(#6) Disney Princess Half Marathon – Part 1 (The Disney Roller Coaster)

February 26, 2012

Aurora and Wendy with their medals, crouching down as they get ready to jump at the Disney Princess 2012 raceTrue to Disney, this half marathon was a 13.1 mile roller coaster – a mix of sudden stops, plenty of turns (with all our bobbing and weaving), and colliding human-bumper-cars. (Bumper-humans, I guess, is what that would be called?)

(Heads up – this was a fun race, so please read anything below that sounds like maybe a “complaint” with love and laughter in your voice. I thought it all was more funny than annoying.)

When we ran through the Magic Kingdom, we got funneled from a wide road into a narrower bridge. As we ran up to the bridge – screeeeech! We stopped suddenly, trapped behind a huge, unexplained traffic jam caused by a large group of people who’d come to a complete stop.

Runners started yelling “don’t stop!” I couldn’t tell what was going on. Some of us finally squeezed around. I started jogging again, thinking we were back to doing a half marathon, when the woman running just a bit in front of me suddenly halted.

I ran smack into her.

That’s when I saw a photographer. I realized the incredible gridlock all throughout that bridge was due to people stopping to pose.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a super ham for the camera, but I try to keep up my pace while being one. After all, I am in a half marathon, so I want some action shots, by golly!

Aurora and Wendy jumping in the air at the end of the Disney Princess half marathon 2012The thing I’m learning about Disney running events is that they are Disney events that happen to involve running, as opposed to running events that involve Disney.

There were areas where people could get their picture taken with characters, and lines would form along the side of the course. Okay, that’s cool. But, I came upon one where the line was curving far into the road, literally going to the halfway point of the street. What?! Why are you lining up that way? Did you forget you were in a half marathon?

At some point, in some race, I have almost certainly gotten in someone’s way. I am far from a perfect runner. I still slow down to walk sometimes. (And I am a silly, dancing walker.) But I do my best to stay out of the way of faster people. I keep my eyes open and try to be as considerate as possible to other runners.

Granted, this Disney race had 20,000 people, so I’m sure no matter what, it was going to be crowded. Plus, Disney races have more first time runners than any other races. It’s possible that a lot of people didn’t know to stay to the right when they’re going slower, or to go off to the side for pictures.

Everybody has a first time, and life is a learning experience. So, it’s okay if everyone doesn’t know everything about everything.

Aurora running in a huge crowd of people by the castle in the Disney Princess 2012 half marathon
(I’m to your left, behind the girl in the yellow. (You can click the picture to see it bigger.))

And half marathons should be plenty of fun. I love half marathons and would love it if the whole world shared that love. So, I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade. But it was an interesting race to say the least.

It certainly made for a great workout since it gave a nice, little test of my agility and coordination.

The lesson (even in this longer distance race) is the same one I learned at my first Disney 5k and implemented in my next Disney 5k.  Unless you are an elite runner who’s going to run far ahead, be up for walking and picture stops. Go into it thinking you’re gonna have a great morning walk with your friends, and you’ll have a ball.

Encourage brand new runners to try their first race with you, leave your Garmin at home, and have a play run. That’s my advice that I will heed at my next Disney race.

As I said, overall, I did have a super fun time, and I can’t wait to tell you all about it tomorrow.

6 thoughts on “(#6) Disney Princess Half Marathon – Part 1 (The Disney Roller Coaster)”

  1. Hi! I checked you in on Friday at the Disney Expo & you were nice enough to tell us your amazing story!!! Well I did my first ever 1/2 Marathon & I liked it!!! I was not swept which was great & over 2500 people cme in after me!!! Woohoo!! Love my medal!!!
    So glad to have met you & I tell everyone your inspirational story!!! Good luck!!! Carole Dunn

  2. I’ve been mulling around the idea of running the Disney Marathon next year and everyone seems to say: it’s not a PR race. I ran the Disneyland Half two years ago and it was a definite PR, but I’m guessing that Disney WORLD is much more of a constant spectacle, which is why people stop and take pictures and slow down the field. Sounds like fun though 🙂

    1. That’s a good point that other Disney races may be different. This is just what I’ve noticed from the Princess Half and Never Land 5k.

      Also, I think it depends on the runner. If someone is running a half marathon under two hours, they’re most likely fast enough to outrun all the crowds. If someone is going for a PR of three hours, they might have some trouble maneuvering around the course.

      I think Disney races can be really fun; I’m doing one in September. I’m just adjusting the way I approach them.

      But, hey, to each their own. Congrats on getting a personal record at your Disneyland race!

  3. Hey!!! I actually met you in line at the port-a-potties before the race actually began! We were talking about the Surf City Half and you told me about the beach challenge they have! Your definitely an inspiration and I would love to do this 52 in 52 Challenge next year!

    1. Thank you, Elissa!

      Do you think you’re gonna do the Beach Cities Challenge? I’ll be there at the next two races to finish out mine.

      You’ll have to let me know if you do 52 in 52 next year. I’m having so much fun so far, I might want to jump on the bandwagon and do it all over again!

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