The Metamorphosis of the runDisney Community

Oh my how times have changed.  When I ran my first Disney race back in 2010, there was a VERY different vibe.  We were all out there having fun and running a race as part of our family vacation.  No pressure…just fun!


I met all of the people in this photo (well except B) in the online Disney community…Twitter, Facebook, message boards, etc…  We had a love for the parks and wanted to try a new experience since we had all visited the parks a bagillion times.

In the past 2 years as the popularity of runDisney races has grown, so has the online community.  Overall, this has been more than wonderful.  It has given me the opportunity to meet so many interesting and inspiring people who share the same interests as I do.  I started this blog as a place to share my love for all things Disney, including the races, and I finally felt like I found a place where I belonged and was accepted for who I am.  The support that I received was beyond anything that I expected and all I wanted to do (and continue to want to do) is support he community back.

RAD Meet Up

Unfortunately when groups grow, negativity is bound to creep in.  Cliques form and jealousy rears its ugly head…it’s human nature.  It always reminds me of this:

This craziness has seemed to have gotten worse with the introduction of the runDisney meet up/tweet up.  Ever since the first one two years ago, people have progressively gotten crazier about getting into one of these events.  I have been fortunate enough to have been invited to a few of these events as media, and yes they are pretty fun, but they are not worth getting mean and spiteful over.

I have seen so much ugliness surrounding the past few race weekends in the days leading up to a meet up announcement.  (If you’re not familiar with how these announcements work, here is a great post the ins and outs)  This has happened yet again in the past few days in various online groups and it has made me incredibly sad.  I have always tried to stay out of these conversations and remain neutral, as I see validity in both sides of the various arguments like: Should people be allowed to attend more than one meet up?  Is the selection process fair?  Etc…   However, I don’t like when people start becoming mean and spiteful.  Saying hurtful comments in an open forum or behind other people’s back is not ok.  That is not why we’re here people!

Running is hard enough.  We put our bodies through hell to achieve a personal goal and when we find other crazies who enjoy doing the same thing, we should embrace that.  Being a Disney nerd is hard enough.  We are constantly having to justify our desire to not want to grow up and spending all of our vacation time at a “kid’s park” (oh how they’re missing out!).  Finding others to share in our geekiness is a gift!  To find people who share in both interests is rare and should not be taken for granted.  We might not all share the same views, but damn it let’s at least be civil to each other.

So as Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend gets ever closer, let’s all remember why we do this.  This is supposed to be fun.  Those races should put a smile on your face and you should look forward to every second of it.  You are lucky to even have the opportunity to run and you are creating memories that will last a lifetime.  Yes, it might not seem like it after shelling out all that cash and not being able to walk for a few days, but trust me it’s worth it!

Have I liked everyone I’ve met in the runDisney community?  NO…big fat NO!  But that doesn’t mean I should ever be mean to them or take away from their magical experience.  I hope as a community we can all get past this petty fighting and embrace each other.  Don’t get sucked into the drama and just smile…negativity won’t help you cross that finish line.

Finish Line

RAD Signature 100x75


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  • So true Sarah! I have been running Disney races for years, sometimes with friends, sometimes family. Each event has been magical in its own special unique way. I have enjoyed reading your blog, originally following because you were a fellow DVC member who also participated in the events. I have gained a lot of tips from your posts. It’s been fun to see your meet-up coverage but I have never had the desire to waste my time stalking their sites to get in. One Princess Half event I sat chatting in The Race Retreat with a Disney Mom I met as we sipped our mimosas waiting for our friends to finish….that was pretty cool 🙂 I hate to hear people bickering about what is a special opportunity for many. Heck, i just want to get over to one of YOUR RAD meet-ups 🙂 Here’s to a magical Happy Running year 🙂

    • Thankfully this is a small group of people creating dramarama and most are wonderfully supportive. I love that race retreat story and that’s what these race weekends are all about. I really hope to meet you at a RAD meet one of these days! Will you be at Princess?

  • It has been hard to comprehend what has happened online due to these special events. Yes, we enjoyed several of the meetups, but the sense of entitlement and unhappiness over them has grown so much in the last year. Running and the joy of the Disney races is really what it is all about and you wrote the perfect post….thanks for this Sarah!

    • Thanks Pam…it really is sad how ugly this makes people. Thanks for being so supportive over the past few years…you and Christine are amazing!

  • What’s amazing is hundreds of people griping about something most of them wouldn’t have gotten into to begin with IF they even held it this year! Lets just go have fun in Disney!

  • I’m not going to lie; I would really, really, really like to attend a meetup. I’ll be celebrating my 10th year of runDisney racing (first was WDW Marathon in 2004), and I would be super interested in learning how they’ve evolved over the years. I think it’s only the online community thats gone a bit sour because of the meet ups, and yes, there was disappointment from one not happening this weekend. It would have been a logistic nightmare with the Dopey Challenge, and a meetup is a bonus (not a ‘given’ event at each race weekend). I’m looking forward to the weekend with my husband, and I’m happy to have adult time in the Parks (our children will not be joining us on this trip). If the opportunity arises for a Princess half marathon weekend meetup, I hope to have my email reply in early. If not, I’m still at the most magical place with my most favorite people 🙂

  • Can you please explain what a “meet-up” is? I have no clue what you are talking about. I am running my first ever half marathon at WDW this Saturday and am looking forward to the day more than you know. What kind of negativity are you talking about? This is a sporting event, so I do not understand. Can you please enlighten me?

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