Friday, May 17, 2013

What I have learned about runDisney Races

I think some people find Disney overwhelming and I know that the runDisney events are not exception to this. In just over a year I have read a lot about the various races and I have experienced the 2013 Princess Half Marathon. This in no way makes me an expert but I am going to try and help people out.

1. Some Disney races sell out REALLY FAST, while others do not. There are some things to note with this. Disneyland only holds 2 race weekends a year (Tinkerbell and the Disneyland Half/Dumbo Double Dare weekend). This means for those going to for a Coast 2 Coast medal there are only 2 chances to make this happen. Also Disneyland races take a smaller number of runners. Because of this it is no surprise how fast things sold out for the Disneyland Weekend events (even the kids races sold out fast). Add to it that BOTH of the Disneyland events are over holiday weekend; Tinkerbell is MLK Day weekend and Disneyland Half weekend Labor Day weekend so people can travel easier.

2. Disney races are EXPENSIVE but there are things that are special for Disney. How many races have character stops along the course and fireworks for each starting corral.

3. Starting Corrals are a source of confusion and anger for many people. Disney requested an estimated finish time. Prior to the 2014 races, you did not have to provided any proof to support your estimate unless you planned to finish in under 2:45. What this led to was a lot of people putting down 2:46 even if they had no plan to finish that fast. It put slower people in the middle of the corrals and led to some backups in places. It looks like Disney has fixed this by now requiring proof for anything under 3:15 (the max is 3:30) so hopefully in the upcoming races it will help the field to be seeded better to make for a better experience for everyone. Now, it might lead to more people being swept but that is number 4. Also, time must be submitted by the deadline since no time estimates will be taken at the expo.

4. Disney does require you to maintain a 16mm pace otherwise they will remove you from the course. The balloon ladies are real and start as the last people and walk at 16mm. If you fall behind them, a bus will come and get you and you will be taken off the course. You do still get a medal as of 2013 even if you do not finish. With the old way of placing some people were able to be placed into earlier starts to give themselves up to 20 minutes extra (or 1-2mm). With this new way, that cushion will be eliminated so I am interested to see if more people will be swept.

5. Disney does often have preregistration for certain runners. This is usually Annual Passholders, Disney VISA credit card holders and Disney Vacation Club (DVC members). As of now, this links were made available to these people BUT they also had a feature to share the link on social media sites when you registered making it open to everyone. Personally we are members of all three groups and I wish Disney would provide this perk just to members by either requiring a code or not allowing it to be shared. I know this upsets some people but I think it is a great perk for those willing to spend the money.

6. Bib transfers and deferrals are also confusing or a course of confusion with Disney. Disney does not allow bib transfers. A runner can defer to the same Disney race next year but cannot transfer names. Now that does not mean that it does not happen it just means that the runner and seller run a risk of being banned from Disney races (though I don't know if anyone ever has been). For an explanation on deferrals and how Disney appears to be changing things, see this post on Margaritas, Miles & the Mouse

I know there are a lot of things but those stick out to me!! Happy racing.

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