Packing Like A runDisney Princess!

Truth be told,   I had my first official foray into the world of RunDisney at the 2014 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon.  Needless to say I am no expert, but I AM hooked!

Pack like a runDisney Princess Mickey and Minnie Jacqui with her medal

Since the completion of that run that lasted over 3 hours in the nonstop, driving rain, I’ve since signed up for more magical miles. I started out 2015 with the Walt Disney World 10K, and am heading back for the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend.  I can hardly believe that I will be tackling yet another half marathon! Perhaps it’s not so surprising. 

Pack like a runDisney Princess Mickey and Minnie
Photo: Disney

Just recently, I read a blurb from the great Jeff Galloway who said that the half or full marathon has become a mission of many individuals in the 40+ age range. Like it or not, I fall in that category! I won’t bore you with the details of my fitness history; that’s for certain.  However, I will say that I always maintained that I would never be a runner…too boring! Ha! Still, I was long intrigued by RunDisney.  Why wouldn’t I be? The prospect of combining a lifelong love (Disney!) with a healthy activity was very appealing.  Thanks to the persuasive powers of some very special friends, I ran (and completed!) my first runDisney race. 

Pack like a runDisney Princess 10K with Donald

 

A humble beginner, I hope I can help some of you with a newbie packing list for the upcoming Princess Half Marathon Weekend.

How I plan to pack like a runDisney Princess!

The first thing on my list is SHOES.  Whatever you do, please run in shoes you have already put some miles on.  I pack my stability running shoes for the races and my Minnie RunDisney shoes for the parks.  If you want to pack sandals for after your run, I recommend some with support.  FitFlops or Skechers are a great example of these.

Pack like a runDisney Princess

1.   Shoes
2.   moisture wicking athletic socks
3.   comfy (and cool) top and bottoms such as capris or shorts
4.   tutu or SparkleSkirt (It IS Princess Weekend after all)!
5.   clothes you are willing to throw away as you run. (It can be cold at the start and       you can just peel those babies right off as you run). Some runners prefer to use a large garbage bag for early morning warmth.
6.   sports bra
7.   Gym Boss timer to track your intervals
8.   A running belt or fanny pack.  There are plenty of water stops along the course, so I find that a running belt with water bottles is not necessary for RunDisney races.
9.    phone or camera for pictures with the characters
10.  smartphone holder
11.  small energy bar for sustenance as you go
12.  sunscreen
13.  baseball hat or headband to comfortably keep your hair back
14.  hair ties
15.  sunglasses
16.  race paperwork and confirmations

Pack like a runDisney Princess

I am sure I will learn much more along the way. In the meantime, I hope my packing list helps other beginners with some essentials for the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend. 

I hope to see you on the course! See ya real soon!

 

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runDisney Princess Half Marathon Registration Opens Tomorrow!

Photo: runDisney Princess Half Marathon runDisney
Photo: runDisney

The 2015 runDisney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, February 19-22, opens for registration tomorrow, July 15th, at noon EST!!!

A touch of winter is going to be coming to Florida for this runDisney event, as the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at Walt Disney World next year as the Disney Princess 5K and runDisney Kids races will have a Frozen theme with new medals inspired from the film.

Princess Half Marathon

Also returning is the Disney Princess Enchanted 10K to help round out the Disney Glass Slipper Challenge, which involves running the 10K and half marathon on consecutive days for a total of 19.3 miles to earn an additional Disney Glass Slipper Challenge Medal!

glass slipper challege medals
2014 Inaugural Glass Slipper Challenge Medals

The Princess Half Marathon and Tinker Bell Half Marathon hosted at Disneyland in California are women-focused runDisney events and focus on healthy and active lifestyles for women and girls. And participants in both the Tinker Bell and Princess Half Marathons have the opportunity to earn a special Coast-to-Coast Challenge medal.

RunDisney
The 2014 Tinker Bell/Princess Half Marathon Coast to Coast Medal

Keep your eyes open, because we hear there might be a ‘tropical’ challenge that might be announced soon that Olaf would LOVE!!!!

Frozen Olaf Summer runDisney Princess Half Marathon

The Princess Half Marathon was my first Half Marathon in 2012, and it is by far my absolute favorite runDisney race!!! I look forward to it every year, because it holds so many special memories and is an amazing display of women and girls excelling in a supportive and positive atmosphere. I love it!

 

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2014 runDisney Princess Half Marathon Recap

Kelly Christine Delaney wraps up our runDisney Princess Half Marathon recap day with the last leg of the Glass Slipper Challenge, the runDisney Princess Half Marathon! We cannot thank her enough for her guest posts!!!

runDisney Photo
runDisney Photo

The second part of the Glass Slipper Challenge was the Princess half marathon. This was my third half marathon and my second RunDisney race challenge and I was excited to have a great race and receive my two medals to complete my set of four from the weekend. My excitement continued as I rode with my race roommates and RunDisney newbies Tricia and Lauren.It accelerated as I met up with other running friends for a pre-race picture and headed off to the corrals.

runDisney Princess Half Marathon

I didn’t have to wait too long for the race to start with the new corral/start system thankfully, and we were off pretty quickly. Less than a mile in, my excitement declined quickly as the weather was a bit brutal. I am used to running in the heat, especially for RunDisney races, but I wasn’t completely ready for the 100% humidity that came along with it. I quickly became overheated which slowed down my pace and frustrated me as it felt like my training was going down the tubes. At the water stops I was drinking one cup of water and pouring another on my head to cool down and it helped significantly.

runDisney Princess Half MarathonrunDisney Princess Half Marathon

 

Soon enough I hit the TTC and ran into an awesome friend Joanne who I stopped for a hug and a quick drink. From there I picked up my pace and was feeling pretty great. I ran into Todd in the Magic Kingdom for another hug and high five and enjoyed the trip down Main Street USA. The remainder of the time in Magic Kingdom went far too fast and I definitely enjoyed seeing the characters out in force. I always think I’m going to stop for a character while on the course and never end up doing so. The appeal of the picture never seems as high as the appeal to keep running and finish strong.

runDisney Princess Half Marathon

 

As I left Magic Kingdom I started to hear something absolutely beautiful down the road. Idina Menzel’s version of “Let It Go” was blasting through the speakers at the halfway point and I quickly became overwhelmed with emotion. For every RunDisney race I hadn’t been alone on the course, I always had someone with me. This race I was with friends for the first mile but then from there I was by myself. Hearing the song after just seeing Frozen for the first time brought the back the excitement I had lost due to the heat. I sent a voice message to my running buddy Shelley letting her know I was ok and we cried a bit together via voice messages. It’s good to know that despite being out there by myself, I was never really alone out there.

The next four miles were solid, especially after the Clif shot (I always recommend mocha as it tastes similar to chocolate frosting to me.) The humidity had cut down and I was enjoying the sights and sounds on the course. ….and then the sun came out and turned up the heat. I saw people around me were slowing down a bit except for one person. This runner and I had been passing each other back and forth while doing our intervals for awhile and finally ended up next to each other. We laughed a bit together that we were each other’s pace keeper and decided to make it official for the remainder of the race. It was nice to spend the last few miles laughing with a stranger who quickly became a friend.

runDisney Princess Half Marathon

At mile 12 I ran into Joanne again for another hug and drink. I shared it with my new friend and she enjoyed having something that wasn’t water or a sports drink. Just before hitting the thirteen mile marker a song came on in my ears that made my day. “22” by Taylor Swift started playing and it hit me: I just ran 22.4 miles this weekend over the course of three days. I set a challenge for myself and I was doing it. This time two years ago I never thought I could do it and yet here I was. My joy led me to stop for my first and last picture on the course with my new friend at the gospel choir at mile 13. At this point she turned to me and said “you made this race for me, I wasn’t sure about myself due to the weather but you kept me going, especially after the heat hit.” Hearing this from a stranger was such an awesome experience, especially after having Deanna make my Tower Ten Miler bearable. We hugged just after crossing the finish line and went our separate ways to get our medals and meet our friends/families.

runDisney Princess Half Marathon

 

Getting my runDisney Princess Half Marathon and Gold Slipper Challenge medals was such an awesome experience, especially after feeling like I earned them more being out there by myself. I look forward to continuing to challenge myself out on the course, maybe even with a full marathon one day.

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runDisney Enchanted 10K Race Recap With Kelly Christine

Kelly Christine Delaney joins us in this second post of our runDisney Princess Half Marathon recap day!!! A huge thanks to Kelly Christine for this great post about a really great race!!!

A few weeks ago I participated in the runDisney Glass Slipper Challenge as part of the Princess Half Marathon Weekend. The first portion of this challenge was the Enchanted 10K on February 22. I had participated in the 5K the day before with friends so thankfully the 3:30am wake up call wasn’t too painful. I stayed at my favorite Disney Vacation Club resort, Old Key West, for this race weekend so it was a short trip to the course. I met my friends for our regular pre-race catchup and warmup before heading to the corrals.

 Enchanted 10K

Thankfully in my corral were some awesome people and we decided to make this race less of a run and more of a quick walk to save our energy and pace for the next day. I had three awesome friends for my 6.2 stroll: Diana, Deanna, and the lovely Shelley (yes, that friend Shelley who retired from running after running 19.3 miles last September.)

 Enchanted 10K

It was a really humid morning which made it tough to get a solid pace going, but with the surprise of Elsa from Frozen in the first mile the excitement increased, as did our pace. After seeing Elsa, there wasn’t too much on the course until we hit the 5K mark at the entrance to Epcot. We passed Mushu and Mulan in China, Snow White in Germany, Jiminy Cricket in Italy, Jasmine in Morocco, and Mary Poppins in the UK.

 Enchanted 10K

After crossing the bridge from France to the UK, we made a left and headed out of the parks for a stroll past the Epcot resorts. We waved to Diana’s husband at the Boardwalk (while running past baseball Goofy) and saw a bunch of friends cheering us on outside of the Beach Club. From there we headed back into the parks and weaved our way through the remainder of World Showcase and Future World. The temperature was steadily increasing during those last two miles and it was getting a bit uncomfortable. I was remarking to my friends that a little bit of rain (that was expected that afternoon) would be nice…within 2 minutes my wish was granted and a light refreshing sprinkle started. A few minutes later we crossed the finish line and got straight to hydrating and refueling while congratulating each other on a fun race.

 Enchanted 10K

I went into the  Enchanted 10K race hoping for unique and fun pictures with some friends and it ended up being something different, yet still rewarding. RunDisney races are never a PR for me but they’re always an amazing opportunity to accomplish things I never believed I would do while making memories with awesome friends.

Enchanted 10K

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Cinderella Royal Family 5K

5kLast month a group of friends gathered to show support for our friend Chip who wanted to participate in the runDisney Cinderella Royal Family 5K in celebration of her 70th birthday. Spearheaded by Chip’s son Colin, we got together before the start of the race at Epcot during Disney’s Princess Half Marathon weekend. There was a group of about ten of us who rallied around Chip as her Royal Entourage. Colin even had signs for us all to wear on our backs so everyone would know why we were there.

Chip wore a white shirt and most of us wore our race shirts which were dark blue so Chip would stand out and be the center of attention. The 5K started as usual in the Epcot parking lot, winding around then going backstage before emerging into World Showcase between Mexico and Norway. We walked at a pretty good pace, and did a commendable job at staying together as a dozen without interrupting the flow of traffic for those around us. Chip set the pace and we kept with her. Occasionally someone would peal away from the group for a photo, or they saw someone they knew along the course, or even for a pit stop, but we’d slow up if we felt they were too far behind and regroup.

For me, this was a really fun experience. I always run alone, so it was nice to be together with a group of some of my closest friends to be able to do this to honor Chip. We had a great time walking and enjoying each other’s company and the scenery along the course, which is one of my favorites as far as a 5K goes. There were even a few times we stopped and posed for pictures as a group along the way. My favorite part though were the other runners who came up to Chip and wanted to shake her hand and congratulate her and to say how proud and inspired they were. I may have shed a few hidden tears. It was beautiful to be in one of my favorite places with a group of friends enjoying an activity to celebrate the accomplishment of a fantastic person.

On top of all the good feelings that came from being there for Chip and completing another race, we got what is my favorite race shirt so far for this 5K. The medal is also one of my favorites by far. I love the entire vibe of race weekends, in addition to the fact that I have so many friends who run that I get to see a bunch of my best friends pretty much any time Disney hosts a race. I look forward to my next runDisney race in November for the inaugural Avengers Super Heroes 5K in Disneyland. This will be my first California race and I love the Avengers so I cannot wait!

Have you done any of the runDisney 5K fun runs with friends? Did you happen to see Chip’s Royal Entourage while on the 5K course this past February? Leave a message in the comments about your favorite race memory because this is definitely one of mine. Congratulations Chip on your great accomplishment! We are all so proud of you and were honored to be able to share in this moment with you!

Pre-race Cupid Shuffle warm up
Pre-race Cupid Shuffle warm up
Group shot courtesy of Colin Buchanan
Group shot courtesy of Colin Buchanan
Front shot courtesy of Kristen Helmstetter
Front shot courtesy of Kristen Helmstetter
Back shot courtesy of Kristen Helmstetter
Back shot courtesy of Kristen Helmstetter
Colin, Rich & Chip almost there
Colin, Rich & Chip almost there
Chip with the Finish Line in sight
Chip with the Finish Line in sight
Chip receiving her first medal!
Chip receiving her first medal!
Cinderella Royal Family 5K medal closeup
Cinderella Royal Family 5K medal closeup
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RunDisney Princess Half Marathon Weekend News

runDisney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Adds New Race, New Challenge and New Medals

RunDisney

Women-focused event to offer 10K, new challenge and special edition medals fit for a Princess; Special Princess and Tinker Bell half marathon registration available June 11

Annual Passholders and DVC Members are able to register for these runDisney Princess Half Marathon races on June 6th!

Building on the success of its women focused events, runDisney is broadening the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort next year by adding a 10K and a new two-race challenge.

The Princess 10K gives runners of various levels more opportunities to run through Disney theme parks and receive a specially-designed finisher medal. And runners looking for an even bigger challenge can sign up for the 10K on Saturday and the Half Marathon on Sunday (19.3 miles total) to earn the inaugural Disney Glass Slipper Challenge Medal to go along with medals from each individual race.

The Princess Half Marathon Weekend, scheduled for Feb. 20-23, is one of two women focused runDisney events. The other is the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend in January at Disneyland Resort in California. Both races are among the largest womenspecific running events in the country and focus on healthy active lifestyles for women and girls.

For instance, after nearly 7,500 runners ran in the inaugural Princess Half Marathon event in 2009, the popularity of the race has grown considerably with more than 26,000 registered runners for last year’s race.

Some enhancements are being made to this year’s runDisney Princess Half Marathon, and they include:

  •  Lowering weekend capacity by 2,000 runners, mostly in the half marathon
  • Proof of time required from runners anticipating a finish time of 3:15 or less
  • More corrals allowing runners with similar abilities to be grouped together and therefore spreading out the field on the course
  • No corral changes based on proof of time will be made after December 1, 2013.
  • The three-Day Disney’sFit For A Princess Expo will return to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

Also new in 2014 is a special edition runDisney Coast-to-Coast Race Challenge Medal for runners participating in the 2014 Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland in January and the 2014 Princess Half Marathon five weeks later at Walt Disney World. Finishers receive the coveted medal featuring the likeness of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse with a pink overlay and lanyard.

RunDisney
New Coast to Coast Medal

Registration for the 2014 Princess Half Marathon opens to the public on June 11 at www.runDisney.com, however Annual Passholders and DVC Members can register June 6.

A limited number of runners will have the opportunity to register for both the Princess and Tinker Bell Half Marathon at that time. Those not securing an early registration for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon will have a second chance when on-line registration officially opens on July 9.

Both the Princess and Tinker Bell Half Marathon weekends include signature runDisney events including a health and fitness expo geared towards women, kids races, a family fun run 5K, as well as featured half marathons for both weekend.

For more information and to register for runDisney events, visit www.runDisney.com.

About runDisney

runDisney is a series of seven event weekends providing runners unique opportunities to run various distances through Disney theme parks. Race participants earn Disneythemed medals, experience legendary Disney entertainment and guest service and ultimately celebrate their accomplishments with a Disney vacation. The original event in the series, the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna, takes place in January followed by the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend in February, Expedition Everest Challenge in May, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler in October and the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend in November. Disneyland hosts the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend in January and the Disneyland Half Marathon in September during Labor Day Weekend. More than 125,000 running enthusiasts participate in runDisney events each year.

For more information, visit RunDisney online and follow us on Facebook , and Twitter.

 

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RunDisney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Adds New Race, Challenge, And Medals!

RunDisney
New Coast to Coast Medal for those completing the Princess and Tinker Bell Half Marathons

RunDisney Princess Half Marathon New Additions For 2014

Women-focused event to offer 10K, new challenge and special-edition medals fit for a Princess;

Special Princess and Tinker Bell half marathon registration available June 11

Building on the success of its women-focused events, runDisney is broadening the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort next year by adding a 10K and a new two-race challenge.

The Princess 10K gives runners of various levels more opportunities to run through Disney theme parks and receive a specially-designed finisher medal. And runners looking for an even bigger challenge can sign up for the 10K on Saturday and the Half Marathon on Sunday (19.3 miles total) to earn the inaugural Disney Glass Slipper Challenge Medal to go along with medals from each individual race.

The Princess Half Marathon Weekend, scheduled for Feb. 20-23, is one of two women-focused runDisney events. The other is the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend in January at Disneyland Resort in California.  Both races are among the largest women-specific running events in the country and focus on healthy active lifestyles for women and girls.  For instance, after nearly 7,500 runners ran in the inaugural Princess Half Marathon event in 2009, the popularity of the race has grown considerably with more than 26,000 registered runners for last year’s race.

Also new in 2014 is a special edition runDisney Coast-to-Coast Race Challenge Medal for runners participating in the 2014 Tinker Bell Half Marathon at Disneyland in January and the 2014 Princess Half Marathon five weeks later at Walt Disney World.  Finishers receive the coveted medal featuring the likeness of Walt Disney and Mickey Mouse with a pink overlay and lanyard.

Registration for the 2014 Princess Half Marathon opens June 11 at www.runDisney.com.  A limited number of runners will have the opportunity to register for both the Princess and Tinker Bell Half Marathon at that time.  Those not securing an early registration for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon will have a second chance when on-line registration officially opens on July 9.

Both the Princess and Tinker Bell Half Marathon weekends include signature runDisney events including a health and fitness expo geared towards women, kids races, a family fun run 5K, as well as featured half marathons for both weekend.

For more information and to register for runDisney events, visit www.runDisney.com.

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RunDisney Princess Tips and Reminders

RunDisney

Walt Disney World RunDisney Princess Weekend is almost here so I’ve compiled a list of tips and reminders to assist you as you prepare.

The Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse Royal Family 5K takes place Saturday, February 23 at 6:30 AM and the Princess Half Marathon will be held Sunday, February 24 beginning at 5:35 AM.  With just a few days before the race it’s very important to take care of your body by getting as much rest as possible, eating nutritious meals, and hydrating with water and/or sports drinks.  If you’re visiting the theme parks before race day, it’s best to take it a leisurely pace, take in the shows and sit down attractions and try to limit the time walking or standing in the sun or heat.  Take breaks at the resort to enjoy the pool or take a nap.

Disney’s Fit for a Princess Expo will be held at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.  The Expo hours are Friday, February 22 9:00 AM- 7:00 PM and Saturday, February 23 9:00 AM- 6:00 PM.  If you are staying at a WDW resort other than Coronado Springs, you will need to utilize bus transportation, labeled with a RunDisney sign.  If you are staying off property, park at Downtown Disney Westside to catch the RunDisney bus transportation to Coronado Springs.  Parking and guest drop-off during Expo hours is not allowed at Coronado Springs.  Be sure to complete and print your race waiver prior to arriving at the Expo and bring your photo identification.  At the expo you will pick up your race packet which includes your bib with timing chip, race shirt, and goody bag.  This is also the time to pick up any commemorative items you purchased during registration.  Be sure to hold onto the large, clear plastic Run Disney bag you are given as this is what you will use for bag check during the race.  Expo is a great time to check out the vendors, see new products, visit with fellow runners, and get into the spirit of the race weekend.

Here’s a quick check list of things to do the day/night before the race:

  • Fill out the back of your race bib with emergency contact and personal information and attach it to your running shirt with provided safety pins
  • Lay out your entire running outfit including every item you are planning to wear and carry during the race
  • Prepare your clear plastic Run Disney bag for bag check by affixing your number sticker
  • Plan your pre-race/early morning breakfast or snack such as a bagel with peanut butter, cereal bar, or fruit
  • Decide where to meet friends and family following the race
  • Set your alarm and/or order a wake-up call
  • Go to bed early and dream about the bling

On the day of the race, give yourself plenty of time for driving and parking or riding WDW transportation.  Race transportation including monorail and buses from WDW resort hotels will begin at 3:00 AM and you must board no later than 4:00 AM and in your assigned corral by 5:00 AM.  If you are checking a bag, it must be at the bag check area no later than 4:30 AM.  There will be food and beverages available for purchase in the Wonder and Imagine lots of Epcot the morning of the race.  Give yourself plenty of time to get to your corral and prepare yourself for race.

You’ve trained, prepared, and waited and it’s finally here.  Enjoy it!  Disney races are full of fun, friends, and surprises…..and there’s a beautiful medal and an amazing sense of accomplishment awaiting you at the finish line.

Happy running!

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Wordless Wednesday – RunDisney Princesses

Wordless Wednesday – February 20, 2013

RunDisney
For this week’s Wordless Wednesday, I thought I would post a picture of Shalon and & I celebrated finishing the RunDisney Princess Half Marathon last year. It was our first Half Marathon, and it was an amazing experience to share with such a great friend.

 

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Cheering for a runDisney Event

princess_half_logo_2013

My addiction to running didn’t start with the running itself, it started with the cheering.  Back in 2009 I made some friends, and not long after I learned that they were running in a race.  A race at Walt Disney World.  I honestly had no real concept of what this meant, but I had always had it in the back of my head that running was something I wanted to try.  So I made a decision to seek a little inspiration, and go cheer for them. That day I learned one solid thing: cheering for a race isn’t easy. Now that’s not to say that it can’t be, like anything else it’s all about how much, or how little you want to throw yourself into it.

This upcoming weekend, February 22-February 24, 2013, runDisney is hosting Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend.  There are two races that you could be cheering for, the Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse Royal Family 5K, and the Disney’s Princess Half Marathon.

Some Fun RunDisney Facts about Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend:

  • More than 26,000 runners in the half; 8,000 in the 5K and 1,700 in Kids Races; many from throughout Central Florida

  • The half marathon includes more than 24,500 female runners and 1,700 male runners

  • Runners represent all 50 states and 32 countries

  • The youngest participant is 14 and the oldest woman is 78

  • There are 98 RunDisney runners celebrating their Birthday during the race

If you have runners running either of these races you should sit down with them and talk with them to find out some information that will make cheering for them easier:

What corral are they starting in?  For each race, runners are split up into corrals that have staggered starting times.  These corrals are typically lettered.  Runners in B will start the race before runners in C.

What is their pace per minute? Runners don’t all run at the same speed. You’ll need this knowledge for longer races if you’re going to travel between points to cheer.

Will they be stopping? Disney races are designed for fun. Along the course there will be various special areas, characters, and photo opportunities for runners to participate in.  This means that despite their pace, your runner can take longer if they’re planning to stop to take a picture and have to wait in a line.  If you didn’t expect your runner to be stopping you might find yourself getting worried when they don’t show after an expected period of time.

What will they be wearing? In case you’re not going to see your runner before they enter the corral in the morning, they should definitely send you a photo of what they will be wearing so you can easily spot them on the course.

Regardless of which race you’re cheering for, I can’t stress enough that the right time to head out to cheer is when the runners head out to run.  The 5K starts at 6:30 am on Saturday, and I recommend getting to the starting line of the race no later than 5:45 am.  This will give you time to meet up with friends, watch your runner head to their corral, and find a good place to cheer from at the Start.  By contrast, the Half starts at 5:30 am, though depending on where you’re cheering from (more on that below), you might have some wiggle room.  Transportation options are explained in the Official Race Program.  Whether you’re busing, taking the monorail, or driving yourself – everything you’ll need to know is in there.  Just turn to page 42.

Cheering for the 5K itself is fairly easy.  If you look at the course map you’ll see that the race starts and ends in Epcot.  In fact, it starts and ends in the parking lot of Epcot.  Spectators will not be allowed into Epcot during the race, this means you will only be able to see your runners at the start and end of the race.  Knowing their pace is important here.  A 5K race is approximately 3.1 miles.  This means that when you see your runner at the start of the race, and their pace is 10 minutes per mile, that you can expect them to reach the finish line in about 30 minutes.  If they’re planning to stop, even one photo opportunity can increase their time by 5 minutes or even more.

For the Half Marathon, cheering can be a bit more involved, or relatively the same.  The Starting line for the race is out on Epcot Center Drive, you can actually walk out to the road from the parking lot through the woods.  Just look for the signs when you’re there.  The Finish line is in the Epcot parking lot.  Many people never go out to the starting line, because it is extremely difficult to spot runners at this point.  The Platinum level ChEAR Squad Race Retreat spectator package might be a good, albeit expensive, option.  You can relax in luxury while your runner is rounding the corner in Tomorrowland.

If you want to be more active you’ll need to consider using the Online Spectator Tool.  With this tool you can try to determine the best places to watch your runner along the path.  There are many options to choose from.  But my preferred choices are: Mile 0 at the Starting Line, Mile 5.3 on Main Street, USA in Magic Kingdom, Mile 12 at the bus depot in Epcot, and Mile 13 which is just before the Finish.  Other popular places to cheer from are at the TTC, at the Contemporary across from the Magic Kingdom bus depot, and on the Western side of Polynesian Resort.  The runners will run by (or through in the case of the TTC) all three of these. You can find this information on page 43 in the program.

In this era of high tech, you’ll want to consider one of a few options for tracking your runners.  For starters, each runner is tagged, and runDisney provides a means to track your runners via this tag using the Runner Tracking tool for the event (tool changes per event, but your account will remain between events, and be good at all future races).  Here you can receive alerts via text or email and auto-post updates to Facebook or Twitter.  I will be honest, this tool is not the most reliable of systems, but it has gotten better than it used to be.

There are plenty of other ways you can track your runner.  For example, if they take walk intervals, and have their phone with them, a simple text message stating where they are can work wonders.  If you and your runner both have an iPhone I suggest using the Find My Friends app that Apple puts out.  You’ll want to set it up before the race, but with it you’ll be able to use the mapping features of your iPhone to locate your runner.  If a runner wants to broadcast their location to multiple people across multiple devices, I suggest using a WhatsApp group to do so as it’s available across multiple phone types.  Applications like RunKeeper are very popular with runners for tracking their runs also have additional functionality that lets others track the runner on their phone.

The last, and most important thing, is that the person you’re there to cheer for isn’t the only person out there running that day.  While you’re out on the course waiting for your runner, you might notice that most bibs will have a name on them.  If you can read a name, shout it out and cheer for that person too.  I can not begin to tell you how much it will mean to that person.  There are plenty of people out on the course who otherwise have no one to cheer for them.  And who knows, you might end up cheering for one of us here.

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