If you are thinking of registering for a 2021 runDisney race, this is the place to be! Listen to this week’s show to hear all the runDisney race tips you can handle from registration to post-race nap.
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all the mickey love
Today is all about one of my favorite topics. runDisney.
The day after this is released, so Tuesday May 12, 2020, general registration opens for 2021’s Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. This is where my love for runDisney started back in 2015. I love this weekend so much, and I thought it would be a great time to share some of what I have learned over the years to help motivate you to register!
I have brought a couple of my running buddies, Sarah & Hayley, along today to share our tips for navigating these giant, magical weekends. I want to share with you all the reasons I think runDisney should absolutely be on most people’s race calendar.
My love for the mouse
I think it should be said that I am one of those people who just loves Disney. I’m the adult with several pair of Mickey ears, a closet full of Star Wars shirts, an Enchanted Tiki Room Otterbox case on my phone, purses from the parks that I use in my full-time regular life, and stickers on my car showing off my Mouse cred as a Disney Vacation Club Member, which is essentially the Disney timeshare, and an Annual Passholder.
As a family, we travel to the parks several times per year and been on four Disney cruise line vacations in the last couple of years, We don’t decorate our house much or wear fancy clothes. We go to Disney. It has served us well.
In fact, in 2016 I served as the Disney Vacation CLub Mom on the Disney Parks Moms Panel. If you have planned a Disney Vacation in the last few years, you have definitely seen this group. They are a crew of hand selected Disney Experts who answer your questions all year long through the Disney websites. The competition to earn one of those spots is steep and serving was a huge honor.
Then I started my own white-glove, Disney-focused travel agency called Sun & Sail Vacations that operates exclusively by referral.
Basically, you can trust what I am telling you!
The runDisney crew
From the very beginning of my adventures with runDisney, where “Every mile is magical,” I have brought along my two best running buddies: my sisters.
Sarah ran her first runDisney 5k and first half marathon ever at Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in 2015 and has been registering and running ever since.
Hayley also ran that 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 5k with us in January and has gone on to complete a couple of half marathons and even a race weekend challenge.
runDisney race tips: the expo
The runDisney Expo is like the hub for a race weekend.
You might have done other big races like a Rock’N’Roll or an Ironman that has a busy and buzzing expo scene, but trust me, you aint seen nothing like this!
Housed in multiple buildings at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex, the Expo has it’s own flow, it’s own chaos, and it’s own culture. This is why you need runDisney race tips!
Boiled down, this is where you go to pick up your race materials at least the day before your race and you do some serious shopping.
First, you will want to visit the official runDisney merchandise building. This is where you can buy magnets, water bottles, coffee mugs, shirts, jackets…they sky is the limit! This is the only place to buy the officially licensed runDisney gear. Since some sells out quickly, this should be your first stop!
Then go to the registration building. You will sign your name to pick up your bib. That shows your race number to officials and photographers throughout the race and tells you which corral, or starting area, you will stage in before it’s your turn to run. You will also have your picture taken if you are doing a multi-day race challenge to cut down on the cheating.
And ohhh has there been some cheating in previous years!
runDisney Race Tip: don’t forget some safety pins if you don’t have a race number belt! You will need these to attach your paper bib to your shirt. You don’t want to discover that you don’t have these when it’s too late!
Speaking of shirts, be sure to try on your participant shirt! These races are expensive, you deserve to get a shirt that fits you well. The friendly volunteers are happy to change out sizes for you as long as they have them available.
runDisney race tip: Wear an under shirt to the expo. Then you will feel comfortable slipping off your regular shirt to try on your fancy new one!
After you can stop for some step & repeat type pictures and then head over to merchandise building to pick up the clear plastic bag that you will use for a gear bag on race day plus your participant shirts.
runDisney Race tip: there are excellent prices at the 3rd party merchant area of a runDisney expo. Definitely spend time here!
Then SHOP! Now is the time to grab a snack and visit with all of the vendors who are offering special prices on great runner gear.
Some of our favorite finds
Sarah fell in love with Sparkle Skirts – now called Bolder Wear – at a runDisney race expo. She uses the pockets on these amazing running skirts to stash her inhaler, nutrition, and other goodies.
This is also where she picked up her water belt for running that she doesn’t run without. I actually use the same one and feel the same love.
Hayley pointed out that sometimes other race companies will have limited edition items to give away to runners who register for their upcoming races at their runDisney Expo booth. This was the case with rock’n’roll marathon booth at the most recent Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend. Registrants received a bonus shirt.
I was introduced to my beloved Balega socks as well as Oofoos Flip Flops at an expo. #Grateful
FAVORITE FOOD & DRINKS FROM THE EXPO
There are also some tasty food and drinks at the Expo, which is great because this is a time investment!
Let’s just get this out of the way right now, you are going to wake up EARLY. This is kind of the signature of a rundisney race.
How early, you might wonder? Yeah, we are talking like stil last night.
Races start at 5:30am. That means you normally need to be on official race transportation by 3:30 am. When you factor in time to wake up, drink coffee, at your pre-race foods, do your thing in the bathroom, and for you fancy gals, do your makeup, that’s an early wake up. Super early.
There are a few things you can do to make this easier.
Sarah says reminds everyone to lay out all of your gear the night before. Hayley wants you to be sure that you put everything out, including your gum. I agree completely. This is critical.
We also agreed that it makes it easier to stay in a bigger room, and definitely on property. If you can swing a Villa with a bonus bathroom, you won’t regret it!
AT THE PRE-RACE PARTY
You just know we have to talk about it: porta potties.
Sarah and Hayley share two different runDisney race day tips related to porta potty use.
Sarah likes to use the handle found on the inside of the door as a support. Hayley prefers to use hand sanitizer, located inside the box, on toilet paper to clean the actual seat.
So there you have it: the most important runDisney race tip of this entire episode. The one you never would have asked – how to best use the porta-potty.
runDisney race tips for on the course
DON’T FEAR THE BALLOON LADIES
Don’t be afraid of the Balloon Ladies. These are women who strap ballons to their waists, start last, and keep a steady 16 minute/mile pace for the entire race. They are more formally known as the pacers.
If you find yourself behind the Balloon Ladies on the course, you might be picked up and brought to the finisher area. People are so afraid of this, but Hayley shared her experience with us. It didn’t sound half bad! It even involved a red carpet!
THANK THE VOLUNTEERS
We all want you to be sure to thank the volunteers along the course. They have been awake as long as you have, and they are here for YOU. A little energy goes a long way for them.
Since we have all volunteered at a runDisney race, we all agree that some of the best memories came from those experiences. Trust us: the volunteers want to be there. They just also want to have some excitement!
AT THE WATER STATIONS
Be ready to slow down at water stations. There are tables with volunteers and water on both sides of the street. The road is slippery and covered with plastic cups. Even if you do not need a top-off, don’t go slamming through the middle here and crashing into people.
Hayley pointed out that you might want to bring your own if you find yourself at the back of the pack. It isn’t totally uncommon for runDisney to run out of water near the end of the race! Trust us!
Jeff Galloway is the official training plan provider for runDisney. He recommends a training and racing method where runners run for a specified amount of time and the walk for a specified amount of time. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
So you will see Galloway (or interval) runners all along a runDisney course.
Just be cautious. If you are going to walk, signal that to the others around your by putting your hand in the air. Hayley likes to do a countdown with her fingers so runners know exactly when she will walk.
Also, try to move to the right side of the course. If that is impossible, the left side will do, but it’s definitely better to be on the right.
THE FINISH LINE
Hayley likes to sprint to the finish line. Sarah likes to try to beat her!
We all agree on this runDisney race tip: Don’t be the person who stops at the finish line forever to hog the photographer. Move on through so other people also have a shot at a wonderful finish line memory shot. There will be plenty of time for pictures after you pick up your snack box!
TOP RUNDISNEY RACE TIP: BE READY TO REGISTER!
Be sure to be online and ready to register at 10am on registration day!
We hope this was helpful and maybe even has you a little more excited for registration to open.
If you made it through and will be racing in 2021, let us know in the comments so we can be cheering for you through training and on race day!
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