Running with the Mouse

About the Column

Disney travel experts agree on one thing: relax, take your time. But when it comes to Disney's marathons and other running events, they're wrong. In a race, you can't take your time. And you also can't show up with just your two feet expecting to win - or even finish! Preparing for a Disney marathon requires discipline, hard work, and good advice. We can't help you with the discipline or the hard work. But Robert Mathis, owner of DisneyRunning and one of the few people designated by Disney as 'Perfectly Goofy' for his frequent participation in their running events (since 1996!), has lots of good advice. So relax, take your time, and read his weekly column.

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FROM: Running with the Mouse Published As Needed

Disneyland Half Marathon Race Expo & Packet Pickup

You have entered the race and are getting ready to leave for Disneyland for the Half Marathon Weekend. Time for some pre race prep.

You have entered the race and are getting ready to leave for Disneyland next month for the Half Marathon Weekend. You have all of your travel plans and running gear picked out.

Packet PickupThe first thing you need to do as part of the race weekend is to pick up your race packet (Kid's, 5K and Half Marathon races). Disney sends out emails to all runners about 30 days before the race with a link to download your personal race waiver. This waiver is required to pick up your race number, ChronoTrack B-Tag (timing chip), and your packet pick-up at Disneyland Health and Fitness Expo located at the Disneyland Hotel Exhibit Hall on either Friday September 2 from Noon until 8:00 pm or Saturday September 3 from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm. Runners will need to proceed to the Lower Level of the Exhibit hall for the race packet pickup. You will be required to have a photo id as well to verify their identity. They don't allow this to happen race morning. If you can't attend, there is one way around this. You can give the signed waiver, a copy of your photo id, and a letter stating it is ok for this person to be picking up your items. The Lower Level of the Exhibit Hall is also where you can take care of issues with corral placement (Runners Relations), Coast to Coast information, pre purchased items like park tickets, ChEAR Squad, Pasta in the Park, and Commemorative Pins. Get this over with right away so you can get down to the more fun things that are going on in the Expo. I usually arrive about 11:30 am on Friday. I rather stand in line the 30 minutes before than a much longer line later.

The next thing you need to head upstairs and grab your race t-shirt and goody bag. You enter the Disneyland Grand Ballroom main entrance and head off to the right to the back wall. There are 2 separate areas which are broken down by the 5K and the Half Marathon races. Disney gives nice Champion Technical T-shirts for the Half Marathon runners while the 5K runners get cotton t-shirts.

I will than cruise all the way across the Ballroom to the Event Merchandise section. I do this as Disney only has limited Disneyland Half Marathon logoed race merchandise. If you want a particular style or size of merchandise, this is the time to get it. Once it is gone, it is gone so don't procrastinate. This is another reason I arrive so early the first day of the Expo.

Disneyland Race ExpoNow it's the fun time of the day to stop by and visit the numerous exhibitors that make up the majority of the Grand Ballroom. The exhibitors cover the whole range of running inspired products. I usually just go up one row and down to other not to miss one vendor. This is a great way to sample some of the different runner food products. You can get a feel for what flavors might work for you during training and races. The exhibitor booths are also great where you can see (and try) new and state of the art runners products. The vendors also sell these items at special race expo prices plus you don't have to pay shipping prices. I would allocate at least 2 hours for doing all of this at the expo.

One final thing you can do and I find useful for the beginner runners or first time Disney runners is the Speaker Series. This is a Series of Speakers that will give you last minute tips and race information for runners and spectators. You can also hear about injury prevention and inspirational runner stories by some of the leaders in the field of running. You might even get a chance to talk to them after their talk.