runDisney are fantastic races put on each year at the Walt Disney World resort and Disneyland Paris. These events host a variety of distances: 5k, 10k, 1/2 marathon, marathon, kids races and challenges. There are a variety of weekends that host a multitude of races. November at Walt Disney World you’ll find the Wine & Dine half marathon weekend, September at Disneyland Paris is the Disneyland Paris Weekend, February at Walt Disney World is the Princess Half Marathon Weekend. These weekends host a number of events that welcome thousands and thousands of participants.
To accommodate for so many runners, runDisney separates the field into corrals. Typically there will be 8 corrals, represented by letters. Runners will be separated into 7 of the corrals, the 1st corral is for runners competing for the top finishes and wheelchair racers. The remaining corrals are for the rest of us runners. How they determine which corral a racer will be in is based on the racer’s expected finish time and a proof of previous race time. Each of these corrals start at a different time, the elites start first and then corral A and then corral B and so on and so forth. These starts are staggered by approximately every 5 minutes. This means the racers running in corral A start the racer early than those in later corrals. Which means smaller lines at the characters, not as crowded roads, and an earlier finish time.
On our latest Disney World vacation I participated in the Disney World 1/2 Marathon race, I was in corral A. I wanted a higher corral because I wanted an earlier finish time. The day I ran the half marathon was the same day our kids were participating in the kids races. I wanted to be finished the half marathon with plenty of time to get back to the resort, get showered and changed before making our way to the ESPN Wide World of Sports for their events.
To give you the whole picture, a year ago I was 1 month postpartum with 3 kids. I hadn’t raced any running events in three years. I had no race times to provide runDisney to secure a corral placement. When registering for the half marathon the form said we had until the middle of October to race an event of 10k, 10 mile or half marathon distance and then give runDisney the finish time for corral assignment. I opted to race a 10k race and I trained hard. I trained harder for the 10k race then I did for the 1/2 marathon. I ran hill repeats and ran race pace long runs.
The 10k race I ran was days before the cut off date. I chose a race in Saint John, NB, an hour and fifteen minutes away from home. This was the only 10k race in the area. We spent 4 years in Saint John so I felt like I knew the area pretty well that I’d be racing in. But boy was I wrong. I didn’t expect to run up mountainous hills, 5 in a double loop. My goal was to run the 10k in 50 minutes or less. Midway through the race I had come to the realization that that was not going to happen. But I resolved to push on, run hard and fast on the downhills and plod up the uphills. Luckily for me the course was a little short. The race ended up being 9.5km and I finished in 50 minutes. Once we returned home I got on the runDisney Dashboard and inputted the information required. I was hoping that all my effort would get me into corral B or C.
You don’t know which corral you’re in until you pick up your race kit at the runDisney expo. We went to pick up our race kits on the fourth day of our vacation. I picked up the kids kits and then went to pick up mine. I got my race kit and on the top corner was the letter “A”! I was thrilled. All my hard work had really paid off. So there’s no real secret to getting into corral A. A suggestion I would make is train hard for a qualifying race and make it the shortest distance possible. The shorter the race the faster you’ll be. Happy Planning, Friends.