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 race announcer at the TCS New York City Marathon + other major events, TV host for the New York City Triathlon + contributor to Shape, Redbook, Runner's World + other publications. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now it's her job. She's run 8 marathons, 30 halves, 10 triathlons + open water swims. When she's not running, talking about running or writing about running, she's snuggling her baby, spoiling her dog + compulsively traveling.


12 2013

22 Comments Add Yours ↓

The upper is the most recent comment

  1. Mer #

    Very cool – can’t wait to read about your experiences. Women’s cut shirts this year???
    Mer recently posted..Recipe Box: Bow Tie Pasta with Asparagus, Sun-dried tomatoes and BoursinMy Profile

  2. Karla Bruning

    Yes! 10K, half and full have women’s cut tech shirts! Hallelujah! 5K is a unisex cotton shirt.
    Karla Bruning recently posted..I’m Going To Walt Disney World…Half Marathon!My Profile

  3. 3

    Yay!! Can’t wait to see what your costumes are. That’s so great you will run the 5K with your mom.
    Emily recently posted..2013 St Louis Hot Chocolate 15KMy Profile

  4. 5

    “Yeah, but that fourth race is 26.2 miles!” hahaha that made me smile.

    I am sure you ladies are going to come up with the best coordinated costume idea. No pressure :)
    Kristina @ Blog About Running recently posted..Letting go of my mental crutch when it comes to runningMy Profile

  5. 7

    It’s great that your mom is tackling her first 5K with you! You’ll have so much fun!
    Tina@GottaRunNow recently posted..Short Strength Training WorkoutsMy Profile

  6. 9

    So exciting! I’m running Dopey, so I have (at least) 3 chances to finally meet you! Can’t wait!
    Megan (Running Toward the Prize) recently posted..Going After Goals at Gazelle GirlMy Profile

  7. 11

    So jealous! That’s great that you’re going and doing “just” the 3 races. And you’ll have such a blast running with your mom. Running the W&D with my dad is still top 2 favorite race memories for me. Can’t wait to read your recaps and, of course, see your costumes!
    Kellie recently posted..3 Half Marathons in Less Than 4 Months?!?!My Profile

  8. 13

    I have race envy when it comes to runners doing the 10k. I wish I had signed up for that but I was so focused on the half. My party of 4 for the half will be in H and I.
    Lesley recently posted..Christmas ListMy Profile

  9. 15

    Exciting stuff! My aunt has done tons of Disney races and eventually I’ll join her in Orlando. But a 5am marathon time?! Eek, daunting.
    Crystal@TheFastFitRunner recently posted..GIVE ME YOUR OPINION: To Buy a Treadmill, or not?!My Profile

  10. Karla Bruning

    That’s what I thought the first time I did a Disney race, but it’s actually not too bad. The week of the race I get into the habit of going to bed early and getting up early every day so that 3:30 am alarm doesn’t feel so terrible. I still find it easier than the nighttime races!
    Karla Bruning recently posted..I’m Going To Walt Disney World…Half Marathon!My Profile

  11. 17

    Oh how fun! And what a great time of year to be in Florida (I say as I contemplate whether to run in the snow and slush.) Have a great time. : )
    Diann_D recently posted..The Wisdom of Fear and ResistanceMy Profile

  12. 19

    How exciting for you, Karla!! I am so jealous, it looks like so much fun, and how special that your mum will be there with you in the 5k! I could never convince my mum to enter a race with me! That will be such a special weekend, and you will have an amazing time!

    I think you made the right choice with not competing in the marathon…..then maybe you really would need my perseverance post as you would be risking injury! Thanks for sharing this post, I really enjoyed reading :)
    Tina Muir recently posted..Training Update 12/15-12/21My Profile

  13. Karla's Mom #

    I am so excited to be doing the 5K with you Karla. Disney World the perfect place for us to have this experience. It is going to be so much fun just hope I can finish in time.


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