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When I finished up last week’s post on the Walt Disney World Half Marathon, I started to think about the runDisney races that I was considering doing between now and Marathon Weekend 2013. It got me thinking that there are a not only a large number of runners in the Disney community, but there are also a number of people who might be interested in running a race at Walt Disney World. Between now and next January, there are 5 race weekends, and one or more of them may fit your needs.
Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend
February 24 – 26, 2012
$150 per person / $300 per team, limited space remains
In 2011, this was the weekend of my first Disney World race, the Royal Family 5K. This weekend race was sort of a validation moment for me, and I have nothing but good memories of it. It’s designed as a family race, and parents are encouraged to run with their kids. There’s even a stroller division that allows for you to push along a child as you run. This race starts and finishes in the parking lot of Epcot and travels through backstage areas as well as World Showcase. Plenty of characters can be found along the way it’s a lot of fun.
The big race of the weekend is the Princess Half Marathon. Disney presents this as a race for women, but the truth is that anyone can run it, because as with every Disney race the only current requirement is a pace of 16 minutes or less per mile. What I enjoy most about this race is that it has more costumes than the WDW Half and Full Marathons. This year I’m looking forward to being able cheer for a number of friends running in this race – the very first Disney race for some of them. The race follows the same course through Magic Kingdom and Epcot as the WDW Half Marathon.
Hosted at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, the Fit for a Princess Expo is a great place to pick up some new running gear, or some last minute items you might need for your race. The Complex will also be hosting race packet pickup, so why not stop by since you’ll be there. You could also head out to the Track & Field area to see the Royal Family Kids’ Races complete with a Diaper Dash (yes, racing babies). And all the big race weekends have a Pasta in the Park Party, this one takes place in the Wonders of Life Pavilion and finishes up with IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.
Expedition Everest Challenge
May 5, 2012
$89 between December 13 – February 26, 2012
$99 between February 27 – April 15, 2012
$109 between April 16 – May 5, 2012
$175 between December 13 – February 26, 2012
$190 between February 27 – April 15, 2012
$205 between April 16 – May 5, 2012
Without a doubt the most fun of the 5K races I’ve run was the Expedition Everest Challenge. As the name implies, it’s not just a race, it’s a challenge. Several in fact. There is of course the race itself, a 5K course that leads individuals and teams of two around the parking lot of Animal Kingdom through the park and out to Conservation Station, and back to the parking lot again. There’s running through back stage locations, as well as characters along the way. And don’t forget the obstacles. While not as bad as they might sound, they are available to try along the way if you want to.
The fun of this race lies in part with its backstory. You are a member of a expedition team headed up Mount Everest in hopes of capturing a glimpse of and possibly catching the elusive Yeti. First there is the trek to the base of the mountain itself – the 5K. Then once you “arrive” you need to solve a few puzzles as part of a scavenger hunt in order to be able to complete the race, and “climb” Everest.
I highly recommend doing this race as a team, it’s the sort of thing you really want to get to experience with someone else. This year I’m hoping to get to run it with my wife, Cheryl. Of all the races I’ve run so far, this one has the coolest looking medal, and that alone might be enough to incentivize you to run. And if it’s not, the race is now held at night and is followed by a post-race party in Animal Kingdom where you can ride Expedition Everest as much as you like. It brings a whole new perspective to the ride if you’ve never done it before.
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend
September 28 – 29, 2012
$150 per person (approximately, cost currently unknown)
This race has me more excited than any other coming up right now. It’s a new offering from runDisney, that both resurrects and pluses the old Tower of Terror 13K (about 8 miles). This is a 10 mile race through Disney’s Hollywood Studios and is sure to be a blast. Based on prior races, it’s very likely that this race will not actually start inside the Studios but will more likely start outside the park. The most likely starting point would be the ESPN Sports Complex itself, but another spot that has potential is Blizzard Beach.
No matter where it starts though, this race is going to end somewhere in Hollywood Studios. The most desired finish would be near the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror – after all the race is named after this attraction. This race is sure to be a thrill as it’s also going to be dedicated to all the Disney Villains, and they’ll be out all over the race course to delight and maybe even scare the runners. This race goes on sale February 14, 2012.
I’m expecting this weekend to not have a race expo, similar to how there is no expo for Expedition Everest.
Relay: $230 – $250 per team (projected cost)
Half Marathon: $145 – $165 (projected cost)
While no specific details have been revealed about this years race, we do know that it was moved from the first weekend of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival to the last weekend in order to make way for the new Tower of Terror race. Overall the weekend offerings should be very similar to last year. This means that there will be a Half Marathon and a Half Marathon Relay. There is some question as to when the Halloween 5K race will be held – it could potentially remain at the beginning of Food & Wine with the Tower of Terror Race.
One thing I recommend is that if you’re training for the January 2013 races, consider running one of the two parts of the Wine & Dine Relay like I did. Doing this was a great milestone in my training to get me prepared for what was ahead. It also helped removed a lot of my fear and doubt about doing a Half Marathon.
Since this is a Half Marathon Weekend, there should still be a race expo to attend.
Full or Half Marathon: $140 to $160 (projected cost)
Goofy: $310 to $330 (projected cost)
It’s hard to think about Marathon Weekend when it just passed less than a month ago, but I chose to include it to complete a look at the year ahead. You can expect a Full Marathon, a Half Marathon, a return of the Half Marathon Relay, and a 5K as well as the largest of the Health & Fitness Expos put on by Disney during the year.
While no official dates have been announced, I did find the deferral pages for people who were unable to attend the 2012 races. These pages allow them to use money they had paid toward a 2012 race and apply that payment toward a 2013 race. From these pages, I was able to determine a set of projected dates for the 2013 Marathon Weekend as well as project the cost of the race packages. Otherwise there is not much info at this time.
Which race is right for you? Are you a princess? A frog? Perhaps a Sherpa far from home? An undertaker who fancies a midnight run? Like to end your runs with a glass of wine or a beer? Or just a bit Goofy or Dopey?
Interested in learning more about Walt Disney World races from the TouringPlans.com brain trust? What about resort running? Favorite running paths? Tips about running? Training for the Walt Disney World races? Etc. What if we took all that knowledge and boiled it down into an eBook that you could download and take with you? Please let us know in the comments below. Thanks!