On January 14th, 2017 I accomplished something that I never thought I would do. I crossed the finish line of a 10K running event.
And I did so in the upright position, not in last place and without throwing up.
It felt amazing.
It wasn’t my fastest run. It wasn’t my easiest run. It wasn’t my hardest run.
It was the longest though…and the most fun.
Running Disney is a wonderful experience from the moment you pick up your bib to the last stride across the finish line. Not only is the event incredibly well organized (what else would you expect from Disney?) but there is something magical about running through the parks before the sun has even risen.
The photo opps along the way are awesome.
And the medals are heavy.
That said, I do have a few tips for anyone considering a runDisney race.
1. Don’t get to your corral too early.
Unless you are running in a highly competitive corral at the front you won’t actually start your race until at least 20 minutes after the posted start time of the event. I was in Corral F for this 10k and we didn’t start until 6:05am. That meant I stood shoulder to shoulder in a packed corral for 34 minutes before getting to run. I couldn’t stretch and I got cold (remember this is before sunrise!) which led to a tough first few kms.
2. Don’t plan on running a personal best
RunDisney races are PACKED and it can be very difficult to find space to get moving at a good pace. For this 10k I had hoped to finish in 1 hour 20 mins but took nearly 1h45. I hit my first bottleneck at 1km where we all went down to a walk whether we liked it or not.
3. If you do the walk/run method move to the side to Walk
I run intervals and always made sure that there was no one right behind me when I transitioned from run to walk. That said, there were several times when runners weren’t as courteous and stopped right in front of me. It’s really just a common courtesy people.
4. Watch for Disney touches all over.
Yes there are character photo opps that are clearly posted – and you can chose to wait in line for 40 minutes (see what I mean about your best time) or just take a passing by selfie like I did. But there are also little touches like illuminated shapes up on building walls or Disney staffers lined up with Mickey gloves ready to high five runners as they pass by. I nearly missed Captain Phasma up on a bridge at the exit of Disneyland.
5. Have fun!
If you aren’t in it for your finish time then be in it for a good time. There is lots of laughter and joy around every runDisney event. That Disney spirit is infectious…so get caught up it and enjoy every minute. How many times do you get to run a route like this anyway:
If you need a little motivation to get you to the finish line – get your friends and family to position themselves right near the end. My family was waiting for me at the 8km mark and seeing their smiling faces was all I needed to push me to the end.
So that’s it! My first 10k in the books and my first 10K medal ready to go up in a place of honour right above my Neverland 5k medal.
Maybe…just maybe…I may add that Half Marathon medal one day. And if I do…you know it will be a runDisney medal.