by Joseph Kolinsky
As mentioned in my previous blog entry, the crown jewel of Run Disneyâ€™s calendar is its first race of the year, WDW Marathon Weekend.Â However, there are other races throughout the year that really are special and deserve the consideration of my fellow DisneyGeeks that either currently enjoy runningâ€¦or are looking for a reason to purchase their really cool first pair of gel-infused Nikeâ€™s.Â So Iâ€™ll paint a quick picture of each race, hoping that some of you might be motivated to earn a run Disney medal in the near future.
The newest race on the run Disney calendar is the Tinkerbell Half Marathon, scheduled for its inaugural running during the weekend of January 27th-29th 2012.Â This race goes off three weeks after the WDW Marathon, in Disneyland.Â No other real details are available as of yet â€“ but Iâ€™ll keep you posted on any details I may hear.
Walt Disney Worldâ€™s Princess Half Marathon occurs annually in late February (the next run is scheduled for the weekend of February 24th â€“ 26th 2012).Â Iâ€™ve heard nothing but great things about this race!Â Itâ€™s slated as a womenâ€™s half marathon, although approximately 300-400 men ran it last year, I believe.Â As a father of a 12 year-old daughter thatâ€™s just dipping her toe into running, I think this race is absolutely fantastic.Â Itâ€™s a true celebration of womenâ€™sâ€™ strength.
The first weekend in March brings us to the Champion 5k race, run as part of ESPN the Weekend in Walt Disney World.Â March is a great time to run in WDW â€“ the humidity is low, the temperature is just right, and a 5k distance is a wonderful entry race for any new runner.Â If youâ€™ve never run before (or havenâ€™t run in quite a while), and you are looking for a manageable distance with a fun atmosphere, put this one on your calendar!
In early May, the Everest Challenge is run in Walt Disney Worldâ€™s Animal Kingdom.Â This race isâ€¦.wellâ€¦unique.Â I just ran it about 3 months ago, and had a really fun time.Â Itâ€™s run in the evening, and it is more than just a 5k jog past the home of the Yeti.Â The race begins in the parking lot of the park, sends you through the front gates, and winds you past the Tree of Life.Â At several points along the next three miles, you have the added challenge of maneuvering up, over, and around various obstacles in addition to your evening jog.Â Once you cross the finish line, the challenge is only half complete!Â You are then handed a tiny flashlight, a pen and a map, and sent back into the park on a scavenger hunt!Â The prize?Â An extremely cool medal that doubles as a compass!
The Run Disney race series takes a bit of a break from mid May through the end of August as schoolâ€™s out for the summer and, letâ€™s face it, itâ€™s more fun to work on our tans than train for a race!
The Disneyland Half Marathon is run each Labor Day Weekend.Â I ran the inaugural race in 2006, and it was an absolute blast.Â Through the streets of Anaheim, around the warning track of the Anaheim Angelsâ€™ baseball stadium, and through Disneyland itself, the sites and sounds of this race were a joy to experience.Â Iâ€™m sure that, 5 years later, this race has consistently improved.Â If youâ€™re thinking of a first half marathon, this could be the one for you.Â Itâ€™s flat and fast, and the finisherâ€™s medal rocks!
The Wine and Dine Half Marathon is run in early October (the next one is scheduled for the weekend of September 30th â€“ October 1st 2011).Â While I donâ€™t want to end this blog entry on a sour note, I do need to be honest about this race: I ran the inaugural one last year, and was quite disappointed by the lack of proper lighting on parts of the course (itâ€™s another night time race), as well as the lack of organization within the finishers area and the afterparty in Epcotâ€™s World Showcase.Â That being said, I am sure that Disney received a ton of feedback on how to improve this raceâ€¦and I look forward to seeing the positive changes in less than 2 months.
So there you have it â€“ the Run Disney calendar at a glance.Â In my next entry, Iâ€™ll begin to share some ideas on how to pick the right race for you, as well as how to get started on your trek toward finishing your first Disney race.Â Until then, make sure to double-knot your shoe laces!Â And if you have any feedback, comments, etc., please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
A self-proclaimed Disney nerd, Joe Kolinsky also is a running enthusiast.Â He has completed over 10 marathonsÂ and runÂ 5 Disney races (including the 2009 Goofy Challenge).Â When he is not running or dreaming of his next Disney vacation, JoeÂ spends his spare time being a Dad and writing.Â (You can follow his writings in his blog, entitled â€œBuilt for Comfort, Not Speedâ€ at http://backofthepacker.wordpress.com/)