Here’s Why Every Athlete Should Choose to “runDisney”

Published on January 24, 2020

Marathons are all the rage in 2020 and one you should check out is runDisney, the road race division of Disney Sports Enterprises, which gives runners a “runcation” that matches up with their vacation.

Whether you are an elite runner, or just starting to get that running “bug,” there are choices to be made in terms of how to get your feet wet.

Sure, you could start small and join a little team of running enthusiasts in your local area — occasionally tackling a 5K or 10K. Or, you could go “all in” from the get-go and train for a revered yet grueling marathon such as the New York City Marathon or Chicago Marathon.

You could do either of those things. But here are just a few of the reasons why you should choose to “runDisney.”

Walt Disney World Hosts 4 Different Marathon Weekends Throughout the Year

Your options include the most popular, original Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (January, Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend (February), Star Wars Rival Run Weekend (April) — and Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend (November).

Upping the Ante

Each event consists of a 5K, 10K and Half Marathon option, however, the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is the only weekend event that offers a full marathon.

Additionally, each themed marathon weekend throws in some cheeky challenges to push runners to the limit even more than running just one race would do.

For the race weekend in January, for example, in addition to the standard races, you can choose to register for the Goofy Challenge or the Dopey Challenge — very appropriately named.

For the “Goofy,” you’d have to complete both the half-marathon and the full marathon. The “Dopey?”

You’d be completing ALL FOUR RACES in four days. (Yes, there are some human beings that choose to do this to themselves.)

Even the Kiddos Can Get In On the Action

Little racers can join the fun by running special “dashes” just for kids — complete with a finisher’s medal of their very own.

See the Parks Like You’ve Never Seen Them Before

When you participate in a runDisney race, you get to run through at least one of the parks (or in the full marathon, all of them!)

And you get to do it before the parks open, so you will be able to see the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, the Animal Kingdom and in some cases the water parks in a totally new light — empty!

You Can Meet New Characters

Along the marathon routes, you will have the option to stop and take photos with beloved characters.

Some characters waiting to greet you, in fact, are not the typical characters that you would see wandering the parks. It is truly a unique opportunity for a Disney geek.

Let Your Disney Freak Flag Fly

With Disney race weekends, you can show off your Disney fandom in a whole new way by dressing up in Disney themed costumes while you run!

The sky’s the limit, really — there are only a few reasonable guidelines. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, though. It’s not that easy running with wings.

The Pre-Race Logistics Are Pretty Seamless

In contrast to many marathons that require a grueling several hours at the “start village” and super frustrating transportation arrangements — RunDisney provides convenient options, especially if you choose to stay at an on-property Disney resort.

You can take a free bus straight to the start village, and you never have to wait longer than about 2 hours before you cross that start line.

Additionally, you can purchase the “Runner’s Square” perk — a heated tent with continental breakfast and plenty of room to stretch.

The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Has Produced Some “lifers”

The Walt Disney Marathon is a way of life for some people. There are folks that have participated in one race or another since the marathon’s inaugural year in 1994. The beloved marathon weekend celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2013. 

The Goofy Challenge in particular turned 15 this year — and a large handful of runners were going for their 15th year of “perfect Goofys,” meaning, they completed the Goofy challenge 15 years in a row.

Suffice it to say, regardless of your experience level — elite runners, fitness enthusiasts and Disney fanatics alike have been choosing runDisney as their preferred way to hit the pavement… and can you blame them?

Alexi Melvin is the Senior Entertainment Writer at Grit Daily. Based in San Francisco, she covers entertainment, events, and their intersection of tech. She is a voice actress, known for her work in the Star Wars franchise films. She is also fluent in both English and Sarcasm.

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