For the past five years, we have participated in at least two runDisney races per year and sometimes more. Our first race was the Princess Half Marathon in 2011 with a total of 13,900 finishers. This year, there were over 24,000 registered for the Princess Half. So things have changed over the years since we started racing with runDisney.
More Corrals: Last year, although I can't remember exactly when, runDisney started to include more corrals for the races. This meant fewer runners in each corral and there would be less time to wait between corrals at the start for the first 4-6 corrals. We think this was a great change and find the course to be easy to navigate and not too crowded. In fairness though, we start in either B or C (Christine will probably be in A now with her recent PR). Grade A
No corral changes at the race expo: This is a huge negative in my opinion. What happens if the person who enters your data makes a clerical error and punches a 2:52 half marathon time instead of a 1:52 half marathon time. Unfortunately, this small mistake could push you back into a corral that would be unpleasant for you as well as unsafe and you would be unable to get this changed prior to the race. Grade F
Finish line beverages and food: This is tricky because there are so many runners to feed/fuel. At the finish line, a food box and banana are provided after you receive your medal. While the race boxes don't always have things we love, there is enough in the box that we can eat immediately after the race to replenish ourselves until we are able to have a meal. The beverages are plentiful with both water and Powerade. I am giving this a lower grade because a small box of nibbles and a bana after a full marathon is not enough. Period. Grade B-
Race shirts: runDisney listened to the women who are the majority of their runners at the runDisney events. The unisex style of shirt they used to provide was a bad fitting shirt that held no appeal. We now receive gender specific shirts at all the races, not just the women's events. I love my newer shirts and the older ones that were unisex are either in a bag or were made into a blanket! Grade A
Price: This is a tricky one, but frankly, the price of the races has increased alot over the past 5 years. Our first Princess Half, we paid $135 for our entry and now it is $195. The prices are now close to those for large marathons such as Marine Corps, Boston and NYC. I'm pretty sure my entry fee for the Boston Marathon was $195. Clearly alot of what you are paying for at Disney is the entertainment, course support, race expo, transportation and fantastic medals. Grade B-
Events: Lots of new events have been added over the past couple years including the popular Star Wars Weekend and Avengers Half Marathon weekend. Additionally some challenges have been added such as the Pixie Dust Challenge and the Glass Slipper Challenge. The latest announcement was for a race at the Disneyland Paris location in September of 2016. Adding all these extra race weekends was a great decision by runDisney. While it is still very difficult to get into the races, there are more to choose from and hopefully everyone gets a spot at their race of choice. Grade A
Race Expo: I'm not sure how the crowds were for the January races, but the last few race expos we have attended have been very manageable. Perhaps because we have not gone at the opening that may have helped. Princess 2015 was the best we had experienced in the 5 years we have run the race. Grade B
Official Race Merchandise: This seems to be a problem at every single runDisney race. There is never enough of the official merchandise and runners are disappointed. Several friends wanted a race jacket at Princess and if you were not there on the first day, you were out of luck. The Dooney purses end up selling quickly too and if their is no pre order opportunity, you have to be there on the first day to get one. I have no clue what the answer is, but surely there is a better way that would not have so many runners disappointed. Grade C-
runDisney Meetups: After we read about these fun events on Facebook, we managed to attend several before they were discontinued. The Disney Parks Blog actually crashed a few times from all the people trying to gain a coveted entry into one of these events. While these were wonderful for the few that attended, there certainly could be and were hard feelings if you did not get a spot. Overall, I think it was smart to get rid of these. No grade, they are gone!
What do you think of the runDisney events? Do you have any suggestions or comments about what you would change?