The runDisney Princess Half Marathon is a women centric half marathon. This means that men are allowed to participate, but they can’t start in corral A or B (the first 2 corals). All runDisney races are amazing and tons of fun, but this one, as a woman, is magical. There are so many amazing costumes. You have never seen so many people running in tutus in your life! Along the race course there are also more female characters that you don’t see at other races. The course itself is the same course as the Walt Disney World Half Marathon in January. You start near Epcot, run to Magic Kingdom and through the park, exit and run along the back roads by Grand Floridian and back down to Epcot and than finish in the parking lot. It is a pretty flat course with a couple small on/off ramps as slight hills.
1. Bring a camera or camera phone. When you encounter characters you can stop and take pictures. Some of the characters have Brightroom photographers, the professional marathon photographers. You can also take pictures at any characters with your own camera or camera phone. After the race you will get an email from the professional photographers with a link to your race photos and you can choose to purchase if you want. Be aware though that not all characters have professional photographers, so having your own camera can score you some extra pictures that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to get. Also the photographers ARE NOT Disney Photopass photographers.
2. If you have to use the restroom the best time to do that is in the Transportation Center near mile 4 or Magic Kingdom miles 5-6. The nice clean Disney bathrooms are WAYYYY better than the Port-A-Potties.
3. If you want first pick in merchandise and less crowded shopping, plan to get to the expo when it first opens. Side note: the expo this year (2013) is at Coronado Springs Resort, not ESPN Wide World of Sports, so it should be interesting to see how that works. The directions say no parking or drop offs there, so you need to either take transportation from on property hotel or take the shuttle that runs from Downtown Disney Westside.
4. If you are deciding whether to wear a costume or tutu or even just a tiara DO IT! If you decide not to you might end up feeling left out since most people are wearing something princessy. Make sure though that you have tested it and you are capable of running 13.1 miles in it.
5. Gather everything the night before and have it ready to go since it is such an early morning wake up. I broke that cardinal rule at the Tinker Bell Half Marathon, got to my starting corral and realized I forgot my Garmin in the hotel room! I freaked out briefly, but than decided to download a running app on my phone, so it was a little better than running the race blind, but not as great as my Garmin.
6. Generally speaking Disney World races seem to have yellow Powerade and Disneyland races seem to have blue. No idea why and now that I say that they will probably switch it up haha. I personally prefer the yellow 🙂
7. Set a designated place to see your loved ones. If they just plan to be somewhere along the course it would be very hard to spot each other since there are a ton of runners (most of which females) and a lot of spectators. Near the Transportation Center or the parking lot before going through Epcot at mile 12 are good places for spectators and are easy for them to get to.
8. Remember to be a courteous runner. If you plan to walk try not to start at the front of your corral since there will be runners who want to run and will be faster. Also along the course try not to run or walk with 8 of your closest friends length wise across the course and make others have to hop curbs to get around you. Just bunch up towards the right side and it will be more fun for everyone.
9. Watch out for speed bumps and road reflectors. I witnessed a brutal fall over one of the speed bumps at the Magic Kingdom toll plazas that took the poor woman out of the race 🙁 Since the race starts when it is still dark out be extra aware of your footing and watch your step.
10. Print your waiver at home and bring it with you to save yourself time.
11. A lot of people wear their medals to the parks that day and the following days, so show it off! Be proud of your race bling!
12. Most importantly enjoy it! Remember why you are doing it! Take it all in!