Run Disney Tip: Wakey Wakey Early Early!

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.

Me and my sis running this past year's Disney Marathon.  Yup, it starts way before sunup.

Me and my sis running this past year’s Disney Marathon. Yup, it starts way before sunup.

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.

The boy and me and my sis before the 2013 Disney Marathon.  It was early.

The boy and me and my sis before the 2013 Disney Marathon. It was early.

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 jumped really high to take this photo.  Or I stole it, can't remember.

I jumped really high to take this photo. Or I stole it, can’t remember.

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?

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17 thoughts on “Run Disney Tip: Wakey Wakey Early Early!

  1. I complained about having to set a 4 AM alarm, can’t even imagine.

  2. I’ve never run a Disney race, but I did just get back on Monday from a Disneyworld trip. I don’t think I’m up for a race with that many people, or one that requires me to get up that much before the start!

    • Yeah, it’s tough, but I’m determined to have a good race there one of these times! Good news is my sis works for them, so we get to visit the parks for free afterwards!

  3. This is a really helpful post to anyone running or considering to run the race. I think it’s very important to take note of what websites say as well as try to get as much advice from anyone whose run a race…that’s what I do anyway. I usually plan to be at the start 2 hours before a marathon type race or base it on the number of runners because the more runners means the more congestion and crowds which means MORE TIME. I hope you enjoy your day off!

    • Thanks you!!!! I wish I had known the first time I ran it how far we’d have to walk before the race. It really messed with my head – it was my first marathon and I was already freaked, adding an extra mile of walking freaked me more!
      It sounds like you have a good formula for race days! I’m also checking out other people’s advice as this year they changed the corrals system and people are freaking out about it. Still gathering info on that…

  4. Holey crap that’s early! Bleh. I guess it’s worth it cause it’s Disney! I am not currently signed up for a Disney race, but it’s definitely on my bucket list!

  5. I just signed up for a marathon that starts at 6am. I don’t think I’ll need to be there quite as early as for a Disney race. For the Wine & Dine half, I had to be ready to board one of the race’s busses to the ESPN complex before 7pm for a 10pm race start. Too long. I was by myself (except for all the other racers, lol) because the finish wasn’t in the same spot and there wasn’t any way for my husband to wait with me beforehand and get to the finish line.

    • Oh wow, that’s crazy. It is rough having to wait that long. At least at this race we can hang with fam/friends at the staging area as it’s also where the race finishes. That’s for the marathon and half, I need to better check the routes for the 5k and 10k.

  6. Great advice! Not that I will be there this year, but if I were running this race it would be nice to know what to expect

    • Thank you! If you ever do run a Disney race, this info should stay pretty much the same. They’ve been doing it a while and have their system down!

  7. Pingback: Disney Marathon 2014 – New Corrals | Piratebobcat

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