It actually happened! I ran a runDisney race!

Can you tell I’m excited?

A runDisney Experience From a Non-Traditional RunnerIt was such an awesome event. Whether you are a Disney fan or not, it was more than a race…it was truly an experience! I am not a traditional runner, I actually have a friend who blogs about runDisney on my other blog She is amazing and coached me through the time leading up to the race. If you are a runner and would love to run a runDisney race make sure you check her blogs out. You won’t be sorry!

I have been in the fitness industry for nearly twenty years, but not as a runner. {Ouch that hurt to admit, 20 years!!!!} This was a totally new experience for me, and was one thing on my bucket list.

So when your Dad comes to you and asks you to do a runDisney half marathon, you say yes! Seriously, if your Dad wants to do it, you go for it, no questions asked! Am I right?! So, we packed up the whole clan, and headed to the “Happiest Place on Earth!”

Most of you know that my job with Walt Express takes us to Disney quite often anyway, so why not?! Yes, it’s a horrible job, but somebody’s gotta do it. Of course this was an amazing opportunity for my blog, for myself as a fitness guru, and personally as an item on my bucket list. On top of all of that, it was something amazing to share with my Dad. Memories were made, sore muscles were made and we all survived!

The Darkside 5K

A runDisney Experience From a Non-Traditional RunnerWe started out with the 5K on Friday. My eight year old daughter really wanted to be involved and run a race with me. She absolutely loved it and had a great time running with Mama and Pop Pop. It’s always a plus to instill healthy habits into your kids, and not to mention the fact that it was in Disney World!

There are always downfalls to certain things, and I have to say, the only downfall was the crowd. It was really, really crowded for the 5K, we heard that the count was near 50,000 for that particular race. Other than that, it was great!

We ran through Epcot, which was awesome! There are spots along the course to meet the characters, but the lines were too long for us. My daughter isn’t really interested in meeting the characters, so it all worked out well. Overall, it was a fun experience. It got us revved up and prepared for what to expect on Sunday. I would definitely do the 5K again with my kids, even in spite of the crowd.

The Darkside Half

A runDisney Experience From a Non-Traditional RunnerWe had a break on Saturday, and I have to admit, I was a little nervous about Sunday. I had some issues with my foot before the race and needed to nurse it back to health a little on Saturday. {That’s another post in itself, stay tuned.}

But, come Sunday morning, there was a lot of “hurry up and waiting” bright and early in the morning. It’s pretty intense because you have to get mentally and physically prepared, which can be hard before 5:30 in the morning. If you are not a morning person, runDisney may not be for you. I am not much of a morning person, and a 3:30 A.M. wakeup time is not my idea of a good time. My daughter has a funny personality. Her response to being woken up at 3:30 was “Oh dear Lord.” Needless to say, we were dragging a little bit. As far as the actual course, there were around 10,000 runners in the half marathon. If you are a serious runner, trying to make a specific time, or beat your record, this may not be the race for you. It was difficult to dart and weave in-between the other runners and keep a good pace.

Like I said before, runDisney is not just a race, it’s an experience. People come from all over to do this race, and Disney does it the right way. We all know that I’m a Disney lover, and Disney is all about quality. They really make sure that you have a great experience with anything and everything that you do, and they definitely come through with runDisney.

A runDisney Experience From a Non-Traditional RunnerSmall Details You Must Keep In Mind

A lot of you have asked for the little details about the race, so I am here to deliver:

  • The runDisney buses are different than the regular Disney buses. They transport the runners back and forth from the resorts to the race areas. You have to catch the buses by a certain time in the morning or you will get left. The bus takes you to your corral where you pretty much “hurry up and wait”.
  • The characters are a big part of the whole experience. There are characters at picture spots along the way. The photos from the picture stops were loaded right onto my MagicBand, which was great. The first few character stops had ridiculously long lines. But, as the race progressed the lines were shorter.
  • At the beginning of the race, there are different holding corrals. Each corral had a different start time, which did help with the crowds a little bit. So even though the race started at 5:30 am, some people did not actually start until 6:15, depending on what corral you were in.
  • There were plenty of bathroom stops, and water breaks along the way, so no worries of pottying on yourself or dehydration. 🙂
  • Although the race does go through the parks, there were times when you were behind a park or between parks. At one point I didn’t realize that we were coming into Animal Kingdom until I smelled the animals. It was very cool to see the behind the scenes areas of Disney. Something that was a highlight for me was at the ten mile mark. My legs were really heavy at that point and I was very tired, but I knew that if I slowed down I wouldn’t make it. Thankfully I had a bunch of my followers cheering me on by Facebook Live. I pushed through and made it!

Is It Worth It?

A runDisney Experience From a Non-Traditional RunnerAll in all, the whole experience was absolutely amazing! If you are a Disney lover, and you just want to go and do something like this, or knock one off your bucket list…I say go for it! Even if your kids love Disney and you aren’t the biggest Disney lover, still go for it! You will get a great vacation out of it, and Disney makes it more than just a run. It’s definitely good for a first timer like me. I absolutely loved it, and I will definitely do it again. The big question has been when, and I honestly don’t know. I loved it, but I also love my other fitness routines, and I was really glad to get back to “normal” when I got home.

I don’t see myself doing any races other than runDisney, there is just something magical about it, and I don’t think I would get that with any other race. It was great for my whole family, my kids were able to cheer me on, and it was new and exciting for all of us. Not to mention making the amazing memories with my Dad. If any of you are thinking of doing runDisney, or have done one in the past, drop me a comment and let me know! I would love to hear about your experience!

Until next time…



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