The Disney Princess Half Marathon is run at Walt Disney World every February. This race weekend offers something for everyone: kids’ races, 5K, 10K a half marathon and even a challenge (10K plus half). It comes with some special issues and concerns, and I’m going to lay them all out for you as candidly as I can. Registration starts July 12 on rundisney.com, and you want to know the real deal before you sign up.
So You Think You’re a runDisney Princess…..
I’m just gonna be real. Our motto here is “We’ve been there,” and after traveling for this race weekend six times, I have unique experience with the Walt Disney World trip associated with the Princess Half marathon.
Plus – don’t you want to know everything you can before you plop down (gasp) $185 for a half marathon? Or $320 if you insist on going for all the bling as a Glass Slipper Challenge participant (which, by the way, is amazing!)?
It takes more than a tiara and a tutu to compete in the runDisney annual girl power race and actually enjoy it. If you think it’s all magical and stuff, well, I’m here to pop that pixie-dusted bubble right now.
Because it can be frustrating and awful in a lot of ways.
But wait… WAIT… Patty, you run this race every year. And you say you like it. I’ve read your posts. I’ve seen you smiling on the course. What’s up, girl?
Fair enough. I do run this race every year, and I do like it.
It’s not my favorite and never has been – though that first one wasn’t really the Princess Half’s fault; doing 13.1 miles at six months pregnant was all my grand idea.
#OhLucy loved it. #OhPatty did not.
But it is one race I am having a hard time letting go of.
Princess Half Weekend, I just can’t quit you. I’ll get to the why on that in a minute.
I’m sharing all this because the Princess weekend is one of the most popular runDisney events of the year. And the running royalty is about to lose their ever-loving minds over the next week when registration opens.
Why the Princess Half Stinks
The weather is unpredictable. It’s often hot. Stupidly, miserably, freakishly hot. Africa hot. Except for that one year I didn’t run it. Ahem. Then it was freeze your bootay off cold. Really. Florida doesn’t play nice over Princess Weekend. It’s like the state hates women (insert your favorite political joke here).
This is THE RACE to avoid if you care about PRing (and are not in the top 10% of most of your races). If you are uber-crazy-speedy-legs fast, then you will not notice ANY of the following points and may skip ahead to the registration info. This race probably won’t send you screaming from the many, many uteri that invade Walt Disney World. If you are a mid-packer, please proceed with caution. You may haaaaattttteeeeee this race and feel crabby and totally un-princessey about it all when it’s said and done.
Groups walking more than two abreast. There’s a lot of this. And it can be very frustrating if you are working your way at a faster pace. Some of it is unintentional, possibly due to unawareness of etiquette. But there are also the people who are Galloway-ing (using a run/walk/run method) and end up slowing to a walk right next to another couple who are mid-walk. It gives the appearance of 4 across. On some of the back roads, this takes up the whole dang course. Just know: it happens. If this will make you cray cray, maybe you want to skip this race. There are two major sections of the race where this occurs: going into and out of the Magic Kingdom. It’s a tight fit. Leads people to do dumb stuff like this:
Many first-timers & walkers. Don’t stone me. I am a friend of the first-timers and walkers. Totally. You are my people. This is under the “it stinks” section as a warning to many of the traditional runners who find this to be a shocking experience. Yes, many walk. Many choose this as their first half marathon. For the love of Mickey, please don’t moan about walkers on the course. Or make sure you have a great 10K time to put you well ahead- and DON’T stop for pictures.
Pictures. Let’s talk about that. Stopping for pictures is kinda the whole point of running Disney. I love the picture stops! But if you stop, the lines will be long. You will fall back with the slower and more congested corrals. It seems to be a shock to people who started off in the early corrals that by the time they hit the Magic Kingdom they are swamped with other runners and walkers. That’s what happens when you hang with Captain Jack or chit-chat with Cruella. You play, you pay! Are the pictures worth it? I say YES, clearly! But you may want to reassess this.
Guys in the back. First of all, yes, men do run this race! But, sorry, dudes, but you are going to start farther back than you normally should. runDisney isn’t letting you start in A corral like you probably should be based on time. The reason should be obvious: this is a women’s focused event. They are letting the girls get the glory.
Why the Princess Half Rocks
I said I couldn’t let this one go. Here’s why: it was my first half marathon.
It was the first time I wo-manned up and showed my Brave.
13.1 miles seemed impossible to me. Twice as impossible when I discovered I was pregnant.
Impossible turned into I’m Possible. Cliché, but true.
That first year I just didn’t want to get swept from the course. That was my entire goal.
The second year I felt accomplished, but still knew there was more out there for me.
The third year I met my running buddies, my ‘Ohana. I fell in love with the fun and let go of the fear.
I found my happy pace at my happy place. It’s been magical ever since.
These ladies mean the world to me. They are my tribe, my posse, my pals, my besties, my girls! And we can all agree that running the Princess together makes it magical.
I’ll take the heat, the crowds, and the drama every darn year as long as I have at least one of them by my side. That’s what runDisney and the Princess Half means to me.
This sentiment is echoed by many when they talk about running with their mothers, daughters, girlfriends, etc. This race is best when bonding with those you love. So grab a partner in crime and get ready to register!
Still need more info? We’ve got that covered for you. Check out these additional tips for running the Princess Half Marathon.
Is there some drama along the way? Yep.
Is there magic and pixie dust? Yep.
Is it worth running? Bottom line about the Disney Princess Half: it’s a ton of fun, if you are willing to make like Elsa and let some things goooooo!
Registration opens on July 12, 2017, at noon ET. You can register by visiting runDisney.com
What do you think? Should YOU register for the 2017 Princess Half Marathon?