Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Princess Half-Marathon 2016 Recap

Welcome to part 2 of this royal weekend! You can read about the Enchanted 10k and our first day here. A few facts about the runDisney Princess Half-Marathon. It is by far one of the most popular races in the country, there will be lots of crowds, plenty of runners and walkers, and one of the best times you will have on a race weekend! On that note, let's get to the start.

During race weekend I usually always opt for the challenges, I figure if I'm there then why not do both races? The Glass Slipper Challenge requires you to complete the 10k (6.1 miles) on Saturday followed by the half (13.1 miles) on Sunday for an exciting 19.2 mile journey. The morning started early as I *tried* to get ready quietly so I wouldn't wake everyone up in the room, but hey if you are going full costume then you need a few extra minutes! I chose Pocahontas as princess of choice this year complete with long, dark hair. I mean who has heard of a blonde Pocahontas? Going for accuracy here. Just like that cartoon Disney made (lol).   

My legs felt tired but better than expected. I was in the mode of wanting to get done so we could go back out to the parks before our flight. And maybe I really wanted a Dole Whip aka pineapple soft serve sold in Adeventureland at Magic Kingdom. My strategy was to have fun, follow my intervals and just enjoy my time on the course. After the first few waves, our corral was off!

This course is the same as the WDW Half that is held in January but overall I really like it. After you've done it a few times you kind of know the course and you can gage where you are. Lots of character stops the first few miles, one that everyone wants is the cast of Disney Princes including Hercules, Prince Eric, and Finn among others. It is a very popular stop but a fun one! I've gotten it the past couple of years and I would have stopped this time but the wait was super long so I opted out.  Soon we were going towards Magic Kingdom!

Another photo opp that is very fun and popular is Jack and Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas, they are usually about half a mile from this point on the right hand side so be on the lookout! You can feel the excitement as you begin to approach the Castle, this really is the moment you've been waiting for!

You enter the Magic Kingdom a little after the Mile 5 marker and my one advice is to have fun in this section. This is where the money is and why most of you paid to do this. This is the best part of the course and it's so inspiring to see all these people experiencing a dream coming true, there might even be a tear or two. You will see some exciting friends as you enter the castle...

Of course you need the castle pic!
Again I noticed the character stops were very long and I like them but it's not that big of a deal to me. I would rather just go ahead and finish to collect the bling. You can still make your own photo opps throughout the park even without the characters. I was trying to get a historically accurate shot of Pocahontas here.

Then like that you are out of the park and back on the roads. The bad news? The course is a tad boring in this section although there were more character stops than usual I noticed. The good news? You are over half-way done and you are headed to Epcot! The sun was beginning to shine and yes, the wig was hot on my head but luckily it was still pretty early in the day. I loved the feeling of sunshine after a cool morning!

The next few miles are kind of a blur, I hate miles 8 and 9 since you are so close to being done yet it still feels a little far. There is an overpass that leads you to Epcot that seems like it goes on forever but soon you see the end and are entering the park! The day was beautiful and during this moment I just felt so happy to be running and thankful I'm able to do something like this. I'm not going to lie the end of these races can get emotional!

The Fairy Godmother was moving everyone along with encouragement so I decided for a pic. My wig looks so crazy bad but I think it's really funny since it's clearly about to fall off. Hey, it lasted 13 miles though!

Lots of people's favorite moment is the Gospel choir that awaits you right before you turn to the finish line. I love this! A really, unique runDisney tradition. Praises we are finished! When you see them you know you are done.

After you finish the race your medals are placed around your neck and everyone takes a celebratory selfie haha jk but actually most people do so maybe not really jk? You must have your Glass Slipper Bib on as well as your picture on file (taken at expo during bib pick up) or a wristband (given to you at race day pick up) to collect your additional Glass Slipper medal. Remember this! Also, you must register for the challenge. You can't sign up for each race individually, even if you do both if you are not registered for the challenge you will not receive the extra medal! 
Hopping on the bus back to the hotel was a breeze and soon after a quick shower we were back at the park and yes, I got my Dole Whip. The hours flew by and soon it was time to head to the airport and back home. A fantastic two day trip was in the books!

Overall, I would highly recommend the Princess Half-Marathon! It is a fun weekend to do as a group, a family or even a girls weekend trip! It is all about the ladies, pink and sparkles so if that's not your cup of tea then it might not be for you but personally I think it's a great race for everyone! Beautiful medals, a flat and easy course, and you get to run through the castle. What's not to like?

Some will say it is overcrowded and yes at times it can be. My strongest advice to avoid this? Submit a good proof of time! Make a 10k or half your goal race to hit a certain number so you have a great time to submit to runDisney. If you do not submit any proof of time then you will automatically be placed in the last corral. There are lots of corrals like they extend from letter A to letter P. Keep up with the submission date and have your proof of time submitted by that day. No changes can be made at the expo or after the proof of time date has passed. RunDisney will not make changes so get that time in!

If you have always wanted to run a race then runDisney is the perfect first race, you can get the details on the Princess Half as well as all the other races at Walt Disney World and Disneyland right here!

Hope you enjoyed this recap and happy running!


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