Today is a rest day in my Disney Dopey Challenge Training. It’s really weird having a rest day in the middle of the week. It was tempting to go to the gym, but I’m going to stick to the schedule as I know what’s coming the next 4 days.
Anyway, I thought I’d give some tips today about running a race at Disney World. Whether you’re running this year, or at some point in the future, I hope this helps.
I’ve run the marathon 3 times, so I kind of know what to expect. First off, you must get there early. And by early, I mean like 2:00 am alarm clock early. They usually have to close some of the roads to stage the races, so if you don’t get there early, you could be stuck in traffic and risk missing the start. This is from their website…
“…there will be SIGNIFICANT DELAYS starting at 3:30 a.m. due to road closures…Roads begin to close as early as 11:00 p.m. on the evenings before the Half Marathon and Marathon. GPS devices or other sources will be inaccurate due to road closures.”
So yeah, when we drive to the start line, we get there by 3:00 am-ish. The races don’t start until 5:30 am, so you’ve got some time to chill. Luckily they have live music, characters, etc. to keep you entertained. Though it’s kind of surreal that early in the morning to see all that.
If you take a bus from a resort (like we did this past year), you have a little more wiggle time, but not much. And keep in mind that where they drop you off, you still have a considerable distance to walk to the staging area. More time on your feet = not what you really need.
Now, once you’re at the staging area, I recommend you stay there as long as you can. They will try to encourage you over and over to make your way to the corrals, but I prefer to lay there and chill.
Once time to go to the corral, know that you will be walking about a mile, shoulder to shoulder with people. From their website…
“You must be in your corral at the start line by 5:00 a.m. or you will not be allowed to start. Please note, it takes 20 minutes to walk from the Family Reunion area (Epcot® Wonder Lot) to the start line.”
If you’re not expecting that, it can be kind of disheartening. You’re already worried about saving your legs, and here they have you adding a mile to your race! But now that you know, I like to use this as my warm up. Take it easy on the walk, and try to get loose while doing so.
After the death march I like to do my dynamic warm up before getting into the corral. The port-a-potties are few at the corrals, so expect to go in the adjacent wooded areas! All they while they have entertainment going on. They do a sort of live morning show there where they have celebrities and such giving you encouragement – all broadcast on some big screens.
All that’s left is to start the race…
I can’t stress enough to get there early. Last year I got the chance to watch my mom run the Half Marathon. You wouldn’t believe how many runners were running everywhere to try and get to the start. We even set up at mile 4, and there were people trying to get on the monorail to get to the start while still getting dressed. It was crazy! So get there early folks!
Are you running any Disney races this year, or in the future? How early do you get to the start line for a race?
I complained about having to set a 4 AM alarm, can’t even imagine.