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How runDisney Makes The Happiest Place On Earth Even Happier

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For those who love road running and larger race fields, runDisney events may be as close to running heaven as it gets. And no, you don’t have to be a Mickey Mouse aficionado to share in this sentiment. The team from runDisney goes out of their way to create race experiences that encompass pretty much everything that a road runner’s dreams are made of.

Three Orange Birds” by Sam Howzit. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.

From race expos brimming with all the running gear you could ever want to race medals as big as gongs and en route entertainment unlike any other, runDisney events have it all. Here’s how, for runners, runDisney makes the happiest place on earth even happier.

Who and what is runDisney?

But who and what exactly is runDisney and how does it fit into the bigger picture? Formerly known as “The Endurance Series at Walt Disney World Resort” and the “Disney Endurance Series”, runDisney is a division of Disney Sports Enterprises, which falls under Walt Disney Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products. And while this sure is a mouthful, the aim of runDisney is simple: To enable runners to “move with magic through enchanted Disney parks the world over“.

What are the different runDisney events?

And whether you’re a beginner runner or an endurance junkie, runDisney has something on offer for everyone. Current race options include the following:

  • The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. Held in January each year, this event weekend offers runners a choice between kids’ races, a 5K, 10K, half marathon and full marathon. Or why not tackle both the half marathon and full marathon as part of the Goofy Challenge? And for the very fit (and brave!) there’s even the option of completing all the races (except the kids’ races) on four consecutive days as part of the Dopey Challenge. And yes, it’s totally worth it. Participants who successfully complete the Dopey Challenge take home a whopping six medals – one for each race plus two extra for the Goofy and Dopey Challenges! And if you think that there couldn’t possibly be more, you’d be wrong. If you complete one event of the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, plus the subsequent 5K race on Castaway Cay as part of a Bahamian cruise on the Disney Dream after the race weekend, you’ll earn the coveted Castaway Cay Challenge medal. Phew.
  • The Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend. This one is especially for the ladies (or dudes who like to dress up in tutus!). With kids’ races, a 5K, 10K, half marathon and the Disney Fairy Tale Challenge (10K + half marathon on consecutive days), the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend offers sole sisters the perfect opportunity for a dream running weekend away.

  • The Star Wars Rival Run Weekend. For Star Wars fans this weekend promises not to disappoint. Race options on offer include a half marathon, 5k or 10k, kids’ races, and the Star Wars Rival Run Challenge (10K + half marathon on consecutive days).
  • The Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend. And if eating more is one of the main reasons why you run, the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend is for you. Race options include kids’ races, a 5K, 10K, half marathon and the Disney Two Course Challenge comprising the 10K and half marathon on back-to-back days.

  • The Disneyland Paris Run Weekend. Set in Disneyland in Paris, France, the Disneyland Paris Run Weekend offers globetrotters the chance to experience the magic of running with Disney in Europe as well. Events on offer include a 5K, 10K, half marathon and three different challenges. The 31K Challenge consists of completing both the 10K and half marathon on back-to-back days, while the 36K Challenge comprises completing all the weekend’s events (except the kids’ races) on three consecutive days. And for die-hard runDisney fans, the third challenge involves completing the Paris-Val d’Europe Half Marathon plus any US runDisney half marathon or full marathon in the same calendar year to earn the coveted Castle to Château Challenge medal. That’s bucket list stuff right there!

Race weekend extras

And if all of this isn’t enough to get your feet itching, have a look at what else is on offer during each event weekend:

  • runDisney Health and Fitness Expos. Pick up your race bibs and gear bags, shop till you drop or attend some of the complimentary interactive and informative sessions. It’s a runner’s paradise.
  • Exclusive post-race parties. Celebrate in style at one of the exclusive post-race parties.
  • Major bling. If big bling is your thing, the runDisney medals won’t disappoint. The medals are shiny, heavy and well-designed. You’ll love them.
  • Unique sights and entertainment. Run through theme parks and be cheered on by princesses, villains, and mice.
  • Simplified logistics. If you stay at one of the Disney host resorts during the event weekend, free transport is available to and from the race expo as well as the events. Score!

Virtual events

And if you don’t live in or near the US or France and still want in on the action, don’t despair. runDisney has a solution for that too: The Virtual Running Shorts series and Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon. These can be completed anywhere in the world and yes, you’ll be rewarded with some pretty impressive bling for completing it too.

The Virtual Running Shorts series comprises three virtual 5K events to be completed in June, July, and August, respectively. Participants are free to enter one, two or all three of these 5K runs, and earn an additional medal for entering and completing the whole series.

The Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon takes place from January to March each year and participants can complete the 13.1-mile distance in one go or break it up into shorter segments. And if you’re the ultimate Star Wars fan, why not complete both the Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon and Star Wars Rival Run Half Marathon at Walt Disney World in Florida? If you do this, you can receive the runDisney Kessel Run Challenge medal!

An unforgettable running experience

So whether you’re into princes, princesses and all things Disney, or you’re just on the lookout for the ultimate celebration of running, give one of the runDisney events a go. Yes, they’re pricey, but it promises to be an experience that you’ll never forget.

Sources

  1. Karla Bruning, Why runDisney Races Are Such a Big Deal, Online publication
  2. Unknown, runDisney, Online publication
  3. runDisney Staff, About runDisney, Online publication