On the last day of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration I attended (where I paid a conference fee but received gifts while at the conference), I had the opportunity to participate in a Disney fun run, and you can bet that I jumped all over it – and wow were the Run Disney costumes impressive.
While this was not an official Run Disney race, many learnings apply for anyone who wants to participate in a “real” race whether a 10K or full marathon or more.
(Photo Credit Katie Chio)
I’m not a runner, but a 2 mile run seemed very doable to me. To be honest, I would have been up for a 5K, but I loved how this was open to so many different fitness levels.
It wasn’t a race, and there was a run group – which I participated in – and a run/walk group that ran for 30 seconds and then walked for 30 seconds throughout the course.
Just like the rest of the conference, everything about the run was incredibly supportive from the cast members who cheered us on throughout the run to the water provided to the part that brought tears to my eyes, the amazing runners who went back to help others and encourage them to keep going.
(Photo Credit ESPN GameDay Photos)
This is the epitome of Disney to me. I haven’t run in a race since 2009, but there was no way I was going to miss this one.
There were so many components to Run Disney that I absolutely adore.
What makes Run Disney Races special?
It’s early in the morning, and you run through the parks before they open. It’s such a magical feeling to run through the theme parks without the crowds.
Our course had us run through both Disneyland and California Adventures, though with only 2 miles, we obviously didn’t run the entirety of either park.
You always run through the parks in the Run Disney races, and although we were able to stay in the park after our race, generally you must purchase a ticket to the theme park if you want to remain after the race ends.
For us, our families were also able to join us at the finish line.
I would have loved to see them at the start cheering us on, but 6:15am is a bit early for them! Seeing everyone as we neared the balloon arch denoting the end of our run was incredibly invigorating and kept me running to the end.
(Photo credit Katie Chio)
I learned that I run with my head down and a not happy expression on my face apparently at all times. I completely missed the photographers along the way and didn’t notice when my picture was being taken.
I was far too focused on my rhythm and putting one foot in front of the other to look up and see then, let alone smile or wave or cheer as so many others do.
I know now to be on the lookout so that I can have a photo I want to keep the next time I race!
Unlike the official Run Disney races, we did not receive medals for finishing. As cool as those medals are, I was a bit bummed, but I suppose we didn’t truly earn them.
We didn’t do a 5K or a half marathon or more, and that’s ok. Not surprisingly, Disney does an amazing job creating unique medals that people want to keep and treasure always.
What are some of the more famous Run Disney Races?
The Disney Wine and Dine half marathon has been run since 2010, and the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge started back in 2005. I absolutely adore the anniversary medals created for these events and only wish I could earn one – or both – of them.
I will tell you that I had no idea what I was getting into when I signed up for the fun run at Disney Social Media Moms. I had assumed that it would simply be a 2 mile jaunt through the park or parks.
As the conference approached and I heard more and more attendees talking about the costumes they were planning to wear to the run, I started to panic. Costumes? What?
Run Disney Costume Ideas
Yes, costumes. You are not required to wear a costume, but so many runners do, and it definitely makes the run more fun.
I loved finding Thor and Minnie and Anna and Tweedle Dee and more. It brought a smile to my face, and I was relieved to see in the end that the costumes were far less elaborate than I had initially feared they would be, not that their relative simplicity made them any less cool, of course.
I was so impressed by the creativity of so many of my fellow runners (and walkers). Many people took simple items and gave the true essence of a Disney personality to create amazing Run Disney costumes.
I was simply too daunted to figure out something brilliant this time around, but now I’m ready for my next Run Disney race.
Running this race was so invigorating. I loved the support I felt from everyone at all times. At the end, we all felt such a sense of triumph and jubilation that we succeeded. And we all did, no matter how fast – or slow – we ran.
We did it, and that is what matters. Besides, the opportunity for us to pose with Lightning McQueen was just to perfect to miss, right?
Because this? This is certainly not my last Run Disney event. Not by far.
How do I sign up for a Run Disney race?
I will tell that these races are very popular. They sell out, often very quickly.
If you want to run, you need to be on it!
Sign up for email alerts for when registration opens for the next set of events. I may be “only” doing a 5K, but you can bet that I will most certainly be running with Disney again.