I am attending runDisney Walt Disney World Weekend, presented by Cigna as a member of Team in Training and the media. In exchange for my coverage, runDisney is providing me with complimentary accommodations. However, I earned my race entry through my fundraising for Team in Training and purchased my own airfare. I was not required to write this post and talking points were not suggested. All opinions are my own and do not reflect any other party.
We’re less than two weeks away from the start of runDisney’s Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend! If you’re like me, you’re already making packing lists, getting the suitcase out, and driving everyone crazy counting down until the weekend starts.
I’ve complied a little list of things to know for Marathon Weekend. Please leave a comment and let me know if you’ll be there! I can’t wait to see everyone.
A: Ask! Have any last-minute questions about all things runDisney? Head over to the Disney Parks Moms Panel and ask the resident runDisney expert your questions.
B: Bibs: As soon as you get your race bib, flip it over and fill out the emergency information form. It takes less than a minute. It’s one of those things you hope you’ll never need, but will make all the difference if you do. Your bib also serves as your timing chip. Do not try and remove the timing band from the back of the bib!
C: Characters and Camera: Be sure to have your camera or smartphone charged and ready for any runDisney race. You never know who you’re going to meet along the way. Cast Members will gladly snap a photo for you using your camera/phone. Have it out and ready to go and your bib number clearly visible. MarathonFoto will be on the course and at most character stops to snap photos for purchase after the race.
D: Dopey: 2014 marks the first-ever runDisney Dopey Challenge. Challengers will be completing the 5k, 10k, Half Marathon, and Full Marathons. Four days, four races, and SIX medals! Dopey Challengers will be receiving two bibs. Be sure to wear your correct bib for each race in order to collect your Dopey wristbands at the conclusion of each event. You’ll need to present the bib and wristband in order to get the next band and eventually, all that bling!
E: Expanded Expo: This year’s Heath and Fitness Expo is going to be huge! For the first time, runDisney is expanding the expo to Champion Stadium. Packet pick-up will be taking place in three different locations:
Champion Stadium Expo
• Kids Races
HP Field House – Entry Level
• Half Marathon
HP Field House – Lower Level
• Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge (shirt pick-up also available here)
• Dopey Challenge (shirt pick-up also available here)
5k, 10k, half and full marathon runners will pick up their shirts and gEAR bags on the expo floor at the Jostens Center. Official runDisney merchandise will be available only on the lower level of the HP Fieldhouse.
F: Family Reunion Areas: Looking to meet up with your loved ones after a race? Look for the Family Reunion areas. Meeting up inside the parks instead? Be sure to bring your park admission (aka Magic Band) with you during the race and choose a specific meeting area instead of something like “Meet in front of Spaceship Earth”.
G: gEAR bags: Each runner will receive a clear bag. This is the only bag you can use to check your gear at races. Do not forget to slap your sticker on the bag before race morning! They also make great ice bags if you’re filling up your tub for a post-race ice bath. Just sayin’. Wondering what to pack in that bag? I’ve got you covered.
H: Hydrate: Don’t force liquids down, but be sure to drink to thirst and always have some water handy, especially if you’ll be touring the parks or catching some rays poolside. Shopping at the expo? Look for the water stations and sip while your shop! Familiarize yourself with water and PowerAide station locations on the race course maps and plan to carry extra hydration if the temperatures rise.
I: Ice Cream: Yes, I’m including ice cream in my list. Why? Because you can bet your Mickey Ears I’ll be indulding in a little ice cream treat from either Beaches and Cream or Ghirardelli over the weekend. I suggest you do the same. It’ll make you run faster or something like that.
J: January Weather: In a word, the weather in the Orlando area in January is unpredictable. Don’t rely on extended forecasts and plan on bringing a range of clothing. I’m packing shorts and capris, arm sleeves, and a cheap pair of gloves, just in case. And while lows of 50 may still feel warmer than the negative temps we’ll have here at home this week, I’m packing a light jacket/sweatshirt and a pair of jeans. Getting chilled is not on the top of my to-do list. No matter what the weather, do not forget to pack sunscreen! The very last thing you want is sunburn before or during a race. Sweat on sunburn is probably the least desirable thing on Earth. Slather yourself up every day and consider bringing a small tube on race day if you’re like me and plan to be on the marathon course for five-seven hours. Sunscreen wipes are also a great option when you’re sweaty and pack easily in a fuel belt.
K: Kids Races: There are still spaces left in the Marathon Weekend Kids Races on Thursday and Friday! They’ll be sure to sell out before race time, so if you want to get your little one registered, do it as soon as possible. Packet pick-up for the Kids Races will be located at Champion Stadium.
L: Leukemia and Lymphoma Society: LLS is the official charity partner for Marathon Weekend. I am a proud member of Team in Training and will be running on behalf of TNT/LLS during the marathon. Be sure to give a special “GO TEAM” shout out to the thousands of runners in purple over the weekend.
M: MarathonFoto: MarathonFoto will be snapping lots of photos of your Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend races. Be sure to have your bib number clearly visible and front-and-center. Check out their booth at the expo. They typically offer great expo deals for those willing to pre-purchase photo packages. I know I’m going to want my photos of my first marathon, so I’ll be buying my photo downloads ahead of time.
N: New Balance: Once again, New Balance has partnered with runDisney to create some pretty magical running shoes. If you’re planning on snatching a pair, be sure to arrive early to the Health and Fitness Expo. For past races, New Balance has handed out tickets ahead of expo opening to make the check-out process smoother.
O: Online: Follow @runDisney on twitter for important weekend updates. I’m sure you’re doing this already, but I just wanted to throw it out there.
P: Pace Teams: Once again, Clif Bar Pace Teams will be available on the Half and Marathon courses. Pacers are available for finish times of 3:05, 3:15, 3:25, 3:35, 3:45, 4:00, 4:15, 4:30, 5:00, and 5:30 for the Marathon and 1:40, 1:50, 2:00, 2:15, 2:30, 2:45, 3:00 for the Half Marathon. You can meet the Pace Team at the expo and pick up a free pace wristband at their booth. Pacer corral locations are typically posted on the Clif Bar Pace Team blog closer to race time, or you can ask at the expo. You’re free to join any Pace Leader’s group, provided they are located in your corral or a later one. You can not move “up” corrals in order to start with a desired Pace Team group.
Q: Qualifying Times: Runners must maintain a minimum pace of 16 minutes per mile for all four runDisney races (5k, 10k, Half Marathon, Marathon). Corral placement is based on Proof of Time submitted at time of registration. runDisney no longer allows for corral adjustments to be made at the expo.
R: Race Retreat: The Race Retreat is a great way to relax before your big race. Enjoy breakfast, private restrooms, exclusive bag check, and areas to stretch, all in a temperature-controlled tent. After the race, you can replace those lost calories with a hot meal, enjoy a massage (extra charge), or change out of your sweaty clothes in private changing tents. There’s still space available for the Half Marathon and Marathon, so register today. I’ve heard this year’s Race Retreat will be Mary Poppins themed…how practically perfect!
S: Spectators: Heading to Walt Disney World to cheer on your favorite runner? Don’t forget to sign up for runner tracking and check out the chEAR packages available. Read the Official Race Weekend Program carefully and plan to arrive at Epcot by 4am on race day in order to avoid road closures. Parking is free at Epcot until 7am. Magic Kingdom Park viewing areas will open at 5:30am and park admission is not required to view runners inside of Magic Kingdom Park. Spectators can use bus and monorail transportation to view runners at all of the Walt Disney World Theme Parks, but admission will be required to view runners inside of the other three parks.
T: Transportation: Complimentary transportation is provided from all host resorts to ESPN’s Wide World of Sports and races. Check with the front desk for bus location. Last buses leave at 5:30am for the Family Fun Run 5k and 4:00am for the 10k, Half Marathon, and Marathon.
U: Unforeseen: Got a blister at mile 13? Need some Tylenol? Shin splints screaming at you after the race? Check out the course maps and familiarize yourself with medical tent locations, even if you don’t think you’ll use them. I never used a medical tent until the Disneyland Half Marathon. My knee started acting up around mile 5 and if it weren’t for the glorious gel that is Biofreeze, I don’t think I would have made it through. After the race, you can grab a bag of ice or more Tylenol and Biofreeze at the finish line area. Again, be sure your emergency information form on your bib is filled out.
V: VoluntEARs: Be sure to thank the volunteers! runDisney VoluntEARs are what make runDisney races special. They’re there cheering everyone on and working hard. Without them, the race wouldn’t happen, so be sure to say “thanks” or throw up a high five (or high four, as the case may be).
W: Waivers: Every race participant must present a signed waiver and ID in order to pick up their race packet. I highly suggest printing your waiver out at home and bringing it with you to the expo. If you forget your waiver, you’ll be able to print it out at the expo. This year, the waiver printer area will be located at Champion Stadium.
X: eXtras: (see what I did there?) There’s still space available for the Family Reunion Breakfast after Thursday’s 5k and Pasta in the Park parties. Register today and add some extra magic to your runDisney weekend.
Y: You did it! Celebrate your accomplishments at the Cool Down Party on Sunday night at Downtown Disney. This event is open to the public. It’s a great time to get any last-minute merchandise and enjoy exclusive discounts at participating restaurants and stores (you must show your medal in order to receive the discount). It’s a great way to unwind and celebrate your accomplishments.
Z: Zip-a-dee-doo-da! RunDisney’s Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna is almost here! It’s time to relax and prepare for the magical miles ahead. Get your packing lists together, print your waiver, and get ready to have the time of your life!