I’m Going To Walt Disney World…Half Marathon!

Walt Disney World Half Marathon

Minnie cheers runners at the 2013 Wat Disney World Marathon. (Photo: runDisney)

That’s right. In just three weeks, I’ll be at the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend from January 8-12, and running the Walt Disney World Half Marathon.

The folks at runDisney graciously invited me and I just couldn’t say no.

Am I running the marathon again like last year? Um, no. With just a few weeks preparation, I’m not quite in marathon shape. Sure, I ran the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 20 and the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon on November 9, but that 13.1 miles was my last long run. The longest I’ve gone since then is 6.5 miles.

As tempting as it would be to tackle the marathon or, even more, the Dopey Challenge, I’m “just” going to run every other race that weekend instead. That’s right, I’ll be tackling the Disney Family Fun Run 5K, Walt Disney World 10K and Walt Disney World Half Marathon on three consecutive days.

Walt Disney World Marathon, Disney running, run Disney, Cinderella Castle

At the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon with my husband. (Photo: Marathon Foto)

I’ve been running 22-26 miles per week for the last few weeks since I started the Runner’s World Holiday Running Streak on November 27. So I figure I can easily do 22+ miles over three days. If my streak keeps on rocking—fingers crossed—I’ll have six weeks of running-every-day under my belt.

Part of me thought: Well, if I’m going to run the first three races, I might as well run the fourth. But then the other part of me thought: Yeah, but that fourth race is 26.2 miles!

So I’m making the grown-up decision and passing up the marathon this year. I had a great time running it in 2013. If you don’t believe me, read my race report. But it was the only race I did at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend last year.

This year, I want to try the other races instead.

My husband, Phil, won’t be joining me as usual. But in his stead, the ladies in my family are coming for a girls weekend. Here’s how I hope it will go down:

Disney Family Fun Run 5K
Disney World Half Marathon

On my mom’s lap, next to my sister, on Dumbo circa 1980.

My mother, at 67-years-young, will be joining me for her very first 5K. I’m so excited for her and so excited to be by her side. She has been a lifelong Disney fan. She dressed as Tinker Bell for Halloween when she was a little girl, and read Cinderella and Snow White to me at bed time when I was a little girl. She let me name our family dog Bruno, after Cinderella’s dog. And she took me to see the classic Disney films when they were re-released in theaters. Then, she bought them for me on VHS once VCRs were invented.

Now, she reads every single blog post and column that I write. And after watching my coverage of the 2013 New York City Marathon with New York Road Runners’ On The Run, she got inspired to start running herself.

Over Thanksgiving, I went with her to get fit for her first proper pair of running shoes and she downloaded a Couch to 5K program. My mom is already an avid walker, so sprinkling in some short running bursts with her walking seems like a natural progression. I told her I’d do her first 5K with her.

Well, my mom decided she wanted to do it at Disney. And I couldn’t be happier!

The 5K will be a shake-out run-walk for me before my main event…the 10K.

Walt Disney World Half Marathon, NYRR Mini 10K

At the NYRR New York Mini 10K in 2011 (left), my last 10K.

Walt Disney World 10K

I’m shocked to say that I haven’t raced a 10K since June 11, 2011. It’s been 2.5 years! I’ve done 28 races since then—not one of them a 10K. So this is it. I’m planning to run the 10K for a personal best. I recently ran a 5K personal best at a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot. And my current 10K personal best is actually from a track workout earlier this year. So I’m excited to hit the road and see what I’m made of.

Walt Disney World Half Marathon

After racing to a 10K personal best the day before—here’s hoping—or at least attempting to run a 10K personal best even if I fail, I’m guessing my legs will be tired. Should I really do 13.1-miles on them? Probably not. But I just can’t help myself. I’ve never run this race and I want to. So this will hopefully be my victory lap around “the World.” I’ll run easy, stop for pictures and just have fun. I’ve been slowly building up mileage again for a half-marathon PR attempt in the spring. So I’ll treat this one as an easy long run.

That’s the game plan. Just three weeks to go. Yippee Skippy! (As Muppet Babies’ Miss Piggy would say.)

Now to plan the costumes…

As a member of the media, runDisney is giving me complimentary race entries, hotel and park tickets for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. I buy my own airfare, most meals, etc. As always, all opinions are purely my own. Disney does not give me talking points, post requirements, story suggestions or the like. As with everything, I choose what I write about, when I write about it, and always give my honest opinion. I firmly believe in being honest about my experiences and Disney is no exception. For more, read my Disclosure Policy.

Karla Bruning


Karla Bruning is a regular contributor to SHAPE.com, the host of NYRR's On The Run web + TV show, and a race announcer at events like the TCS New York City Marathon. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now she freelances as a running reporter. She's run 7 marathons, 20 halves, 6 triathlons, sings in an '80s cover band, spoils her dog + travels compulsively.

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12 2013

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