Everything You Need To Know About Running During The Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend
Racing for any other reason than to be in the front of the line for your favorite ride might seem odd at Disney World, but this past weekend was all about crossing a different line: The finish line during the 11th Annual Disney Princess Half Marathon weekend.
Between Friday and Sunday, more than 56,000 runners from 48 different countries headed to Orlando to compete in either the 5K, 10K or half marathon. Even 2019 Miss America Nia Franklin got in on the festivities, running the 5K at 5:30 am the morning of February 22. But before you get intimated by the idea of competing with athletes and pageant winners, here’s everything you should know about running during the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend.
Let me ease your mind right away by telling you that Disney is proud to have some of the slowest finishing times when it comes to their marathons, as the races are more about having fun and achieving personal goals than going for the gold medal. (Every participant gets a cool commemorative medal anyway) Plus, there are races for every challenge level, from the 5K which kicked off at 5:30 AM this past Friday, the 10K which was held at the same time on Saturday morning, and, finally, the half marathon which took place at 5:30 am Sunday morning.
Janee Bolden, the Senior Content Director for our sister sites Bossip, Global Grind, and HipHopWired, ran the 5K during a similar weekend of races known as runDisney in mid-January, and told us the experience was great. “It was so much fun seeing all the families and groups of friends dressed up as their favorite characters,” she said. “I had a blast running through the park as the sun came up and can’t wait to put together a team to run next year.”
Just because Disney boasts slow finishing times doesn’t mean there isn’t still a place for athleticism and competitiveness. This year, Missouri runner Jackie Pirtle-Hall, who took second place in last year’s half marathon, won her first runDisney race as part of her preparation for the 2010 Olympics. Pirtle-Hall crossed the finish line in 1:18:30, which was two minutes faster than last year’s winner. And if you’re wondering why she’s the only person in the photo below, it’s because she finished more than four minutes ahead of the rest of the other 25,000 half-marathon runners.
Disney will help you prepare for the race too. On Rundisney.com, there are various training programs and guides for beginners with less than six months of running experience and others who are more experienced and participating in longer races like the 39.3-mile Goofy Race and Half Challenge.
You should know this summer you’ll have the chance to participate in a Black Panther race as part of the 4th annual runDisney Virtual Series celebrating 80 years of Marvel. Each month this summer, a different themed race will take place– Captain Marvel (June), Iron Man (July) and Black Panther (August) — and this is the first year a Black Panther medal is being offered to runners who participate in the race. Registration for the 5Ks begins May 7.
A big part of what makes Disney’s races so fun are the costumes — and yes, it’s still possible to clock major mileage while dressed as a princess. Disney, of course, sells traditional athletic gear for the occasion, such as a Cinderella-themed racerback tank that reads “Run like its almost midnight.” But you can also get super creative and make your own costume like this Pop Sugar editor did for her 10K Princess race this year. Don’t worry if you’re a little more “where do I buy?” than DIY, there are dozens of vendors on Etsy who make costumes for runDisney races. If worst comes to worst, you can always pop into party city or a Halloween store to make magic happen.