Updated: Dec 6, 2021
My first RunDisney race and my first 10k! Here's how it went.
The day before the race is Expo day, which means it was time to head over to ESPN Wide World of Sports to pick up my race bib, race shirt, and check out the merchandise available for purchase. Unfortunately it was a rainy day in Orlando so I didn't spend much time exploring, but I picked up my items and took a look inside some of the buildings dedicated to the expo. The location to pick up shirts (high quality long sleeves!) also had several third party vendors selling various running gear as well as several photo ops themed to Disney's 50th anniversary. The last building was for official runDisney merch where I grabbed a Wine and Dine 10k pin with Nightmare Before Christmas characters on it. There was also this adorable photo op with the various mileages for the different races.
I ran the 10k which was 6.2 miles, and Nightmare Before Christmas themed.
Race day does not favor those who prefer to sleep in. The bus to take us to the starting line left Saratoga Springs at 3am. At this point I was half asleep but excited for the events to start! Upon arrival there was a live DJ as well as many photo ops related to Disney Villains, which was the theme of the runDisney weekend. I was assigned the first wave, so I was in the first group of runners to start. This was great news for me because at 4am it was very cold and slightly rainy, so standing around waiting was not ideal. Luckily I was able to get a few pictures with some villain displays as well as catch Ursula when she came around to say hello!
At 5am the racers took off and with every wave, fireworks were set off from the starting gate. I also got to a quick glance at Goofy, who was cheering the runners on.
Mylar blankets are provided to runners before and after the race but one thing to keep in mind is that they cannot be taken past the starting gate.
Once we were off I noticed the majority of racers were in costume- this is encouraged! Along the first few miles I ran into Maleficent, Jack Skellington, and Oogie Boogie. The characters are off the road trail and typically have a line to get pictures with. There are also PhotoPass cast members there to take pictures for you.
Bowler Hat Guy from Meet the Robinsons was the coolest character to meet and he had no line!
About every half mile there was a character opportunity or a digital screen playing movie clips and villain music. The mile markers also all featured a different villain as well as displayed the time for the runners. The run took us from the Magic Kingdom parking lot, down the highway all the way to Hollywood Studios where we emerged from backstage at Tower or Terror and ran down Sunset Boulevard. Next we took the path connecting Hollywood Studios to the Boardwalk where we ran alongside Yacht and Beach Club and through the Epcot World Showcase entrance. We ran through the England and Canada pavilions and saw Spaceship Earth. The race ended in the Epcot parking lot.
Mile 6 was a great accomplishment for me, and Syndrome is my favorite villain so this was such an exciting moment during the race.
One thing to keep in mind is that the timing on the mile marker is from the start of the very first wave, so if you start running in a later wave, your time will still be recorded through Disney magic!
The next day all I had to do was type my bib number into the runDisney link I received, and I found all my running stats. Runners are able to view their overall placement and time, as well as placement against your specific age/gender demographic.
My stats: 711th place overall (out of 9,000+ finishers) with a time of 58:48.
As the finish line approached I could hear announcers calling out finishers names and cheering us on. There was energetic music playing, and a huge crew of cast members clapping and handing out waters, bananas, mylar blankets, and most importantly-medals.
Past the finish line there were several stations to get water, snacks, and first aid. There were also more photo areas for pictures with our medals.
The buses were there to take racers back to their resorts, leaving every few minutes. The perk of racing at 5am was that I had plenty of time to go back and shower before the parks even opened! After the race I had a park reservation for Animal Kingdom, where many racers were wearing their medals throughout the day. I was able to get a special celebration button for the race as well.
I recommend runDisney to everyone whether you consider yourself to be a runner or not. It is a one of a kind experience and I had an absolute blast.