Posts Tagged by wdw half marathon

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend By The Numbers

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is in full swing and over 100,000 runners and their families have descended upon the resort.  As someone who loves some good statistics, I enjoy seeing some of these fun facts about the race weekend…

Fact Sheet - Marathon

Check out the girl power!  57% of the participants are female…go ladies!!  I think what amazes me most about this race weekend is that even with all these people participating in 4 races over 4 days, everything seems to run effortlessly.  That’s what makes runDisney races so magical and what keeps us all coming back year after year.

Best of luck to all the participants this weekend!!

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For more fun Disney facts, head over to my friend Tony’s site Disney by the Numb3rs where you’re sure to be amazed by some of the Disney stats you will find.

Sneak Peak at the 2016 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Merchandise

Yesterday runDisney released a first look at some of the merchandise you will find at the Health & Fitness Expo during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. (Side note: Shouldn’t they just be calling it WDW Marathon WEEK by now??)  There are the usual shirts and hats, but there are also some fun new additions this year.  Let’s check it all out!

runDisney WDW Marathon Weekend 2016

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Right off the bat, I’m loving the use of the original Walt Disney World logo.  It gives everything a bit of a retro feel which this WDW enthusiast loves!  My favorite item at any runDisney race weekend is the glassware, pint glasses in particular.  I collect them from all the races I’ve done and use them as my daily water glasses.  It’s a fun daily reminder of those events!

WDW 5K, WDW 10K & Kids Races

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As usual, the merch for the Kids Races is the coolest!  Steamboat Willie is super cute and I just love the “Future Runner” shirt.  I might have to pick one of those up in the future for a certain little someone 😉

WDW Half Marathon

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Look…pants!  From the photo, they look like women’s capris, but it sounds like there will be both pants and shorts available for certain races.  Their a bit busy for my taste, but I like that they are adding new items.

WDW Marathon

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Goofy’s Race & a Half Challenge

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Dopey Challenge

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Come to think of it, all these designs are a bit busy this year.  What are your thoughts?  I’m sure this is only a fraction of what you will find at the Expo.  I can’t wait to see what the 2016 Vinylmation looks like!

If you are headed to the WDW Marathon Weekend Health & Fitness Expo, make sure to arrive early if you have your heart set on a particular item.  Also, stay tuned for information in the next few days on the new runDisney New Balance shoe design that will be released at the Expo.

What do you have your sights set on?

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Registration Opens at Noon for the 2016 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

It’s that time of year again…registration for the 2016 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is upon us.  Let the chaos begin!!

08 Runners at Start Line

This HUGE race weekend takes place January 6 – 10, 2016 with over 50,000 runners descending upon the Walt Disney World Resort.  This is clearly the ultimate runner’s family vacation.  There is something for everyone!  From the youngest in the family to the Dopiest of runners, you are sure to find an event that fits you and your family.  Registration opens today at noon and you can click here to register for any (or all) of the events.   

Since these race weekends have been selling out in record time (as little as 25 minutes for some!), runDisney has shared some helpful tips for making sure you get into the race you want.  Mainly, be ready at 12:00 pm EST sharp and have everyone in your party register for themselves.

2016 WDW Marathon Registration Tips

Prices for the races have increased anywhere from 3-8% this year, with the exception of the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge and the Kids Races which stayed the same from 2015.  The prices are as follows:

Dopey Challenge

  • $550 by May 19, 2015
  • $580 between May 20 and June 9, 2015
  • $610 on or after June 10, 2015

Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge

  • $360 by May 19, 2015
  • $380 between May 20and June 9, 2015
  • $400 on or after June 10, 2015

Walt Disney World Marathon

  • $175 by May 19, 2015
  • $190 between May 20 and June 9, 2015
  • $205 on or after June 10, 2015

Walt Disney World Half Marathon

  • $175 by May 19, 2015
  • $190 between May 20 and June 9, 2015
  • $205 on or after June 10, 2015

Walt Disney World 10K

  • $110 by May 19, 2015
  • $125 between May 20 and June 9, 2015
  • $140 on or after June 10, 2015

Disney Family Fun Run 5K

  • $65 per participant by June 9, 2015
  • $75 on or after June 10, 2015

runDisney Kids’ Races

  • $15 per child by June 9, 2015
  • $20 on or after June 10, 2015

Mickey Mile

  • $30 per child by June 9, 2015
  • $35 on or after June 10, 2015

Disney Castaway Cay Challenge

  • $75  (A reservation on the January 11, 2016 Disney Dream 4-Night Bahamian Cruise is required in order to participate)

Race Retreat Packages

  • $120 Full Marathon
  • $120 Half Marathon
  • $230 Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge
  • $230 Dopey Challenge

Pasta in the Park Parties

  • $54 per adult
  • $30 per child

Family Reunion Breakfast

  • $40 per adult (ages 10 and up)
  • $30 per child (ages 3 – 9)

Don’t forget that DVC members receive a discount on runDisney events!  Make sure to visit your member page to obtain the discount codes.

As usual for most runDisney events, packet pick-up will be required at the Health & Fitness Expo held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex beginning Wednesday, January 6th.  There are so many other great events over the weekend, like the Pasta in the Park Party, Cool Down Party and more!  Visit the runDisney event page for more information on all of the events taking place that weekend.

Looking for a hotel room for the Marathon Weekend?  Kingdom Magic Vacations can lock in 2015 rates for you now and by booking with them you will get tons of extra perks!  Click here to get a FREE quote.

Check out some posts from the past few WDW Marathon Weekends to get you excited for the big weekend!

2015

2014

2013

So what race will you be running over Marathon Weekend?  

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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!

Running Her First Marathon in This Year’s Goofy Challenge

The Goofy Race and a Half Challenge is just that…a BIG challenge!  Well imagine running your first marathon as part of the challenge…well that’s just Goofy!  Well that’s exactly what Gabby did this year and she killed both races!  Check it out…

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This year, during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend I completed the Goofy Challenge. Side note: this was also my first marathon! When runDisney released the Goofy Challenge 10 year anniversary medal I fell in love! I had already been considering the full marathon for 2015, but never considered Goofy until I saw the medal. I showed it to my husband and he then proceeded to convince me that not only could I complete it, but that he would do it with me (he had never run a half at this point), along with my best friend Em.

So we signed up in April and the three of us began our training in July. We modified the Jeff Galloway plan on the runDisney website. Our longest back-to-back run was 10 miles Saturday and 20 miles Sunday. Though the original plan had called for slightly longer distances, this worked for us and felt like enough training to get us to the finish line.

Half Marathon

Saturday morning finally rolled around and we were up at 3:30 a.m. for the half. We stayed at the Polynesian so that we could just hop on the monorail to Epcot at about 4:15 a.m. We stopped at the porta-potties and then made the cattle crawl to our corrals, while the National Anthem was being sung. I dropped back to corral M so that I could run with Em. We had about a 45-50 minute wait until it was our corrals start time. Despite the weather being colder than anticipated, I was so ready to run. I knew once I got going that I would warm up and that’s exactly what happened. I dressed up as Mr. Smee, but had to add a long sleeved shirt and capris to the outfit.

MrSmee

The plan was to take it easy during the half to save our legs for the full marathon the next day. Em and I felt great after running 2:45 at Wine and Dine so that was our goal. We always run at least the first mile straight at Disney races so that the crowd thins out a little, before converting to our 4:1 run-walk intervals. Well, the crowds didn’t really thin liked we’d hoped it would after a mile (spoiler alert: it was like this the entire race!). Unfortunately, we ended up having to do a lot of weaving and dodging to get around people the duration of the race.

Stilts

These guys did a great job cheering. “Pumpin Up the Party” was playing and I find that song so catchy!

My favorite part of the half marathon is miles 4-7. You go under the Magic Kingdom sign and then through the transportation and ticket center. The energy level of the spectators there was incredible! Definitely a highlight from the races on both Saturday and Sunday. People had some hilarious signs at the TTC that also kept me chuckling. I gave out lots of high fives here.

MKsign

Then we then came up on the tunnel that takes you to the Contemporary. The DJ on top of the bridge is pretty awesome and keeps your energy level up. Then before I knew it we entered a backstage area and were headed towards Main Street USA! I couldn’t believe everything was still decorated for Christmas!

Tree

CastlewithEm

The crowds were ok until we got to the castle where we had to walk because people just weren’t moving. I took the opportunity to get a shot looking down Main Street from the Castle.

MainStreet

We headed past the Grand Floridian and Polynesian and back down World Drive. I really enjoyed the music that they were blasting between miles 11-12 prior to entering Epcot. They had a large screen with cartoons on it that kind of went with the music.

Mime

GenieandAbu

We didn’t stop for a picture with the Mime or Genie and Abu because the lines were crazy, but here are some random people with them.

HalfSelfie

Right before entering Epcot there was a DJ blasting “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” by Whitney Houston and that gave me a huge burst of energy and I was ready to finish strong! We dashed through Epcot in what seemed like a few seconds, passed the Gospel Choir and there it was – the finish line! We finished in 2:59:32 and were feeling great! One third of the Goofy Challenge was now complete. After lots of stretching we headed back to the Poly to relax for the rest of the day.

HalfMedals

HalfFinish

Full Marathon

We once again woke up at 3:30 am, but were definitely dragging a little more than the day prior. After getting dressed and going outside we were pleasantly surprised that the weather was much warmer than the day before! So we walked to the TTC and boarded a monorail directly to Epcot. I was a ball of emotion the day of the marathon.

The first 8 miles of the course are the same as the half. I was excited to see what the speedway had in store for us. First of all, I was not expecting the steady decline that was immediately followed up by a steady incline to get onto the speedway. Overall, the speedway wasn’t bad. I just had no idea just how huge it would be from the inside!

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BestDay

Speedway

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Mile 11 brought the smelliness of the water treatment plant on Disney property. I found it hilarious that they had signs with fun facts all along the road where the treatment plant was. I guess they thought it would occupy our minds from the smell.

Next up was Animal Kingdom! Outside of Animal Kingdom they had some animals with signs/bibs on. It was adorable! It felt like Animal Kingdom went by in the blink of an eye. Before I knew it, we were crossing the split timer for the half marathon!

Everest

Miles14-17 lead us to ESPN wide world of sports. Around mile 16 there was a DJ blasting the best songs at the top of a slight hill. Cameron and I loved this part of the race! My husband teaches 3rd grade and his kids love Phineas and Ferb. When we saw them around mile 16 with no line we knew we had to stop. (I’ve never even seen the show, haha!)

PhineasandFerb

ESPN was pretty boring, which I had already mentally prepared myself for. Around mile 18 I started to struggle which continued through mile 22. There was a weird hill/slant combo between miles 21-22 that was awful. My legs just weren’t having it and hurt pretty badly.

 

Stadium

When we got to Hollywood Studios I was expecting there to be a mass amount of people cheering, but it turned out that not many people were in the park at that time. The disco tunnel had flashing lights, but no music playing which was really strange. Leaving Hollywood Studios there were a lot of people lining the course outside of the park which was awesome! I love this part of the course when we get to run around the boardwalk and towards Epcot. I saw two girls from #TeamSparkle cheering by the slight uphill heading toward Epcot. It was exactly what I needed to get me through the last portion of the race.

TeamSparkle

Photo Credit: Sparkle Athletic

We saw the mile 25 sign and I told Cameron I just wanted to run the rest of the race and he agreed. Epcot was a complete blur I just wanted to see that finish line so badly. When we hit the 26th mile marker I was holding in tears because I knew I wouldn’t be able to breathe if I started crying. We crossed the finish line and all of the built up emotion hit me and I broke down. It was an incredible moment.

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GabMedal

Finishers

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Goofy Challenge Overview

Doing the Goofy Challenge as my first marathon was definitely risky. Prior to the start of training the longest run I had ever done was 14 miles. Luckily, my body adapted well to running longer distances. I feel that if you train properly (logging enough miles, stretching, icing, foam rolling) then Goofy Challenge is an attainable goal, even as your first marathon. Just be prepared that your life will revolve around training on the weekends. Completing the runs scheduled for Saturday and Sunday is the key to completing Goofy Challenge as it preps your body for what is to come.

Something new this year with the Goofy Challenge is that they took your picture with your bib at the expo. Then after you finished the half and full you also had your picture taken as proof of finishing (along with your time). After the full marathon they used a computer to type in your bib number and verify that you qualified for the Goofy medal. Dopey Challengers did the same thing. This replaced the prior armband system.

Overall, WDW Marathon weekend was an awesome experience and I’m so lucky to have been present two years in a row! The feeling of being surrounded by so many people who have the same passion that I do is indescribable. I now wonder what it would be like to run a marathon on fresh legs…hmmm. Hopefully I’ll find out someday!

postrace

Goofy

Celebrating with Goofy was a must!

*****

My name is Gabby and I blog over at The Running Goober. I live in Virginia and work as a Registered Nurse. Running and strength training are my favorite ways to stay active. I started distance running in the fall of 2013 and ran my first half marathon at Disney World in January 2014. Since then I have completed 5 more half-marathons and 1 full marathon.

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