We’ve been lucky enough to spend the past weekend at Disneyland Paris with the RunDisney team for the promotion of the Run Disney France Half Marathon weekend in September (find out more here). Since I’m on the Eurostar back to London, and haven’t had a chance to look through the numerous photos and videos I took over the weekend, I thought I’d recap my own feelings as well as info I gleaned this weekend about why YOU might want to take part in a RunDisney event…
- The Medals
I know a lot of runners that won’t take part in the race if there isn’t some finish line bling. Disney medals are the best in the business and are sure to be met by approval from even the biggest medal snobs. Not only are they weighty, they’re usually pretty sparkly, and you can often gain more than one in a weekend.
- They’re open to all abilities
Whether you’re a first time half marathoner, a seasoned pro or a casual runner trying to encourage your friends to join you for a race, this is the perfect occasion. We ran the Disney Princess Half in a casual 2hrs 45min because we were stopping for photos with characters – and many walked or ran/walked the course too. There are plenty of photo opportunities which make a great excuse for a breather, water stations, first aid, bathrooms…and even fuel along the way. Plus there are usually 5K, 10K, half and even full marathon options to cater for everyone.
- The location
Running down Main Street at the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Florida will go down as one of the coolest running moments of my life (although that was usurped by our run this weekend through the unopened Disneyland Paris parks with Paula Radcliffe). You can’t help but feel the magic as you run through the parks, meet the characters and enjoy the spectacle that has been put on by RunDisney. It feels like you’re in one of the parades!
- Your spectators will be entertained
It can be a battle to get my friends and family to support at races, not so with Disney. It’s amazing how keen my Mum & StepDad were to join us in Florida for the Disney Princess weekend, and we’re already plotting to get Tom’s whole family out to run the Paris half marathons and kids races in 2018.
- Plenty of instagram/photo opportunities
From a selfie with Mickey on the finishing straight, a cheesy grin outside the castle, posing with your medals, or a group shot with some Disney villains, your Instagram game is going to be off the charts. Don’t forget to run with your phone or camera so that you can Snapchat, Insta-story or just capture memories for yourself as you run. (Note to self – do not run with your phone in your bra, all photos will come out huffy…also it is rather humid in Florida)
- The Stash
I tend not to wear a finishers t-shirt after the race, but I actually love the Disney tshirts we received in Florida. Alongside the free t-shirt, there’s also plenty of opportunities to buy pins, bottles and other race paraphernalia, not to mention Disney well everything. There are even a number of Disney running inspired kit, and New Balance RunDisney shoes…
- Fab organisation
I can only speak from experience at the Glass Slipper Challenge in Florida and from my weekend in Paris with the RunDisney France team, but everything was really well organised…from the packet pick up, to the early morning wave starts and post race goody bags – it all went really smoothly without a worry that there aren’t enough toilets (we used them in the start area, corrals and in one of the parks).
- Any excuse to dress up
Some people’s fancy dress was amazing with full on costumes, others just wore Mickie or Minnie ears whilst others were just in running kit. Whether you love or loathe dressing up, you won’t be out of place at a Disney race. Personally, I love any excuse to wear something fun – check out the gold Minnie ears I wore at Disney this weekend – but am not very creative so opted for a spotty Minnie skirt and Minnie ears for the Princess Half, and a green tutu with fairy wings for the Enchanted 10K.
- Post race enjoyment
Personally, after a race I’m a fan of a Diet Coke and a cinnamon bun or fries, all of which are readily available at Disney. But seriously, what better way to celebrate after a race than a trip around the Disney Parks – plus you’re sure to walk off any post-run lactic acid. I took over 30,000 steps the day after the Princess Half marathon so although tired (ok, exhausted) I didn’t let my legs have a chance seize up! We spent the day of the half marathon by the pool, before spending the following day at the Animal Kingdom and Epcot. Plus I felt like I could splash out fully with whatever snack, chocolate marshmallows or ice-cream I wanted… I run to eat.
- It’s Disney…
Need I say more?
Personally, I love Disney and I love running, so RunDisney is right up my street. In fact Tom just suggested we celebrate our 1 year anniversary at the RunDisney France half marathon weekend – as if I needed an excuse. If you love Disney but aren’t a half-marathoner, perhaps this is just the push you need to sign up for your first half, or maybe you love running and like Disney… I promise you’ll have a great time.
I would love to take part in a Goofy Challenge – when you run a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon and Full Marathon all in the same weekend. I’m also interested in the Wine & Dine run (did I mention I run to eat?), and the Super Heroes Half, and the Tinkerbell Half. I’ve also started investigating the Disney Cruises that include the Castaway Cay 5K…and yes you get a medal! There’s even a cruise leaving straight after the Wine & Dine Half marathon weekend, I wonder how many runDisney medals you could earn in one week?
Have you completed a runDisney event? Are any on your bucket list?