Glass Slipper Challenge
Here I am. The night before early registration opens for the Disney Princess Half Marathon, Enchanted 10K, Princess 5K, and the most royal of them all, the Glass Slipper Challenge. Disney Vacation Club members and Annual Passholders may register early, on June 30. (Registration for the general public opens July 14.) I am a DVC member, so I will be one of many anxious princesses on Tuesday sitting in front of our computers, waiting for the clock to strike 12 (noon EDT). We will type away at mad speeds trying to enter the system and get registered before we turn into pumpkins. Not, really. If I don’t get in I will become a St. Jude Hero. This is a big commitment, as you have to raise a set amount for St. Jude. But, race registration is included, and St. Jude is a wonderful place, so it is a win-win. (Note: If I do get in tomorrow by the conventional means, I will run the 2016 Country Music Half Marathon as a St. Jude Hero, as I have done many times. I heart St. Jude!)
Thinking about running among the royalty in the 2016 Princess Half Marathon Weekend? I love this weekend. I feel so much girl power and camaraderie during the races, expo, and other events. But I know some runners carefully choose which races to run. Here are my thoughts on the positive and the negative about Princess Half Marathon Weekend.
- Great expo. runDisney does not mess around when it comes to expos. Everything you could ever want as a runner (and more) is there. Lots of vendors. Lots of free samples. Great speakers. It’s just an exciting way to get pumped up for the weekend’s races. The PHM expo has a girly vibe to it. Lots of sparkle!
- Fun costumes. I seriously plan my costumes for the runDisney races. I wouldn’t dare wear what I don for runDisney races to local races in my community. But at Walt Disney World, most (not all) runners dress up in some way. From a simple running skirt and a tiara, to full-fledged Disney costumes. Props included. You will see it all.
- Organized start line. It may be a hike to get there, but in my opinion the start line procedure is orderly and is easy to navigate. The pre-race entertainment is right up there, too. Music, fireworks, and the fab five? How can you go wrong?
- Race course entertainment. I have to be honest with you. I knew running through the theme parks would be fun, but the rest of the course is run on the highways that criss-cross the Walt Disney World property. But the runDisney folks provide plenty of course amusement along the way. From the mile markers, to marching bands, this race has a Disney touch. There are plenty of character stops, too.
- Photo ops. Plenty of chances to snap pics or have your photo taken by the professional photographers along the way. Inside the parks, cast members are always willing to help you take the shots.
- Course support. There are more water stations in the PHM than the 10K. In the past, when the temps were high, I actually brought my own hand-held water bottle for the 10K. But there are more than enough during the half. Several medical stations, as well, offering Tylenol and Bio-Freeze for tired muscles.
- Bathroom breaks. This is an important one. You have to arrive to the race pretty early, and when you stand around, well there’s not much to do but sip on water. By the time the race starts, you may have to go! There are plenty of port-o-potties at the start line and some even within the first mile. My advice is to wait as long as you can. The further you go, the less crowded the potties seem to be. If you can wait until you get inside one of the parks: BONUS! You can use the restrooms inside the parks. And the sinks. And the soap. You get my point!
- Fab finish line. The finish line is first class. Bleachers line one side, so your family can wait and watch as you cross. You may even find a character, or two, to give you a high five at the finish.
- After party. The box of goodies they hand out at the end is genius, in my opinion. No need to wait in line for a bagel! The snacks inside, along with a water or Powerade, are usually enough in there to replenish you. I don’t like to eat too much at the end. I want to totally chow down on the good stuff back at the resort!
Not so royal:
- Early riser. Like REALLY early. runDisney races start early y’all. Way before the crack of dawn. The first corral usually takes off at 5:30 a.m. No, that is not a typo. Back time that to include getting dressed and to the finish line and you are easily waking up between 2:00 – 3:00 a.m. Just plan on taking a nap that afternoon. You will need it!
- Course congestion. I’m just going to say it. At a few points on the course, within the first few miles of the half, it gets pretty congested. In some places, the course goes from three lane highway, to one lane exit ramps. Like a funnel with everyone trying to squeeze through. Unless you are an elite runner in the first corral, you will likely have to walk during these times. And you must have patience!
- Race course entertainment. This is listed as one of my positives. But it is also in my negative column. I have run in the PHM for the past two years. And the course entertainment was almost exactly the same both years. The same displays. Same characters. In the exact same places. I am always looking for something new and different. So that was a little bit of a disappointment.
I have completed the Walt Disney World Half Marathon and the Disney Princess Half Marathon. I prefer the PHM. As a female runner, I feel it is inspirational and empowering to see so many women (and a few men, too) conquer this feat. Each of these races is a completely different experience. Both are fabulous (and I hope to go back and do the WDW Half — or full — again). But If you have to choose between the two, and it is your first time completing a runDisney race, I recommend the Princess Half Marathon.
Race you to the castle!