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Megan Biller and Princess Minnie

Megan Biller is THE Expert on Running & Walt Disney World!


Today I’m talking with Megan Biller about two of my favorite pastimes: running and visiting Walt Disney World!

In addition to the many (too many?) races that are run at Walt Disney World each year, there are lots of options available when it comes to running on property while you’re visiting for vacation any time of year.

Megan wasn’t a runner growing up, but she did develop a love for Walt Disney World in her younger days.

And that love for Disney didn’t waver as she’s grown up.

In fact, while visiting the parks for her honeymoon she remembers seeing folks wearing medals around their necks and realized that marathon weekend was the weekend prior to her visit.

And once she had started to get into running, she figured that if she was going to run she might as well run races at Walt Disney World!

And the rest is history!

Megan Biller During the Inaugural Dopey Challenge

Megan Biller During the Inaugural Dopey Challenge

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5 Reasons to Spectate a Race (with Video)

I’ve run about 20 half/full marathons so far, and yet one thing that I’ve never done is attended a race that I wasn’t running to support the runners.

As a runner that has always appreciated the spectators that have been at the races I’ve run, I have been feeling the need to cheer at a race for awhile now, and simply haven’t made it happen. But that all changed this weekend, when I got to experience the joys of cheerleading with my daughter while the wife ran the Princess Half Marathon.

I had a blast watching the race, and if you need a reason to spectate a race, press play to get my top 5.

If You’ve Been a Spectator at a Race Before, What Other Reasons Do You Enjoy Watching/Cheering a Full/Half Marathon?

What They Don’t Tell You About WDW Marathon Weekend

I can still remember back to 2010, the year I ran my first runDisney race–the full marathon during the WDW Marathon Weekend.

I remember going to the expo, feeling completely lost but eventually finding my way to get my bib and race shirt, before literally reading every word that was written about what to do on the morning of the race.

After running the race, however, I realized there were quite a few things that they didn’t tell me about making the most of out of the WDW Marathon Weekend and some of what they did say was complete BS.

I’m taking this year’s WDW Marathon Weekend off, but having run either the full or the half in each of the past 4 years, I’ve got a pretty good handle on what one needs to do in order to successfully navigate the expo, get to the starting line, finish the race, and enjoy the parks afterward.

If you’re running any of the WDW Marathon Weekend races this year, I hope this helps and that you have a great race.

And if you’re running the full on Sunday, there’s a pretty good chance I’ll be watching outside of the Studios. Look for the beard and make sure to say hi!


A Wine and Dine Chat

The Wine and Dine Half Marathon is coming up quick, and I for one, am super excited that the race will be here in just a few more weeks!

This race is easily my favorite runDisney event that I’ve run, and I look forward to the race every year. I’ve run the race every year that it has been in existence, and I’m looking forward to making it a perfect 5 for 5 this year.

Wine and Dine, Wine & Dine

Looking Forward to Another Wine and Dine Half!

What Makes the Wine and Dine Half Marathon Special

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2014 Walt Disney World Marathon

This past weekend I ran my 3rd Disney Marathon, which was my 5th full marathon overall.

There is a lot to love about runDisney events, but after running a handful of non-runDisney events (halves and fulls) I’ve come to learn that runDisney definitely leaves a few things to be desired as well.

The Good Stuff

  • The Bling–Disney events tend to feature some pretty nice finishers medals. This year was no different in my book. Big. Gawdy. Heavy. Love it.

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  • Characters on the Course–If you’re running in a Disney race, you’re going to see lots of characters out there to take pictures with, if you’re so inclined. Not only are Mickey and Minnie out there, but there are also a lot of characters out and about that aren’t regularly seen in the parks. This was my 8th runDisney event, and this was the first time I actually stopped to take a bunch of pictures. Great decision.

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  • Lots of Company–This is a double edged sword, because having lots of fellow runners means that the course can be a little crowded sometimes, and not all runners are familiar with proper runner etiquette. But after running a race in October where I was pretty much alone for 18 of the 26 miles, it was nice having some company from start to finish.

The Not-So-Good

  • Corral Placement is a Joke–On paper, putting runners in order by their projected finish time, and sending them out in waves is a good idea. runDisney fails when it comes to putting this idea into practice. Nothing against walkers or run/walkers, but they shouldn’t be in one of the first couple of corrals in a race this size. When they stop, and usually it’s more than one person at a time, it creates an instant road block. And since the course is crowded virtually the entire way, it can be a hassle to get around them. I don’t know how some people got into the corrals they did.
  • Lack of Guest Relations/Customer Service–For a company that is so focused on making guests happy, Disney dropped the ball when it comes to runner relations at the race expo. I have a friend that ran the race, her first full, and when she registered she didn’t have a qualifying time to give her a good corral placement. She was hoping for a sub-4:00 race, and ran a half in November in 1:50 and change, which should have placed her in one of the better corrals. runDisney, however, decided that November was too late in the year for a change in her corral placement to be changed on her bib, and for the first time that I’m aware of, they wouldn’t permit her to change her corral at the expo even though she had a verifiable qualifying time. She still managed to run 4:01 while weaving through, literally, 1000’s of slower runners that were able to get corral placements that my friend should have.
  • Post Race Food–I’m not going to blast runDisney over the price of the race, which is high, but I understand where the money goes. One place the money doesn’t go, however, is to the post race spread. I’ve been to races that cost $40-50 that have huge buffets, hot food, lots of drinks (read, free beer), and entertainment for all runners. Disney gives you, what amounts to, a poor-mans boxed lunch. We got a few bagged treats (corn chips, almond puffs, crasins), a banana, and a powerade. Spare no expense. (To be fair, all food items were gluten-free, which isn’t often the case concerning post-race foods, so I do really appreciate that thought from the race organizers.)

All in All

When it’s all said and done, I had a blast running this race.

Stopping for pictures with the characters was a first for me, and it really made all the difference. If you’re trying to run a race for a fast time, and don’t want to stop for pictures, you might want to try another option. But if you’re looking for a fun race to run, the Disney Marathon is a pretty good choice.

I doubt I’ll make the Disney full a regular event on my race schedule, even though I’ve run 3 of the last 4, but I’m leaning toward doing it again next year. I’m thinking about doing the Goofy Challenge next year, but that might be my last Disney full for awhile.

Anyone want to run it with me?

Have You Ever Run a runDisney Event? Did You Run in the Marathon Weekend This Year? What Were Your Thoughts of the Event?