The Casual Runner

2016 runDisney WDW Marathon (Part1)

Event: 2016 runDisney Walt Disney World Marathon hosted by Mickey Mouse
Event Date: January 10, 2016
Event Location: Walt Disney World Resort, Florida

We have TONS of coverage of the 2016 runDisney Walt Disney World Marathon coming your way! Here is a quick guide so you don’t miss any of it:

Can’t get enough of this great event, including the Dopey Challenge & other race events? You can check out our past coverage of the 2015 Walt Disney World Weekend now:

Why I decided to run this race

I decided to run this race approximately one week after running the 2015 runDisney Dopey Challenge.

The thoughts that ran thru my head the first two days after doing Dopey were I would never do this challenge ever again nor would I ever run a marathon again.

3 days post Dopey I had talked myself into running the full marathon next year.

A week post Dopey I had convinced myself that I was going to run Dopey again in 2016.

However, Mike wanted nothing to do with running Dopey again and wanted to run the marathon only, our compromise… Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge.  So clear back in April of 2015 we signed up for this race.


The release of special edition New Balance shoes are now a much-anticipated part of any runDisney WDW Marathon Weekend expo.

Getting there/the lead-up to the race/The race Expo

I was a little sad we were missing the first day of the expo because I am always all about being the first one there. However with us not doing the Dopey Challenge or the 5K, this eliminated over ten thousand people that we would have to deal with at the expo.  RunDisney really puts on a great expo and they continue to follow the same formula for all expos, so I will not bore you with the details, but make sure you check out Jennifer’s article on How to Survive a runDisney expo!

On a side note I feel that the official merchandise booth was the best stocked I had ever seen it, especially since we were not there on the first day of the expo.

Swag review

For the marathon we received a red long sleeved shirt with Mickey Mouse on it.  The most exciting part of getting this shirt was to see what icon going down the sleeve they would change Hollywood Studios to since the Sorcerer’s Hat no longer exists.  Drum roll please….

Tower of Terror was the icon chosen!  This shirt was given to me along with my other two shirts for the challenge in a plastic bag.  The only other thing in the bag this year was a small Cliff Bar, which unfortunately has gluten in it.


My marathon-distance-friendly race outfit.

The gear

ALERT… ALERT… ALERT… This would be my first runDisney race where I did not run in a sparkle skirt/tutu. After being so uncomfortable last year during the full. I realized 26.2 miles is not the best time to be dressing up for a race.  I decided to go with a running outfit inspired by Finding Nemo’s Dory.  I wore a grey tank top that had a picture of Dory on it and read, “Just Keep Running.” I also wore running capris that had a blue fish scale pattern to them.

I wore my Brooks Adrenaline GTS 15 running shoes and Swiftwick socks on my feet.  A Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge Sweaty Band was the go to choice to keep my hair out of my face for such a long distance.  The last bit of clothing may be TMI for some people, but I feel that it is important to mention for later in this article… my sports bra of choice was Victoria Secret’s Incredible, which I wear for every single race I ever run.  My newest addition for the run would be my new Garmin watch, which unfortunately I could not use the day before because I forgot to bring the charger on the trip and I wanted it to last for the full marathon.

The pre-race

After running the half marathon the day before we learned that it was okay not to get on a bus taking us to the corrals until 3:45AM.  The alarm was set for 3AM and I do not need much prep before a race I threw on my clothes, laced up my sneakers, ate a LUNA protein bar and was out the door (just as soon as Mike was ready – geeze, women waiting on men, it must be Disney magic!).


Our race day crew ready to run 26.2 magical miles!


Once the bus dropped us off in the Epcot parking lots, Mike and I met up with our friends at the prerace party.  It was fun to see everyone’s costumes and hear everyone’s plans for the race.  Some friends were going for a PR while others were going for a PR of different sorts (i.e. get as many on-course photos as possible).  During this time we were also able to come up with a plan for where our friends not running could spectate.

Around 4:45AM it was time to head to the corrals. Now for anyone who has ever ran runDisney’s WDW Marathon, Donald Duck Half Marathon, or Princess Half Marathon, you know that you have about a mile walk to your starting corral.  I will say this is my least favorite part about all of these races.  So Mike and I, along with our friend Helene who was also starting in the same coral as us, made our way to the start.  Mike and Helene had decided to run together and I was going to stay with them as long as possible because I prefer to run/walk my races.

Along the course

Once it was time for our coral to start we were off!  The race was very congested for the first mile, thus it was hard to keep a pace the three of us were used to.  I eventually realized it was easier for me to speed walk at the pace the crowd was running.  My original goal was to be able to run the first 5K with Mike and Helene, but with the crowds I had to do more run/walking than I had originally planned. So at about mile two I said my goodbyes to them and was ready to get into my groove.


How can you not get excited when you see Mickey lacing up his shoes and going for a run?


From mile two until right outside Magic Kingdom (approximately a smidge  past mile 5) I tried to stay in  a thirty second walk interval/two minute run interval.  This part of the course was the exact same as the day before during the half, which can sometimes be rather boring, but being so focused on my intervals I felt like these three miles flew!

Once inside Magic Kingdom we turned onto Main Street and headed straight for Cinderella’s Castle!  Our friends (Jill and Tracy) were on Main Street waiting to cheer us and receive their very sweaty hugs.  Seeing them gave me motivation to “Just Keep Running.”  At the hub we turned right and headed to Tomorrowland where you could stop and take a picture with Lilo & Stitch (no time for picture stops for me this race).  After Tomorrowland, instead of turning at the Tea Cups the race had a new addition to it where it went further back into Fantasyland behind the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train before coming out by the carousel.  Great addition in my opinion.

Then it was time to run thru the castle then head to Frontierland.  To exit the park we went past Big Thunder Mountain and turned right after Splash Mountain and were lead backstage where Disney stages its parades.  At this point I was at about mile 6.5 and decided a bathroom break was necessary and much to my surprise I found Mike and Helene at the same bathroom spot!

For the next mile or so I played cat and mouse with Helene and Mike continuing to stay in my run/walk rhythm. Around mile 8 the course begins to change from the day before so that made for a more exciting course, but the best was that this year we would not have to run on the WDW Speedway because it no longer exists!  So it was off to run on Bear Lake Road.  This can be a very boring part of the course, but Disney tried to keep us entertained with some rare characters such as, Shan Yu (the villain from Mulan, yes I had to look up his name).  There was also a down and back extension off of this road to make up some of the miles lost from the removal of the speedway.


More great Marathon Weekend signage – Mickey is everywhere!

After the down and back it was time for our first food station (bananas!) right before coming into Animal Kingdom around mile 12.  At this point I found Mike and Helene once again to enjoy running thru the park together.

Once I was inside Animal Kingdom I began to notice that there were not any crowds of people roaming thru the park.  As we approached Everest I heard Mike say there were still twelve minutes till opening.  At this point I got beyond excited: flashback to last year during the race I road Everest and waited in line to ride it because the park was open before I even entered it.  Talk about a way to boost your confidence in running the marathon, we vetoed staying around to ride Everest because we realized we could be another mile ahead before it opened, maybe even two miles by the time we waited in line (yes a line of runners had already formed) and rode it.  Once outside of Animal Kingdom on the backside we crossed the halfway marker and I realized I was about ten minutes ahead of where I wanted to be.  At this point I went back to run/walking and once again bid goodbye to Mike and Helene.  It was off to run in the Animal Kingdom parking lot where my fellow runners from the day before (Mary and Aubry) were there to cheer me on.

To Be Continued…but you do not have to wait, click CLICK HERE NOW  for the exciting conclusion of Candace’s review! You can also check out our Course & Race Highlight Video and the links to all of our other coverage of this great event is at the top of the page!

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3 thoughts on “2016 runDisney WDW Marathon (Part1)

  1. Pingback: The Casual Runner | 2016 runDisney WDW Marathon (Part2) - The Casual Runner

  2. Pingback: The Casual Runner | 2016 WDW Half Marathon - The Casual Runner

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