runDisney: Princess Half Marathon Weekend
There are currently 4 race weekends being offered at Walt Disney World. In January, there’s Walt Disney World marathon weekend. At the end of February, there’s Disney’s Princess half marathon weekend. In April, they host the Star Wars Rival Run Weekend. Lastly, Disney’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend is during the month of November. Today’s post is going to take a look at Disney’s Princess Half marathon weekend.
The first year of this race was back in 2009, the popularity of this race is what sparked a rebirth for runDisney. The following year runDisney added the Wine & Dine Half marathon, in 2012 they aded the Everest challenge and in 2016 they added the Star Wars race weekend. I was there that first year and I understand why it was such a success. There were characters lining the course, lots of water stations and racers were having a blast. After the first year they added more entrants and after a couple years added the 10k race to the event weekend.
Now even though this weekend is called the Princess Race Weekend, it’s open to men and women. You see many men participating with their wives, running partners, sisters and daughters. Many dressed in costumes to compliment their counterparts.
The weekend includes a 5k race, 10k race, 1/2 marathon, Kids Races, and a challenge. No matter which weekend the event falls on, the 5k is on the Friday, the 10k and Kids Races are on the Saturday and the 1/2 is on the Sunday. To complete the challenge entrants must finish both the 10k and the 1/2. All of the races begin at 5:30am, with the exception of the Kids Races which happen throughout the morning on the Saturday at ESPN Wide World of Sports. By participating in these races, racers receive an event shirt and a finishers medal.
Next year’s event is taking place February 20th-23rd and registration opens June 4th, if you’re a DVC member you can register on May 30th. The events fluctuate in cost: 5k is $87, 10k is $127, 1/2 is $205 and the Fairy Tale Challenge is $350. The Kids Races range from $20-30. *The dates for 2021 should be released very soon *
If you choose to stay at one of the Disney resorts during the race weekend, you’ll be provided with transportation to the race expo, to the race start and back from the race to your resort. Staying at one of the Crescent Lake resorts is optimal because you can walk through Epcot to the World Showcase entrance. Now with the skyway is open you’ll be able to use this transportation to the Art of Animation resort and the Caribbean Beach resort.
During all of the races you’ll see a lot of racers wearing costumes, either homemade or purchased. When racing in costume I’ve always picked up my costume immediately after Hallooween for the best prices and decent selection. There’s also some great ideas on Pinterest for costumes created with your running apparel.
We’ve raced 5 runDisney races and I’ve learned that runDisney races are for fun, not for PRs. The crowds at these races are huge. The crowd doesn’t thin for a few kms so if you’re chasing a particular finish time you’re going to spend the first part of your race exerting energy getting around people. Plus, how often do you get to run through Cinderella’s castle? Enjoy it!!!
You can expect a very early morning, the races start at 5:30am but you’re going to want to be on your way to the starting area at least an hour before. The prep area is not the starting line, so you’ll have to walk quite a distance to the actual starting line. There are half a dozen corrals at the starting line. Your corral letter will be listed on your bib. This will be assigned to you based on the estimated finish time you provided when registering. The start is staggered. The first group will start and then a few minutes later the next group and so on and so forth. You’ll have a certain amount of time to finish the race, if you fall off the pace there’s a bus picking runners up along the course. So make sure you are trained for the event.
These events are truly magical, something fun to plan a vacation around. We’re heading down next January to participate in the Marathon race weekend, so stay tuned to find out how our training is going. For more tips and information on runDisney events take a look at these previous posts: