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Why You Need to Do a runDisney Race

November 22, 2022

Maybe you are an avid runner who has wondered why runDisney events are incredibly popular and tend to sell out quickly.  Or perhaps you are someone who loves all things Disney but never considered yourself a runner.  Either way, here’s why you need to do a runDisney event at least once!

runDisney Events Are for All Levels

runDisney events are very approachable and can make for fun races for those who are new to running and those who are more experienced.  While a 16-minute-per-mile-pace is the minimum for 10k runs and further distances, 5k events do not have this minimum.  runDisney events are even open to kids.  The 5k events are open to participants as young as 5 years old while participants must be 10 years or older for the 10k events and 12 years or older for the 10-miler events or further distances.  Note that children under 14 have to be accompanied by a participant age 14 or older to participate in any of the events.  

If you are a more experienced runner, some of the challenges may appeal to you.  While completing a marathon is a feat in itself, a popular event for more veteran runners is the Dopey Challenge during Marathon Weekend.  This entails running a 5k, 10k, half marathon, and full marathon over 4 consecutive days in a true test of endurance!

There’s Nothing Like the Excitement of a runDisney Event

Races always have a certain buzz or energy as you await the official start, but runDisney events provide a little more magic.  For some, the excitement begins as soon as they register for the event and begin planning out costumes themed after favorite characters, rides, or the race theme itself.  With runDisney, there are several events to choose from each year, from Marathon Weekend with Mickey and friends in January and the Princess Half Marathon Weekend February to the Springtime Surprise Weekend that features Pixar themes for April 2023 and the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend in November during the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival.  

The excitement continues as you wait at the start line.  In true Disney fashion, this typically involves a countdown with a character and a burst of fireworks.  You truly start off the race with a bang!

You Get to Run Through Your Favorite Parks and See Rare Characters

Rare Characters at runDisney races

runDisney events have some of the most fun courses as you weave your way through the various theme parks.  For example, the half marathon during Marathon Weekend takes you through the Magic Kingdom and to the finish line in EPCOT.  There’s something so special about running down Main Street before the park is open, especially since this is one area where spectators are able to cheer for friends and family.  Best of all is the feeling of running through the castle–be ready to pose as you exit the front of the castle since there is usually a Photopass photographer stationed there to capture the moment!

If it weren’t exciting enough to run through your favorite theme parks, you also have the chance to see some rare characters along your route.  Some of the characters along the half marathon in 2022 were Sebastian from The Little Mermaid, one of the penguins from Mary Poppins, the White Rabbit from Alice in Wonderland, and Mickey in his colonial costume as he greeted runners in front of The Hall of Presidents.  Photopass photographers are also stationed by the characters, so you can briefly pose for a photo and quickly continue on your way.    

There’s an Incredible Feeling of Accomplishment

runDisney Medals

At the end of the run, there’s such a thrilling feeling of accomplishment.  All the months of training runs really pay off!  (Disney even provides training programs if you need some guidance.)  You get to celebrate with not only your shiny new medal and maybe some fun runDisney merchandise from the race Expo, but you get to enjoy a vacation in the most magical place on earth!  Or you can celebrate in the happiest place on earth once runDisney events return to Disneyland in 2024.  It’s also a lot of fun to wear your medal into the parks since it makes for a fun conversation piece with fellow runners and cast members alike.  

Looking to book a DVC stay for a runDisney weekend?  Check out the DVC Rental Store for future availability or confirmed reservations

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