Many people have noticed this magnet on my car and said, “Oh, you’re a runner.” Let’s clear the air right now…I am not a runner, never have been a runner, nor do I want to be a runner! Now don\’t get me wrong, I am not a slouch. I have gone through various stages of athleticism in my life and spent 13 years in the military. Those things involved running, but it has never been something I was good at or honestly even enjoyed! From 2012-2014 our family was stationed at MacDill AFB near Tampa, Florida. One day I noticed a woman wearing a Disney Princess Half Marathon tee shirt, and I said, “I want that tee shirt.” That night I told my husband how much I wanted that shirt, and he encouraged me to go for it! So there it is: I did it for the tee shirt or, in other words, I will run for clothes! I also did it to show my children (now ages 11 and 9) that they can set a goal and accomplish it even if it is not something they think they are good at.
So here it is…the good and bad of running the Disney Princess Half Marathon
It is so much FUN! There is entertainment about every mile…princesses, music, kite flyers (my favorite). Take it all in along the way.
It is crowded! Really crowded! Know in advance that you will not set a PR (personal record) at this race. Honestly, that’s not what this race is about for the average runner (or non-runner) anyway. It is about having fun.
It’s early! I am talking 5am early, which means you are out of bed at around 3:30.
Everyone is so encouraging. There are tons of volunteers along the route to cheer you on.
You can dress up! Yup…be creative because there are tons of great costumes.
The medal is worth it! They are beautiful and worth the price you pay.
Disney is organized! Your check in at the ESPN zone is seamless and easy. The EXPO is awesome and you will find tons of cool Run Disney and Princess items.
Depending what corral you are in, you will see the sun rise over Magic Kingdom. It is VERY cool. If you are super fast you may be through Magic Kingdom before the sun rises…so don\’t hurry!
Character lines are sometimes long but we already said we are not running this for a PR, so stop and get a picture! The memory is worth more than your run time!
This race is about the ladies! Men are invited to run, but are asked to be there in support of their princess. Only ladies are allowed in Corral A!
Take advantage of the kids races and family races that weekend! They are a lot of fun and a great way to involve the whole family.
Tips for enjoying the race:
Train – You’ll have a lot more fun if you are not in excruciating pain the whole time!
Eat right leading up to the race. I know it is Disney and there are so many tempting foods around you, but save the treats for AFTER the race.
Get a qualifying time. You will need to run a 10K or higher by December prior to the race to enter it as a qualifying time. ANY time is better than NO time. Anyone without a prior official race time is put in the last corrals. If you plan to run this race and not walk it, you will not want to be in the last corrals.
Would I do it again? Absolutely. I am not cut out for a full marathon, but I would certainly consider doing this again. In fact, I am a little sad I am not signed up for 2015. My tee shirt is getting a little faded so don\’t be surprised if you see me out there in a couple of years!
Heather Gordon is a Disney Travel Planner with Wishdrawals Travel. Contact her at email@example.com to start planning your family\’s next magical vacation!