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!
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.
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.
More vendors can be found in Champion Stadium along with Runner Tracking signup and pickup for Dooney & Bourke bags.
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.
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)
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 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!
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??
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Walt Disney World 5K & 10K
Walt Disney World Half Marathon
Walt Disney World Marathon
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!