When you combine the intensity of the running community with the passion of the Disney community, almost anything is possible. runDisney and their races are hard to miss, especially if you frequent the parks on either coast. Before I got into running, I occasionally found myself surrounded by an extra 30,000 people on a holiday weekend in the parks who were walking around making loud “clanking” noises with medals around their necks. I didn’t understand it, and at the time I had no interest in understanding it. I wasn’t a runner and never considered the idea that I would be one, so I just shook my head and walked by. Two years and over twenty runDisney medals later, I have completely changed my mind and wear my own medals around the park with pride.
runDisney is a branch of the Disney company that specifically hosts running events at the Disney Resorts around the world (in 2016 runDisney will host their first international race at Disneyland Paris). The events and races range in distance, including kids races, family 5k’s, 10k’s, half marathons, and one marathon. Historically, they have offered challenge and obstacle-type races (the Expedition Everest Challenge, formerly hosted in Walt Disney World) and races of irregular distances (relays and 10-milers), but are currently offering the more traditional race distances. The race calendar is full of unique opportunities, including a women’s Princess-themed race weekend in Florida, a Star Wars race on both coasts (the Light Side at Disneyland, the Dark Side at Walt Disney World), a women’s Tinker Bell themed race in Disneyland, an Avengers themed race weekend at Disneyland, and a night race at Walt Disney World during the Food and Wine Festival. The two “flagship” races are the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, hosted every Labor Day Weekend (this year was the 10th anniversary of the race) at the Disneyland Resort, and the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, which is over twenty years old and is the largest event hosted by runDisney each year. If you run a race on each coast, you’re rewarded with the coveted “Coast to Coast” Medal. In addition, there will be a special medal offered for completing both Star Wars races as well as running the Inaugural Disneyland Paris Half Marathon and a California/Florida race. Most race weekends offer a “challenge” option, which means that you complete more than one race throughout the weekend. These events draw fans and athletes from all over the world and with different levels of athletic background, making the events extremely enjoyable for anyone looking to complete their first running event or set a personal record after years of running.
If you’re looking to get into running, or are currently a seasoned runner, I highly recommend you give a runDisney race a go. I’ve run several non-Disney races and can easily say that the production and overall value that I get out of a Disney race far exceeds any other event I have done. Although the races carry a high price tag and registration alone can be very challenging (most races sell out within an hour of registration opening), I’ve found them to be worth every penny. The opportunity to experience the two things I am passionate about together, running and Disney, is invaluable. I’ve used the events to travel with my family and celebrate accomplishments, as well set personal records for myself and meet great people in the community. If you’re looking to start living a healthier and more active lifestyle, using a runDisney race as a goal is a wonderful way to go. That’s how I started running two years ago – by signing up for the Disneyland Half Marathon. It has completely changed my life, and I have never looked back. If you aren’t interested in running a race, volunteering for one is a very popular option that is incredibly rewarding for the runners and volunteers alike.
The most recent runDisney race was the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend at the Disneyland Resort, which I did not have the pleasure of participating in this year. Up next is the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (in Florida) and the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland.
Will I be seeing you out on the course in the future? Be sure to say hello if you will be there!
For more information, visit rundisney.com!