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

WDW Wine & Dine Pre Race Fun

Robert talks about keeping your wits about you and preparing for the task ahead. Distractions are NOT needed at this point.



This was an usual race trip for me in that I left almost a week before the race. Unusual as this would mean I would violate some of my own tips on preparing for the race. Being at Walt Disney World this long before the race would mean many long days of park hopping. This would be “dead” or tired legs going into the race.

Another issue is the heat and humidity on my body. Being from the West Coast, we have some heat training but absolutely no humidity training. The combination of these can easily cause dehydration and thus another factor in a tough race. I have tried to do my best by drinking lots of water and taking electrolyte supplements through the days.

A final issue having to deal with has been the soft opening and start of Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival just outside the doors of my resort. This is always a favorite event of mine to try lots of new and favorite food samples from all over the World Showcase. This is not always a good idea to do before an upcoming race though.

I managed to keep all of these “distractions” under control before the race weekend started.

Friday was packet pickup for all runners of the 5K and Half Marathon is at ESPN Wide World of Sports.  This opened up at 10:00 am and I was in 10 minutes after it opened. As mentioned before, getting there early is important to get best selection of Disney Race Merchandise as well as other items sold by the many vendors.

First stop is getting your race bib at the HP Field House. I came prepared with my waiver downloaded from the Disney site all filled out with my photo id. Don’t forget the photo id or they won’t allow you to get your number! The room is broken down with the Half Marathon bibs on one side and the 5K on the other. The lines are further broken down by bib numbers and were fairly short for most. I actually just walked up and got my bib and my 2 preordered race weekend pins.

There were other lines for runner’s relations as well as a Disney Race Merchandise booth. There was hardly anything in there and tons of people in line. They didn’t realize there was more with less people in the Jostens Center next door.

As you leave, you can test you bib tag to make sure it is working and that you will be able to get a “official” race time.

All participants then have to walk over to the Jostens Center to get their goody bag and t-shirt. This is also where Disney has a much bigger Race Merchandise booth (with short lines) and all of the vendors of the race. This is also a chance to see lots of new great running gear at great prices. You can also get some samples of the food and freebies from the sponsors of the race. The expo is smaller than the Disneyland Half from 4 weeks previous and much smaller that the January Disney World Marathon Weekend.

I finished picking up all of my race stuff and purchased some race themed merchandise by noon. After this went off to Epcot and the Food and Wine Festival to get my pre race meal in and listen to the first Eat to the Beat concert of the festival by Taylor Dayne.

Today is sleeping in, eating big breakfast, rest, a couple hours of park hopping, early dinner and a nap before getting on the bus to race start at 7:30 pm. The last bus leaves at 8:00 pm. It is NEVER a good idea to wait until the last bus because sometimes it doesn’t come and you could miss the race.

I will get a race report including post race activities out next week.