Posts Tagged by Half Marathon

A Look at the Inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend – The Dark Side Medals

The highly anticipated Inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend – The Dark Side is only a few short weeks away and runDisney has released a look at the amazing medals.  I think these might be the coolest ones yet!

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Let’s look at the detail…

Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side

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Super cool spinner featuring Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine.

Star Wars 10K

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Dark Side Challenge

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Received for completing the 10K & Half Marathon.

Kessel Run Challenge

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Received for those who completed this race and the Star Wars Half Marathon – The Light Side in Disneyland back in January.

Star Wars 5K

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Star Wars Kids Races

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Dare I say that I am siding with The Empire and prefer these medals to the The Light Side Weekend??  And can you believe the GIANT Millennium Falcon you will receive for the Kessel Run Challenge?!  That is definitely a goal of mine for the future…how about you?

Which medals do you prefer, The Dark Side or The Light Side??

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Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Announced for Walt Disney World!

For those of us on the East Coast, our wishes have been answered!!  Today runDisney has announced that a second Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend will be coming to Walt Disney World on April 14-17, 2016!

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This weekend is called “The Dark Side” and will feature all of the dark forces in the galaxy.  Along with the Half Marathon, there will be a 5K, 10K and Kids Races.  There will also be a challenge called the Dark Side Challenge, the counter to the Rebel Challenge in Disneyland, for those taking on the 10K and Half Marathon.  This will feature a special Death Star medal…say wha?!?!?

Better yet for those taking on the Kessel Run Challenge, running the Star Wars “Coast to Coast” in one year, will receive a Millennium Falcon inspired medal…O.M.G!!!  This is a huge incentive for those already registered for the Star Wars Half in Disneyland to add another race to their schedule.  I simply can’t wait to see these medals!

The race weekend will go on sale September 22nd, with possible DVC and Passholder advanced registration a week or 2 earlier.  Stay tuned for updates.

Here is the official press release:

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL (Aug. 25, 2015) – runDisney is summoning the Force today to announce another Star Wars-inspired intergalactic journey, this time to the dark side.

The “Star Wars Half Marathon – the Dark Side” enters the galaxy April 14-17, 2016, at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and pays homage to the dark side forces of the Star Wars universe. This new race follows the debut of the popular Star Wars-themed race at Disneyland Resort, which will return in January as the “Star Wars Half Marathon – the Light Side”.

“Ever since we launched the Star Wars race at Disneyland Resort, runners have been clamoring for more, so we’re thrilled to bring the Star Wars franchise together with the runDisney brand to Walt Disney World Resort,’’ said Maribeth Bisienere, senior vice president of Disney Sports Enterprises. “If the inaugural Star Wars race at Disneyland Resort is any indication, this new running adventure to the dark side is sure to be the out-of-this-world experience that runners have come to expect at runDisney events.’’

The new Star Wars race at Walt Disney World Resort will be a journey of personal achievement all its own, involving kids’ races, a 5K and a 10K in addition to the half marathon, plus a variety of Star Wars experiences, medals, events and merchandise inspired by a galaxy far, far away. Among its many features will be a unique 13.1-mile course that propels runners through Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios and finishes at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. There will also be a Star Wars Dark Side Challenge — running the 10K and the half marathon on consecutive days – that offers each finisher a Death Star-themed medal.

Jedi and Sith Lords who dare to experience both Star Wars races will have the chance to take on the Kessel Run Challenge — completing the Star Wars half marathon missions on both coasts. Kessel Run Challenge runners can earn a commemorative “Coast to Coast” medal inspired by the Millennium Falcon starship. Race registration opens Sept. 22 at www.runDisney.com.

The addition of this second Star Wars race continues the recent wave of significant growth and popularity of runDisney events domestically and internationally. This is the second new runDisney race announced for 2016, joining the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Weekend (Sept. 23-25 at Disneyland Paris), and the fourth addition to the runDisney series in the last two years (Star Wars Half Marathon at Disneyland Jan. 2015 and Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend Nov. 2014).

Each year more than 200,000 runners sign up for runDisney events, which often sell out in record time.

“We are committed to creating extraordinary experiences and events that appeal to runners of all ages and attract even more fans of our various brands and franchises to the sport of running, creating opportunities for them to live a healthier and more active lifestyle,’’ said Bisienere.

Will you be going to the Dark Side next year?  Are you as excited as I am?!

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Registration Opens Today for the 2015 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon

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Registration opens today at Noon EST for the 2015 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend!  Named as the perfect “Runner’s Night Out,” this race takes you through 3 Walt Disney World parks and ends at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.  How can you go wrong with that?!

All running events take place on Saturday, November 7th beginning with Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K at 7:00 am at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  (Here’s a great review of that race from 2013!)  Later that morning at the New Balance Track & Field Complex, located at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex (WWOS), are the Kids Races with the dashes starting at 10:00 am and the 1-mile run at 10:45 am.  And if that’s not enough running for one day, the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon starts at 10:00 pm in the WWOS parking lot.  This nighttime race takes runners through Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and finishes at Epcot…the only Disney Half Marathon to take you through 3 parks…and ends with free beer & wine at the finish!

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Other events taking place over the weekend are the Pre-Race Taste and the Finish Line Party.  The Pre-Race Taste is a 1 1/2 hour event on Friday, November 6th located at Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! Theater inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios and features food from the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, entertainment and unique photo opportunities.  The Finish Line Party is a great event for runners and their supporters.  It takes place at Epcot following the Wine & Dine Half Marathon where select attractions including Soarin’, Test Track and Mission: SPACE are open until 4:00 am for those attending the party.  Another added bonus is that all of the Food & Wine Festival kiosks are open during the party to feed your post race hunger!!

Pricing for the events are as follows:

Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon

  • $190 by March 31, 2015
  • $205 between April 1 and April 14, 2015
  • $220 on or after April 15, 2015

Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K

  • $65 by April 14, 2015
  • $75 on or after April 15, 2015

runDisney Kids’ Races

  • $15 by April 14, 2015
  • $20 on or after April 15, 2015

runDisney 1-Mile Run

  • $30 by April 14, 2015
  • $35 on or after April 15, 2015

Disney Wine & Dine Pre-Race Taste Tickets

  • $79 for Adults (ages 3 and up)
  • Children under 3 do not need a ticket

Finish Line Party Tickets

  • $75 by August 12, 2015
  • $85 between August 13 and October 28, 2015
  • $95 on or after October 29, 2015

The price tag for the Wine & Dine Half Marathon is a bit higher than other Disney races, but it includes a few extra perks.  You get the usual amazing Disney entertainment on the course, a long sleeve tech shirt, and race medal, but also included is admission to the Finish Line Party at Epcot and a $15 gift card (increased from $10 in previous years) to use at the Food & Wine Festival kiosks!

Packet pick-up will be required at the Health & Fitness Expo held at WWOS beginning November 6, 2015.  Remember you MUST pick up your own packet.  Visit the runDisney event page for more information on all of the events taking place that weekend and click here to register for any (or all!) of the events beginning at noon today.

rad-wine-dine-aLooking for a place to stay over Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend?  Kingdom Magic Vacations has rooms available at various Walt Disney World resorts from Value to Deluxe.  Not only will they get you the best rate, but they are experts when it comes to running at Disney.  They will help you plan the perfect racecation and take care of every little detail for you.  All you have to do is the training!  Click here to get a free quote.

You can also check out some of these RAD recaps for more info on what the events are like:

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As per usual with runDisney races lately, this is sure to sell out quickly.  Make sure you are at your computer with credit card in hand when the clock strikes noon!  This is such a fun race and I can’t say enough good things about it…well if the weather cooperates. 🙂  Will you be running in 2015? 

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The 2015 Walt Disney World Half Marathon

There really isn’t anything like the first time you make that right hand turn down Main Street USA and run towards Cinderella’s Castle during a runDisney event.  No matter how many races you have run or how many times you have visited the Magic Kingdom as a park guest, this feeling is like no other.  This is one of the many reasons that makes the Walt Disney World Half Marathon so special and Erica here today to share her entire experience with us! 

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I first discovered the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend back in 2007. I just so happened to be in Epcot as the marathon was wrapping up. I remember seeing all these people running, (most of them in fun costumes), and thought “ I want to do that!”. Well, it’s now 2015 and I finally did it! The Half marathon that is. I will run the full marathon one day!

I ran this race with my husband Erik. This was our second half as we had run the Wine and Dine in 2013. It was quite a difference starting a race at 5:30am instead of 10:00pm (like the Wine and Dine does). I was worried about the 2:45am wake up call, but we managed to haul ourselves out of our nice warm bed and get ready to run! I was also a bit nervous about making it to the corrals on time. This year we stayed off site which meant we had to provide our own transportation. There were many warnings posted at the expo, the runDisney site, and on the roads themselves about closures and to expect significant delays. We left the house around 3:15am and had a very easy drive. There were no closures or delays from the way we came so it was all good!

It was a chilly morning but not as bad as the morning of the 5K which we also ran. I wish we would have brought some throw away clothes and gloves, especially since we were dressed as Flynn Ryder and Rapunzel (I may be from Canada but I was still freezing in my dress!). I also struggled to take pictures as my fingers were so frozen.

Time seemed to go by pretty quickly and it wasn’t long before it was time to get in our corrals. We were corral L, the corrals went up to P.

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The corrals were sent off about 3 minutes apart, each getting it’s own fireworks display ( I love how Disney does the same for every corral, not just the faster ones). Once again time went by fast and we were off running!

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It was so nice to start running and warm up, plus we were heading to the Magic Kingdom! The road to get there was a bit dull however. There were some characters ( such as Captain Jack Sparrow with Captain Barbosa), but we didn’t stop for any pictures. There was a huge banner along the road to that I really liked but the wind wasn’t cooperating so I missed out on getting picture. Finally though, we arrived at Main Street USA. Wow. Just wow. I’ve read about how amazing it is to turn into Main St and see all the people cheering you on and see the castle, but it was even better in person. I would have loved to be running down it when it was dark since the castle was lit up but the sun was coming out by the time we got there.

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We then took a right into Tomorrowland and then on to Fantasyland. We headed through the back of the castle ( where Anna, Elsa and Kristoff were waiting to cheer us on) then off towards Frontierland. We went backstage through where the parade starts in Frontierland and out towards the Grand Floridian. I actually quite liked the stretch near the Grand Floridian and golf course. It seemed peaceful (even with thousands of other runners surrounding us).

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We made it just past the halfway point on our way back to Epcot and were pleased to know that we were still on target to finish in under 3 hours which was our goal.

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As we looped back towards Epcot, we looked back and could not believe just how many runners there were. I mean, I know there are tens of thousands but it didn’t really sink in until this point.

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We made it to mile 9 and then my knee started to act up a bit. Luckily it wasn’t too bad and aside from a couple extended walk breaks, we kept our pace up pretty good.

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Before we knew it, we were passing the mile 13 marker!

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That meant that we only had point one miles to go! No matter how tired and hurting you are, that mile 13 marker can sure give you a boost. Our finish time was 2:56:12. Under 3 hours!!

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It was such a good feeling crossing that finish line and receiving our medals. We skipped getting our pictures taken and headed off to grab the runDisney snack boxes and various other drinks and snacks.

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Overall, we had an absolute blast running this race. The early wake up and chilly temperature (at least this year) were well worth it in the end. I cannot wait for our next runDisney event! And of course, none of these races would be as fun or run as smooth if it wasn’t for the thousands of volunteers. From the people handing out water and The , to the people at bag check and the many just there to cheer on the runners, it is greatly appreciated (especially this year in the cooler temperatures. They are standing outside freezing their butts off just for us!).

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*****

My name is Erica Chapman. I live in Ontario, Canada and starting running 2012. I have ran four runDisney events and next up is the Glass Slipper Challenge in February. I plan on attempting the Dopey challenge in the future. I am in love with Disney World and visit every year. We even became DVC members in 2014.

A Race Retreat From The Cold

I’m often asked if Race Retreats are worth the extra cost.  While I’ve haven’t experienced one first hand, every time I see what they entail I think it might be in my future for an upcoming race.  Besides the warm area to wait for the race to start, there is tons of food, character photo ops and a stretching area.  

You might remember Jenn recently from The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler weekend where she covered the Villain’s Bash and gave some great tips on prepping for a night race vs. a morning race.  Well she’s back with a look inside the Race Retreat from this year’s Walt Disney World Half Marathon!  I’d love to hear what you think about the Race Retreat and if it’s something you will be doing for a runDisney race.

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Well, another fantastic WDW Marathon weekend has come to a close. Marathon Weekend is my favorite race in Walt Disney World. The excitement is palpable throughout the entire weekend, and I love how every runner is so supportive of one another. I have attended these weekends for 3 years straight, and I have experienced something new each time; and this year was no exception. First, I attended as a ChEAR Squad participant, watching my husband run his first half marathon. My second year, I attended both as a runner and a ChEAR Squad Member; there was no way I was ready to run 26.2 miles with my brave hubby! This year, I attended as a runner in the half marathon.

If you have been to any Disney races, you may be aware that many of them feature a Race Retreat. This is an optional extra that runners can purchase, and space is limited. The Race Retreat is open to runners and Platinum level ChEAR Squad participants, and I must say, it offers quite a few perks!

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First, a description: the Race Retreat is in essence a very large, climate-controlled tent. It is set up near the finish line, and it is open for both the Half-Marathon and the Full Marathon. This option is not provided for the Family 5K or the 10K. Within this space, there are several different areas, each providing comfort and convenience to the runners and spectators who have purchased access. You notice tables and chairs set up throughout the space, and as you may imagine, there is a nice spread of breakfast food available.

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The retreat also features changing areas, gEAR bag check, and private port-a-potties – and if you’ve ever participated in any race, Disney or not, you know how important port-a-potty access can be!

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The retreat opens at 3am for runners, stays open until 5am when the runners head to the corrals, and then re-opens at 5:30am for Platinum ChEAR Squad Members and runners. It stays open until 10am for the half-marathon, but of course, it’s ope later for the full. There are real-time updates on the runners available for spectators, as well as, you guessed it – food!

Speaking of food, you may be wondering what exactly is served. Before the race, runners can enjoy bagels, fruit, juice, coffee, water, and hot chocolate. There were mini-Cliff granola bars scattered on the tables, and muffins were also placed out about an hour after the retreat opened. And don’t worry – if you, like my mother, will only eat a toasted bagel, there are toasters available! There is also an assortment of jams, peanut butter, and cream cheese available as spread for your bagel.

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Of course, you are running in Disney, so there is bound to be some Disney magic, right? Right! Each year, the Race Retreat features character meet-and-greets! This year, in honor of the release of Toy Story 4 this coming April, we got to meet Buzz Lightyear, Woody, and Bulls-Eye!

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There were also some Green Army Men running around posing for pictures. One of them was particularly enamored with my husband’s fake Capt. Jack Sparrow dreds.

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Fair warning: the line for the character greet can get long, so you may want to do this first thing when you arrive.

Another fabulous area is a relaxation center, which features a TV and bean bag chairs. You can view a Disney movie in comfort here, and it is a popular space for kids once the ChEAR Squad is permitted to enter. It was completely full by 3:30am…runners like bean bag chair too, apparently!

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Of course, you are actually at the Race Retreat to run, so Disney has thought of many conveniences for race prep. I have already mentioned the private port-a-potties, which are located just outside the tent, but it is worth adding that there were no lines for this amenity. They also featured a hand wash station in addition to the hand sanitizer, which I personally appreciated.

One of the amenities inside the tent is a First-Aid Self-Treatment area. The table has an array of handy items, like band-aids, Bio-freeze, Tylenol, Vaseline, Skin Lube, and sunscreen.

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So if your gEAR bag is missing some important item, there’s a good chance it is here at the self-treatment station.

In addition to the First-Aid station, there is a Stretch Area. You can see in the picture that there are small tables around the perimeter. That is because this area is also utilized after the race for massages; you can pay $10 for a 10-minute massage.

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The stretch area got pretty full at around 4:30am, since that is prime time to check gEAR bags and prepare for the walk to the corrals.

Speaking of corrals, let’s talk about the walk to get there. The Race Retreat is a convenient distance from the finish line, which I definitely appreciated after 13.1 miles, but it is a solid 10-15 minute walk to get to the corrals. Since runners are supposed to be to the corrals by 5am, you need to plan accordingly to ensure you are on time (and to make sure you can use the non-private port-a-potties, if necessary).

By this time, it’s just about race time!

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As I mentioned earlier, the Race Retreat is actually closed to all runners/spectators from 5-5:30am. It then re-opens with an additional spread of food. This spread is more substantial than the pre-race goodies. Scrambled eggs with cheese (and salsa or ketchup, if you like), breakfast potatoes, turkey sausage, oatmeal with accompaniments, muffins, mixed fruit, granola, and greek yogurt are all available.

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Of course, there is also coffee a-plenty – thankfully! Juice, water, and hot chocolate are also available. The food is tasty, and the workers do a great job keeping it replenished.   Speaking of the workers, they are fabulous! They are friendly, helpful, and just all-around good people.

It is worth noting that Race Retreat runners get a “goody-bag”. This year, it was a drawstring bag promoting the new Disney movie, “MacFarland U.S.A.”, Champion socks, and a marathon sweat towel.

So, is it worth it? In my opinion, it absolutely is! Particularly this year, with temperatures in the upper-30s, it was fabulous to be warm while waiting for the race to begin. In other races where I have not utilized the retreat, I remember how long it felt while waiting in the corrals. I can only imagine how long that felt this year with the cold! I also liked that I didn’t need to worry about remembering to buy my pre-race food the evening before. It was nice being able to eat at a leisurely pace, and I was able to time it nicely with my start time.

Without the Retreat, I sometimes feel like I am forced to eat earlier than I otherwise would prefer to. The food offerings were exactly what I like to have, and so it took the guesswork out of my morning preparations. My parents enjoyed the Retreat as ChEAR Squad Members, and they were grateful for a warm place to sit and watch the finish line.

I am so glad that I was able to take advantage of the Race Retreat this year, and honestly, I will always purchase it from here on in – especially since next year MAY just be my year to brave 26.2!

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Jenn has been a lifelong Disney fan.  Her passion for the Mouse has only increased throughout the years.  She visits Disney Parks 2-3 times per year, often in conjunction with Disney Races.  In addition to being a fan, she plans Disney travel for others, hoping to share the Magic with everyone.  Through her Disney-themed blog & Facebook pages, she regularly tracks new and exciting changes to the Disney parks so she can share them with others.  Check out Jenn’s blog DISining Memories and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

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