I am so excited to tell you about this awesome experience! This was my first half marathon and it did not disappoint. The weather was perfect and the people were great. Here are a few of my observations and tips if this is something you want to do!
1. Time Submission/ Corral Assignment
I highly recommend submitting a time if you are an avid runner. This will give you more of a chance to get to the front of the pack. It allows you more time to enjoy the surroundings and less time navigating your way around the crowds of runners. If you haven’t ran a race prior and don’t care, then you will get a corral in the back. I was in the second to last corral and it was fine but it is not necessary to get there at 3:30! We got there, waited, and then waited in the car! The later corrals don’t take off until after 6.
2. Crowd Control
20,000 people ran this race! Needless to say, it was packed! At times, I did need to run on the grass to go around people (which they do not want you to do) but overall I never felt overwhelmed. Occasionally, I did need to walk because the path became narrow. I usually run doing run/walk (Galloway Method) but because of the narrow path at times I saved my walking for when I had to and of course in the parks with the characters.
I did not stay on Disney property, so I did not use their bus transportation. Honestly, I’m glad….I was able to get there on my own time and leave on my own time. We saved tons of money staying at a hotel close by, which I recommend… BUT…the further away you are… the earlier you have to get up!
4. Race Route
You begin at Epcot and run the road to Magic Kingdom. The best part is running through most of Magic Kingdom. This is really the half way point so we walked most of this. We stopped and took tons of pictures. Then the path takes you through the back of Magic Kingdom and back to the streets. I was told they changed the race route this year, so once we got to Epcot we ran through the back/behind the scenes. The only beautiful part of this run was Magic Kingdom so be sure to stop and enjoy this!
I stopped for the majority of them! I met several princesses, villains, Toy Story characters, The Incredibles, Belle and Gaston, Tinkerbell, Jack Sparrow, Minnie, and Mickey. You run this race for these moments, so stop and take pictures! This is another reason you should aim for an earlier corral…you won’t have to wait as long in the lines but honestly we never waited more than 10 minutes.
Overall this is a great experience, but this is not a race you run for time. You have to stop and enjoy your surroundings, take pictures, and meet the characters! If you are afraid that you won’t be able to run a half marathon, then this would be a great one to start with. Some of the people in this race walked the entire thing. You MUST be able to keep a 16 minute mile pace. They have what are called balloon ladies that bring up the rear of the race. As long as you can stay ahead of them, then you will be fine. The scenery is such a great distraction and motivator to keep you going! I promise you can do this! Feel free to shoot me any questions that you may have!