Thursday, January 2, 2014

Walt Disney World Half Marathon presented by Cigna

Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend - Half Marathon 

Virtual Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Blog Hop Directory

January 11th, 2014 marks the 17th WDW Marathon Weekend Half Marathon.  My husband was lucky enough to earn the 15th year medal when I was 6 months pregnant with our 2nd child (lots of numbers!). Though I can't run the Walt Disney World Half Marathon this year, I'm excited to be a part of this great Virtual runDisney Blog Hop!  

My first half marathon ever was the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Half Marathon, presented by Cigna.  This annual race will be 17 year of this particular event - and it gets more popular every year.  

My Overview and Analysis #runDisney style

I absolutely adore #runDisney.  The runDisney brand has created incredible events - and, when there are problems (like the 5k royal 'family' fun run last year), they learn from their mistakes and make changes.  The idea of waking up at 2 am to head to a race can be intimidating, however, seeing Spaceship Earth at Oh' dark thirty makes it worthwhile!  The DJ's are playing music to pump you up, the crowds mill in, and the excitement builds as you wait for race time.

Prior to Marathon Weekend 5k 2012
As part of race teams, I've had meet ups prior to the runs and there was plenty of time to meet up with friends, both old and new.  There are even characters for meet ups - and yes, the lines are long, but what else do you have to do?  Find the porto-potties, socialize (if you're able to do so at 4 am), and wait - not too bad!  

**Lines too long at the Porto-potties?  Keep walking! There are ALWAYS more!**

The best part of Disney races is the show.  In true Disney fashion, Disney puts on a GREAT show.  From the countdown and fireworks (yes, fireworks) to start off the race, to the entertainment along the entire route.  Water stops/gu stations along the way, first aid - it is the most organized and well maintained race I've been seen (and heard that it is the best from people who have done more than my 5 or 6!).

The entertainment and characters you can meet vary from race to race.  Because Marathon Weekend is incredibly coed (as opposed to Princess which had only about 6% of the runners male), the entertainment is varies - Prince and Princesses, Pirates, Cars, to the bands like Off Kilter and local school bands.  You won't know what you will see and hear until you are there - but it is always an exciting surprise to pass different characters in their various locations!
By the Teacups in Fantasyland, January 2011

Basics of #runDisney WDW Marathon Weekend - half marathon

  • The half marathon (13.1 miles) is on Saturday of Marathon Weekend
  • The start and finish line are at Epcot - you will run through both the Magic Kingdom and EPCOT  
  • The race begins at 5:30 a.m. - it is imperative to get there at least TWO hours early
    • Roads close and traffic backs up EARLY - don't miss the start of the race by leaving your resort/hotel late!
    • Resort buses run early - get on them sooner than you think you may need
  • Headphones are not recommended - but that doesn't mean you can't wear them!  
    • I recommend using ear buds and keeping one in and one out  
    • There is entertainment along the course - using one ear bud will allow you to enjoy your surroundings, hear upcoming runners, while also still having entertainment/pace markers during the less-exciting parts of the run
  • Corrals are based on pace and finish time - they can be adjusted if you have proof that you are faster/you can always back up a corral to join friends/family
  • #runDisney races have a 16 minute-per-mile pace minimum, making this race more doable than many others, yet it is still imperative to train for a race this long
  • Costumes ARE welcome, but not required
  • This is probably the largest half marathon at WDW 
  • Consider not worrying about time - these races are run and in places you don't get to see on a regular basis!   I love running to meet characters and enjoy the scenery and will probably never set a record during one of my #runDisney races!
For a complete half marathon recap, check out my post from 2011


  1. Great job - and I couldn't agree more - there are always more portopotties along the way. And actual, real bathrooms!

  2. Thanks!! Yea - nice to stop in one of the parks for the real potties :)

  3. Jenn, I just love the sense of history and experience that you bring to this event! Congrats to your hubby on a 15 year medal- what an achievement!! This particular runDisney weekend was my first too, and the show- the entertainment was what hooked me too. I like to think that contrary to most Disney shows, running these events makes US all performers and cast. As I said, "on with the show"!!