Jillian Davis and I ran our first 5K together in 2010 and many others since, a few of which when she was pregnant with her adorable son Cole. Now she is turning him into a runDisney regular! I’m so excited to welcome her to Running at Disney (it’s about time!) to share her experience at the Kids Races during the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. Be prepared for some serious cuteness!!
During the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, runners race in the 5k, 10k, half marathon, full marathon, and combinations of those for the Goofy and Dopey. Did you know that runDisney puts on some of the best Kids Races too? Kids 13 all the way down to just learned how to crawl can participate in the Kids Races! There are five different categories to the Kids Races; a Diaper Dash for those 12 months and under, 100 Meter Dash for those 1-3 years old, 200 Meter Dash for those 4-6 years old, 400 Meter Dash for those 7-8 years old, and the Mickey Mile for those 13 years old and younger.
So far we’ve participated in three runDisney Kids Races with Cole (five overall kids races), and they are our favorite by far! He’ll be in the 100m Dash for a while since he’s not even two yet. Some things that make runDisney Kids Races our favorite include:
Pre-registration! I am able to sign him up at the same time I sign up for my races. All of the Dashes are $15, the Mickey Mile is $30, and they don’t go up in price the closer you get to race day. (Prices subject to change, but that’s what we’ve paid for two races last year and two this year.)
Dedicated space at the expo! The Kids Races have their own section at the expo, clearly marked and run just like the rest of the packet pick-ups for the rest of the races.
T-Shirt! Your little one will get their very own “I did it!” shirt. Shirt sizes go from 2T, 3T, 4T, Youth X-Small- X-Large and Adult Small. I love that the shirts go down that small. Little Man wears smaller sizes and the 2T is a good fit.
Medal! Most of us runners know that it is hard enough to find 5ks that give out medals. Well the runDisney Kids Races have them! If you’ve ever done a 5k with runDisney you know that they give out a rubberized medallion, well, that’s the kind of medal the kiddos get too! Little Man loves his little medal collection- (they are displayed on a hook he can reach) he constantly pulls them down, puts them on and parades around the house wearing them!
Personalized bibs! The Kids Races get a real race bib with their own number, and just like the longer races, if you get registered by a certain date, their name will also be on it! Another cool feature is for safety. There is a tear off parent claim ticket at the top. If your child races without you, you can only get into the finishers area by showing that claim number, that’s also how the VoluntEars know the children are leaving with the right people.
For the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, the runDisney Kids Races were held at ESPN Wide World of Sports, at the New Balance Track & Field Complex. This is where they have been held for the last three race weekends, in the past though, I have seen them held at Epcot after the Princess 5k there. They were held on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, with warm ups and activities starting at 10am. Personally, I felt that it was way late, especially after having run the 10k Friday morning, we were done by 8am….the other thing that bothered us was the actual start time- the 100m (remember 1-3 year olds) was at 11am, prime napping time. We heard several parents complain about that in our “corral”. Those we’re our only complaints though, and the Kids Races for the Princess Half Marathon weekend are much earlier, starting at 8:45am.
The schedule was the same for all three days:
- 10:00 –warm up
- 10:50 -100m line up
- 11:00 -100m starts (they do a few waves)
- 11:10 -200m line up
- 11:20 -200m starts
- 11:30 -400m line up
- 11:40 -400m starts
- 12:00 –diaper dash starts
- 12:15 –Mickey Mile line up
- 12:30 –Mickey Mile starts
Once you got over to ESPN Wide World of Sports, the path out to the Kids Races were clearly marked with large signs. Inside the New Balance Track & Field Complex there was a lot going on! There were VoluntEars directing strollers to the optional stroller parking, a DJ, and games. There was a tent with bean bag toss, hula hoops, cone races and color books. The DJ was just like at the bigger races, entertaining the crowd, playing crazy songs, telling corny jokes, getting people to dance and move.
Soon it was time to start lining up for the races. runDisney has made it extremely easy for this part. Each race group has its own starting line. Your child’s bib is color coded to match their race distance. The ‘’corral” area and starting line will match that color. Since this is just a kids race there is no time (the Mickey Mile is timed though), it’s just for fun.
It’s very entertaining to watch the organized chaos that can happen in 100 meters. Kids that don’t wait for “go”, kids that just run their hearts out, little ones that are just learning to toddle, ones that want to walk from side to side instead of to the finish line (mine this time around), ones that just give up, or have stage fright, and need mommy or daddy to carry them. I’ve bribed mine with his pacifier and a lollipop before! They even have race course photographers!
The highlight of the Kids Races is the special guest. The first two races we did, Pluto was waiting at the finish line, and this time Mickey was in the middle of the course giving out high fives to all the kids. It seems like the special guest goes with the character on the shirt/bib/medal; it’s been like that two of the three races, the one that was off featured Donald (Little Man’s favorite!) but it was Pluto. The kids mob the character, and with the short turn around between waves and races, it’s hard to get a posed picture with them unless your child is fast on the course (mine is not, he’s on the younger end of the age bracket). They still do hugs and high fives though.
At the end, there are VoluntEars medaling the kids and there are after race snacks too. There is a nice assortment of snacks- fruit snacks, two different kinds of Clif Kids Zbars, Craisins, bananas and water.
I also love that there are photographers to take pictures with the finishers background. After the photos, Cole does the same thing every time- finds a nice piece of grass in the middle of the track, eats his banana, drinks his water and watches everything around him. He loves watching all the other kids!
So have your kids ever participated in the runDisney Kids Races? We’d love to hear what you thought of them! I know they will be something we will do fairly often, until he gets tired of them (hopefully not!) or he gets too old to do them.
Update: Check out this great video runDisney posted from the Kids Races! You can see Cole giving Mickey a high five at 0:25 in the video!
Jillian Davis is a crafter, part time blogger, runner, Disney parks goer, and mom to a runner-in-training toddler. She did her first runDisney race in October of 2010, completed 5 5Ks while pregnant with her son, and he started runDisney races in 2013.
Find Jillian here: Website Facebook Twitter