Runners at the Marine Corps Marathon. (Photo: Cpl. Bryan G. Lett/US Marine Corp)
Still deciding what marathon you want to run in the next 12 months? I am! The 15 biggest marathons in the U.S. are a common place to start.
Over the last few months, I’ve been posting when lotteries and registrations open for many popular races, from large runDisney events to a small 7-miler in Key West, half-marathons in New York to major marathons all over the U.S. It’s always frustrating to discover a race you want to run is already sold-out.
So here’s how and when to register for America’s 15 biggest marathons. Some of them are even among the biggest marathons in the world. And guess what? Most of them sell out before race day.
Half-marathoners, keep in mind that many of these events have 13.1-mile races the same weekend. So if you don’t want to go 26.2, you’ve still got options.
runDisney invited me to be their guest at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. I was running the first three of the four races, so the Walt Disney World Half Marathon was the finale to my running weekend.
I’ve never run this race before; I was really looking forward to it. I ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon in 2012, which had a nearly identical course but with a slightly different start and finish, and I had a blast at that race.
I had one goal and one goal alone for the Walt Disney World Half Marathon: get a picture with Cinderella while dressed as Cinderella.
I’m attending the weekend as a guest of runDisney and I’ve got just one more race and one more Disney running costume to don: The Walt Disney World Half Marathon. A photo of my costume is below.
In case this is your first visit to my blog, I’ll start with this: I’m obsessed with Cinderella. Why? I have no idea. She’s just my boo. She has been since I can remember remembering things. Read the rest of this entry →
I attended the 2013 Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend as part of a press trip sponsored by New Balance and runDisney, where they gave runners a first glimpse of the new Disney New Balance shoes. I’ve subsequently gotten a lot of questions about how to buy them.
First, the shoes are only available at runDisney race expos. Unfortunately, they are not sold online. Though I’m sure some enterprising individuals will hawk them for obscene amounts of money on eBay, as happened last year, or offer their services as virtual personal shoppers. There’s at least one personal shopping company already advertising their services around the shoes. (UPDATE: I’ve been told that particular company got shut-down at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.) Oh, Capitalism.
So you have to attend a runDisney race expo in person. There are currently seven runDisney race weekends throughout the year. Here they are for 2014:
Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend: Walt Disney World, January 8-12, 2014
Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend: Disneyland, January 16-19, 2014
Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend: Walt Disney World, February 20-23, 2014
Expedition Everest Challenge: Walt Disney World, May 3, 2014
Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend: Disneyland, August 29-31, 2014
The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror 10-Miler Weekend: Walt Disney World, date TDB
Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend: Walt Disney World, date TBD
You don’t have to actually register for any of the races to buy the shoes. The expos are free and open to the public. But you do have to get to Florida or California at the right rime.
Second, to buy the Disney New Balance shoes at the upcoming Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, folks have to make a reservation at the Disney Health & Fitness Expo at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. They’re trying to minimize lines at the New Balance booth, which were mayhem last year.
Goofy high-fives finishers at the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon. (Photo: runDisney)
No Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Meet-Up
I’m attending the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend as press courtesy of runDisney, and I just got word from the folks there that there will be no Meet-Up for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend this year. With four races over the course of four days for the first time in the history of the event, it’s understandable. I’ve interviewed a number of folks on the runDisney team about the logistics of putting on these events. It’s mind-boggling. Don’t believe me? Read the article I wrote about it, Planning Disney Races Takes More Than Magic. But runDisney says they will be doing plenty of Meet-Ups later in the year. So stay tuned for those.
I know that will disappoint many runners who were hoping to get in on a possible Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Meet-Up this year. But there are plenty of other events to keep you busy while you’re not running.
There was the high of running in Hawai’i and the low of getting sick for my fall marathon. And there was the redemption of a 5K PR after marathon season was over.
If 2013 taught me anything, it’s that you can’t win them all. But you can still have fun trying.
This photo of me with my finisher’s medal at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is proof of that. I was sick, failed to run a marathon personal best like I wanted, but still managed to enjoy the race. My smile says it all.
And you know what? When you give a goal your best and fail, it makes the successes even sweeter. I ran 6 of the 13 races either as fun runs or training runs and I ran 7 of the 13 races as races, pushing with everything I had. I managed to PR at three of them, and scored a few PRs in workouts without even trying, too. I’ll save those for my Goals of 2014 post.
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. Read the rest of this entry →
Kids and kids at heart at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. (Photo: runDisney)
112 years ago today, a man was born who would have a profound influence on my own life, my family, and millions of other people worldwide. On December 5, 1901 Walt Disney was born in a small house on the northwest side of Chicago. I grew up not too far from there, 30 minutes due west of the city and Walt’s first home.
Walt and Mickey watch over Magic Kingdom in the “Partners” statue. (Photo: Gene Duncan/Walt Disney World News)
So today, Walt’s Birthday, feels like the right time to reflect on why I run Disney.
Why I Run Disney
When I was about 8-years-old—just 30 minutes and 85 years from where the man behind the mouse was born—I promised myself I’d never forget what it felt like to be a kid. I was surrounded by grown-ups who had clearly forgotten.
I don’t remember the inciting incident, but I remember the day clearly.
I was sitting on the grass by the pond next to my house picking dandelions. A grown-up I didn’t know well yelled at me, essentially, for having fun—the kind of fun a kid has on warm spring days, doing cartwheels, singing, playing and like. Maybe I accidentally cartwheeled into her, or maybe I was giggling too loudly. Whatever I’d done, I thought it was innocent child’s play. The grown-up did not.
Her grumpy admonition stung. As I sat sulking, staring at the grass stains on my pants, I promised myself I would never, ever forget how it feels to be a kid.
Joey Fatone at the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (Photo: Preston Mack/runDisney)
Want to run any of the races at the sold-out Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend from January 8-12, 2014, the sold-out Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland from January 16-19, 2014 or the sold-out Disney Princess Half Marathon on February 23, 2014?
You still can. Here’s the scoop.
Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend
Dream Come True Vacations, one of the official runDisney tour providers, has several openings available for the following races January 8-12, 2014:
Walt Disney World 10k
Walt Disney World Half Marathon
Walt Disney World Marathon
Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge
Dopey Challenge Read the rest of this entry →
Smiles for women’s cut race shirts at the 2012 Tinker Bell Half Marathon. (Photo: runDisney)
An Open Letter To Race Directors Everywhere
Dear Race Directors,
Earlier this year, runDisney announced they are offering women’s cut running shirts at the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon in addition to the “unisex” race shirts they’ve handed out for the last 20 years.
Women all across the U.S. shouted a collective “Amen!” to Disney’s news. Why? We’ve been grumbling about this for years: under our breath, to other runners, and, on occasion, to you.
Disney recognized what you should too: women now account for the majority of runners. The tide has turned and women are the main driver in the current running boom.
So here are all of the reasons why you should have women’s cut running shirts at your next major race as part of your registration kit. Read the rest of this entry →
Runners pass a Mickey Mouse hot air balloon at the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon in Florida. (Photo: Todd Anderson/runDisney)
Want to run the Walt Disney World Marathon 2014 presented by Cigna or even the Dopey Challenge? You still can. The races may be sold out, but a limited number of charity and tour group entries are still available for runDisney fans who want to toe the line in Walt Disney World in Florida from January 8-12.
Kim Smith passes the Cyclone roller coaster on her way to victory at the Brooklyn Half. She ran the race as a half marathon training run. (Photo: NYRR)
Sometimes races aren’t about racing. Toeing the line in competition is exhilarating, but sometimes it’s good to use the occasional race as a training run or fun run, especially during half marathon training.
Kim Smith won the 2013 Brooklyn Half on May 18 in a new course record of 1:11:24. But the three-time Olympian from New Zealand who lives and trains in Providence, RI wasn’t even racing. She ran the half-marathon as a tempo-pace training run, as she told me in pre- and post-race interviews for “NYRR On The Run at the Brooklyn Half.”
“I’m going to treat it as a workout,” Smith told me at the race pre-party the day before.
Indeed, Smith’s half-marathon personal best is 1:07:11, a full four-minutes faster than her finish time in Brooklyn.
“It was a pretty relaxed effort,” Smith said after the race. “I didn’t go all out.”
She said she’s training for the track season and will be back in New York City on Saturday, June 8 to race the Oakley New York Mini 10K, a New York Road Runners event that usually attracts a stellar competitive field. The women-only race boasts a $10,000 prize for first place, and past champions include the legendary Grete Waitz, Olympic-medalist Deena Kastor and World Champions Lornah Kiplagat, Edna Kiplagat and Linet Masai.
Kim Smith breaks the tape at the 2013 Brooklyn Half in course record time, though 4 minutes slower than her personal best. (Photo: NYRR)
I found Smith’s decision to run, but not race, really encouraging. Never mind the fact that not racing for her still might mean winning and scoring a course record. What’s important is that she set-out to do the race as a half marathon training run and did just that.
In my mind, there are three types of races for mid-packers like me: personal record attempts, training runs, and fun runs. Pros and elite runners have a fourth type that will likely elude me my entire running career: running for the win or the podium. Though I did once place in the top 10 women at a small local race, out of 65 ladies. While that will likely be my claim to fame for a long time, the other three types of runs will always have a place in my racing repertoire, especially during half marathon training. Read the rest of this entry →
The Walt Disney World Marathon finish. (Photo: runDisney)
Tribesports asked me to create a guide to the Walt Disney World Marathon course for their social networking site for active minded folks. “Whether you’re a novice or a pro, we think seeing your friends sports activity, and sharing yours will make you want to be more active and do more sports,” their website states. Seems like a good premise to me, since that’s what the blogging community does in a different way.
So I thought I’d share my Walt Disney World Marathon Guide here as well since it highlights the race in a different way than my race report. If you’re thinking of signing up for the Walt Disney World Marathon—registration is still open for the 2014 race—here’s a play by play of what you can expect on the course.
Guide to the Walt Disney World Marathon Course
Runners fill Magic Kingdom. (Photo: runDisney)
The Walt Disney World Marathon is the crown jewel in the runDisney series of races. Nearly 25,000 runners tackle the 26.2-miles around “the World,” many dressed in costume in homage to their favorite Disney characters. The vibe on-course is as much party as road race with Disney’s signature entertainment lining the way: marching bands, DJ’s, cheerleaders, acrobats, rock bands, and, of course, those famous Disney characters. Read the rest of this entry →
I’m not the fastest runner and I’m not the slowest, but I am a running nerd. A journalist by trade, I love to research, read, learn and cogitate. So stick with me. Like all good nerds, I’ll do the homework and share it. But the running is up to you!