WARNING: BE PREPARED TO SEE PARTICIPANTS HAVING A LOT OF FUN AND FORGETTING THAT THEY'RE ACTUALLY RUNNING. THIS IS REAL LIFE FOOTAGE. YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED...
Running a runDisney 5K is quite possibly one of the most fun races that you'll ever run. I have run a lot of 5Ks in the last 9 years that I've been running, and there just isn't a 5K race like one at Disney. Here are a few tips to ensure that your race day is just as awesome as mine!
one. Pick a really great running costume!
It's a 5K, so you can let your imagination go wild. Since it's a shorter distance, this is your chance to add a prop to a costume idea that you've always had. Running with something in your hand or a larger hat won't bother you as much during a 5K.
Running with friends? There are so many group costumes out there too. Last year I ran at Tigger and my girl Julie was Pooh! This year we ran as a trio and we were the three good fairies from Sleeping Beauty, Flora, Fauna and Merryweather. We had fun magic wands and adorable hats to make the costumes pop. And you can't see them, but we have wings on the back of our shirts. Fairies have to fly after all!
two. Make sure you use the potty before you get into your corral.
Once you go into your corral, you're bound to be waiting a while. You may think that things are getting started once corral A starts moving forward, but actually there are still at least 30 minutes of promos, songs, interviews and more before the race begins.
Then they aren't just going to let all of corral A go, they're going to send off runners in mini corrals. This allows them to break up the crowds on the course since there are quite a few narrow areas. We were about half way through corral A this year, and we took off in the 4th mini corral. They'll continue to do this through all of the corrals.
Moral of the story is make sure you go potty or you're going to have to go as soon as you see one on the course because you will be waiting a while. Use the time to stretch, get excited and just enjoy being part of a runDisney event!
Yes, you read that right. It isn't timed! GASP! How can it be a race if it isn't timed you ask? Well you still get a race shirt and a finisher medal at the end, so I wouldn't complain too much. Now that you know the race isn't timed, there is no reason to try to sprint to the finish. Run with your friends, slow down a bit, enjoy running through Epcot, take character pictures (see more on that below) and try not to get too frustrated with the crowds.
Warning: If you are in a later corral, there will be heavier crowds and longer lines. It can be very frustrating I know! Try to take it in stride and remember that you're there to have fun.
four. Take walk breaks.
Remember how I said that the race wasn't timed? This isn't the race to try and get a PR. Florida weather can be hot and humid, so take walk breaks if needed. There may be some areas on the course where you have to walk a bit due to congestion. If you're running all 3 races, the 5K is definitely the time not to push it. I've done all 3 the last two years and taking the 5K easy has been one of the best moves for me! It has allowed me to pick it up and push on the 10K and half marathon.
five. Ham it up for the photographers.
There are photopass photographers all over the course. They have on bright vests and are sitting or standing near little green pop up tents (in case of bad weather). Keep your eye out for them when you are running through the actual parks. When you see them, be sure to pull back and give a little space between you and the runners in front of you! This will ensure that you are getting a picture of you, not of picture of you and part of some strangers.
If you're running in a group, get closer to your running buddies and pose together so they know you all want to be in the shot! You won't always get everyone in the shot (like the one above), but every so often you get a gem like the one below!
Tip: Race photos are shot by Disney Parks photopass photographers. If you get the memory maker for your Disney trip, it includes all of the photopass pictures from character meet and greets, shots you get around the parks and all your pictures from all your races! It seems a bit pricey, but if you're there for race weekend and the parks it is so worth it! You don't have to worry about getting all the pictures on your phone during the race, plus you get awesome candids like these!
six. Character stops, just do it!
There are characters throughout the 5K starting around mile 1! **Usually the line for the first character you see is going to be the LONGEST.** People see a stop and want to stop immediately. As you get into Epcot, there will be more and more characters as you run through the countries in the World Showcase. You may even find some rare characters along the way.
If you see a character you just have to have a picture with...STOP! It's so worth it and the lines move much fast than they do at the parks. Everyone is just jumping in and out of the picture shot, so they can get on with their run. This year Mike and Sully were my picture must have, and the girls waited in a longer line for me!
Character lines go back to the fact that the race isn't timed! Remember that tip? Standing in line isn't going to hinder your race time because you're really only timing yourself. Don't pass something up that you want to stop for. I've done that before and I promise you'll regret it!
One final character tip, if you don't have memory maker and want pictures with the characters, bring your phone! There is a cast member with every character waiting to take phones to capture peoples memories!
seven. Smile BIG for that finish line photo!
When you're crossing the finish line, be sure to strike a pose, grab your friend's hand, smile really big and act like you love life! There are tons of photographers capturing your finish moments. I mean check out how awesome the Epcot Spaceship Earth ball looks back there!
Tip: Hold your pose or friends hands a little longer than you think you need to. The photographers may not be able to snap you until seconds after you cross the finish line. There are a lot of people after all. This way you can ensure that you'll get the best shot!
If you see a photographer snapping pictures, have them grab one of you! You're likely to see wandering photographers right after you get your medals. As you walk through the post race areas, you'll have a chance to grab some water, Powerade and your post race snack box. Once you get through all of this, there is a post race finishers picture area! If you have memory maker for your trip, grab a picture with one of the many photographers. If you don't, there are several backdrops set up specifically for people to take their own pictures. Grab another runner and take one for each other! Everyone is friendly and I'm sure they'll be happy to have someone take theirs as well.
nine. Most of all, be sure to have FUN!
I know I've said it throughout this post, but seriously fun is the name of the game when you're running a Disney 5K. Just enjoy yourself and make the most of the experience. You won't regret it!
Have you ever run a runDisney race?
If you could, which one would you run?
Next on my list is Wine and Dine...the only race with an after party! And Wine is in its name, need I say more?