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Are you running your first Disney race? Disneyland and Walt Disney World host runDisney events and they can spoil a runner. I always felt despite the hefty entry fee you got a lot for your money. The tech tees are awesome and the runDisney medals are amazing. Running through a Disney theme park is the greatest perk.
Disney races attract new runners and seasoned runners alike who have a lot of questions. I hope this post helps you. Since Disney races are unique, some tips may seem a little strange. Come race day you will be glad you read this.
On your last long run wear your race costume to test the costume. If the costumes chafes you or rides up that is not something you want to discover 2 miles into a half marathon.
If you buy shoes at the expo and plan on wearing them, break them in first.
Pack your drop bag and waist pack now before you get busy and forget the things you need most. I pack hand wipes, a phone charger, cord, travel sized sunscreen, and gels or snacks. You will most likely forget something if you put off packing until the last minute.
Carry a water bottle because you need to stay hydrated. California and Florida can get hot and muggy. Aid stations are every two miles. In the heat two miles can seem like six.
Carry a portable charger for your phone if you plan on taking pictures. The camera will run down your battery. I use a Fuel Rod in my waist pack.
The security checkpoint lines can get long. Arrive early to the start area will save you a lot of frustration.
If portable toilets are not your thing use the first real bathroom you see. Make sure you use the bathroom before you enter your corral even if you need not use the restroom.
Carry cash sometimes food trucks are at the start.
Carry Band-Aids, in case you get a blister. Waiting for a medical tent is not always the best idea.
Your skin may chafe during long runs and races. To prevent chafing you need to apply Vaseline, body glide, or Trislide all over your body. Do not forget armpits.
Put on Sunscreen in the corral the sun will usually come out within an hour. After 90 minutes of sweating, you must reapply. You can reapply sunscreen at a water stop. Even when it's overcast UV rays can cause sunburn.
Pack shower wipes if you cannot shower. If you think you don't stink, do it as a courtesy to others. Many runners go to the parks without a shower, that does not bother me, but sometimes, you stink.
If you are afraid of being swept:
Many runners are fearful of the sweepers. Unless you start at the back of the last corral stop worrying.
Let us talk about the dreaded Balloon Ladies. I researched, and they are all volunteers from the Jeff Galloway Running Program. They do not work for Disney. The Balloon Ladies want to help you; they do not want you to fail. The Balloon Ladies wait until every runner has crossed the starting mat before starting. They keep a strict 16-minute mile pace. If they pass you, it is possible that race officials will pick you up.
I have even seen Balloon Ladies on Facebook state they will also wait a minute or two after the last person starts. The Balloon Ladies are not your enemy.
My two cents are this if you are signing up for a race and are worried about being swept why bother with the photo ops. This is a Disney race, still this is timed a running event. I don't care if you run or walk either. There are time limits. If you cannot finish in time, then either sign up for the untimed 5k or train harder. Take a run by selfie.
Another option is to train hard for a winter 10k when it is cooler. Run as fast as you can and use that as your qualifying time for a corral. I am slow too. If you can run a 10k at a good pace then run the 10k for your qualifying time. If this puts you two corrals ahead of the last corral that is another ten minute grace period.
The bottom line is if you run a fifteen-minute mile, do not stop for all the photo opportunities. Disney makes it easy for the slower runners. The balloon ladies are giving you a considerable grace period. Plan, and have a great race, people!
Here are some helpful posts to help prepare for your visit to Disneyland.