It’s early January, that means the Disney Marathon Weekend Races are just around the corner. Disney races are HUGE and to have the best possible experience, it’s good to be prepared. Here are 10 things to know before you run that will help you have the best possible race day:
- The race starts early, really early. 5 a.m. to be exact (it used to be 5:30 a.m.), and you need to be on site by 3:30 a.m. Make sure to adjust your pre-race meals, hydration and sleeping to accommodate the early start time.
- Early start of the race means it is dark. Plan for running in the dark and whether you will need sunglasses for later in the longer races when the sun rises.
- Transportation to the race is key. If you are staying on a Disney property utilize the bus services to the start of the race, they are frequent and a great perk. Make sure you know when they are leaving your hotel. If you are not staying on Disney property there is plenty of parking at EPCOT. There are also Uber and Lyft options. There can be traffic to get into the parking area that morning so plan accordingly.
- This is a costume race! If you have always wanted to run in a costume, or already love running in costume then this is the perfect race for it. Many, many runners will be in costume, unlike other races where you think people will wear a costume, but they did not! If no costume, enjoy watching the runners who did well with planning their costumes and those that did not!
- The weather can be unpredictable. I have run this race when it was 28 degrees, and in 70 degrees… I have prepared for warm weather, then a cold front comes in and the temperature drops. Pack a few extra items for all weather conditions, do not assume it will be warm and do not assume it will be cold.
- The course is flat! Other than a few highway on ramps there is really no elevation.
- There are speed bumps and tight corners when running through the parks. These can be hard to see when in the dark with a park of runners so be alert and on the lookout, especially in the dark.
- Have your camera ready! You will have the opportunity to take more character photos during these races than any day at the park, the longer the course, the more picture spots. I always found it helpful to keep my phone in a place where I can easily access and not take up too much time.
- The roads in Florida are concrete. Because of the road surface, you may feel this a little more in your legs that day or the day after, since the concrete does not give the same way asphalt does.
- Spectator friendliness depending on the race distance. For the half and full marathon spectators can take the monorail from Epcot to Magic Kingdom with plenty of time to see their runners. For the full, if your friends and family want to be particularly adventurous they can travel to each park to see you. There are also spots along the boardwalk near the end of the marathon, bleachers set up at the finish and a family meeting area. With a little planning, your friends and family can see you multiple times on the course.
Disney Marathon weekend is a great experience and we hope you have an amazing race!