Love it or hate it, running is an exhilarating experience. Months of training, all leading up to one day when all preparation is put to the ultimate test, is a great illustration of motivation, goal-setting, and endurance. Add to the equation fairytale castles as background scenery and world-famous characters as the cheering committee, and you’ve got yourself an incredible memory made even more special thanks to runDisney.
My aunt, Tricia Brett, had a dream of running a Disney race for a while, and set her sights on last February’s Princess Half Marathon in Walt Disney World. She loved it so much that she decided to run the Dumbo Double Dare in Disneyland seven months later! The Double Dare consisted of a 10K followed by a half-marathon the very next day. That’s pretty incredible! Please welcome Tricia as she shares her experience with runDisney on both coasts!
What started your enthusiasm for running?
I had been working out and walking, and several of my imaginary friends (Facebook Disney group) started talking about running the Princess Half Marathon. I thought if I trained I could run it too.
Were your Disney races your first long-distance events? How did you feel upon completing your first race?
I had run a few 5Ks along with an 8 mile and marathon relay, but the Princess was my first half and I cried like a baby when I crossed the finish line due to pure happiness.
What is different or special about running with Disney?
Running at Disney is not like a regular race. You do not run Disney to PR, you run it for the magic. Where else but Disney can 60+ of your imaginary friends come to life? I met up with friends from all over the US and UK, and it was like we had known each other for years and not just online. Disney requires that you keep a 16-minute mile pace and as long as you are faster than that, you can stop at each character stop, take photos, and enjoy your time with great friends. Plus, you run through the castle and that was worth it all. I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Dallas half a month later it was great, but it was just a race.
The Dumbo Double Dare was your first time in Disneyland after many trips to Disney World. In general, how did it compare?
I enjoyed DL and CA. For me the magic you feel at WDW just was not there. When we walked in and turned down Main Street and saw Sleeping Beauty Castle, it was an ‘oh’ versus the goose bumps I get at MK. The character interaction is better at DL. We walked right up to Mickey and Minnie, and you can’t do that at WDW (too many people). I think since the majority of people at DL are local, they are used to seeing characters everywhere. I loved how at CA they had a lot of small street shows which you also do not see at WDW. The rides (minus the monorail) were better. Space Mountain was 100x better as was Pirates of the Caribbean, and Cars Land was pretty cool.
Out of the three Disney races you ran, which was your favorite and why?
Princess—it was my first half, friends from all over to share the magic and Pixie Dust with, and I will never forget it. So proud of the Princess I went with a friend to Kissimmee after the race and had the crown plus 13.1 tattooed above my ankle. And no I am not getting a Dumbo tattoo!
What’s the #1 piece of advice you’d give to someone thinking about running a Disney race?
Something to consider—while at DL they had a heat wave. It was horrible. The normal lows are 60 and highs 75 with 0% humidity. The 10K was not that bad since I chose to walk it with Robyn Oliver, who made it for me 100% better. We stopped at all the characters and she taught me how to pose for the race cameras. The half was what I call the perfect storm for me. With having MS and the temp in the 80s with 85% humidity, it was bad. There was a time when I did not think I would finish, but heard my mom yelling at me to “Push, Tricia!” just like when I swam on the swim team and that got me through it. If the weather had been normal, it would have been better.
Oh, another thing—with Disneyland being so small, you run the majority of the race in the City of Anaheim versus WDW races are all within Disney property. Running in Angels (baseball team) Stadium was neat.
What does running mean to you?
I enjoy running. I will never be fast, but I go out and always come back feeling better then when I left. Plus there is not any other sport that you can meet up with friends and spend 4-6 days at Disney without your husband and kids and them being fine with that because you are running. I can’t leave out that I was at DL with about 20 of those imaginary friends I met up with at the Princess.
A huge thanks to Tricia for taking time to share with us today. Not one, not two, but THREE big Disney races in one year!! That is quite an accomplishment. How about you? What do you love best about running with Disney?
Blake is a college student focusing on Film and Creative Writing. He enjoys making his family of six watch the parade on Main Street and then sprint to Frontierland in time to see it again. You can follow Blake’s random Disney ramblings on Twitter at @olddirtyblake, or at BlakeOnline.com.