaugural Disney Castaway Cay Challenge? 

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