Friday, June 22, 2012

Running a Disney (Half) Marathon

Have you run one of the Disney endurance races? 

They are some of the easiest races because the course is flat (hills are a big burden in distance running), the pacing requirements are generous (you won't get picked up by "sag wagon" bus unless you are slower than 16-minute miles, which is really a fast walk), and, oh yeah, you're running through and between parks, so there is a TON to look at, making it hard to get bored. I also like that you get to run through backstage areas.

The pricing for the races is a bit expensive, but a premium product demands a premium pricing structure. And the events are popular. Some 40,000 people or more participate in the WDW Marathon Weekend (a majority is running the half marathon on Saturday, but many are running the full marathon on Saturday. A few are doing both, the so-called Goofy Challenge).

There are other events throughout the year. The other half marathon is the Wine and Dine in October, and there will be a Tower of Terror 10-mile event in 2012 as well. The much shorter Expedition Everest Challenge 5K is still fun.

In 2009, I completed the Goofy Challenge and thought that I might as well run every race Disney had that year, including the ones in Anaheim. The complete collection of medals from the 2009 Disney endurance races: one marathon, three half marathons, 13K, 10K, two 5Ks, and three bonus medals. The stats were 89.5 miles, 1115 minutes on the courses, and $760 in registration fees. My average pace was 12.4 minutes for each mile. You can read more about the Goofy Challenge part here.

Here's a video (6 minutes) showing clips from some of the key moments in a WDW Half Marathon:

And here are some pictures of me running the events; these are from a few different races.

I hope to see you on the course someday!

Kevin Yee is the author of numerous independent Disney books, including the popular Walt Disney World Earbook series and Walt Disney World Hidden History.