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A Royal Meet-Up

by Meghann on February 24, 2012

What an awesome morning with the gang at RunDisney!

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I’m just putting this out there – I’m a huge fan of RunDisney. I think they put on awesome races and they’re great at creating magical memories at all of their events.

Something I’ve known about RunDisney – but have never taken advantage of – are the meet-ups they host with Jeff Galloway before all of their major races. The meet-ups are announced on the Disney Parks Blog (which I’m a faithful follower of) the week or two before race day and are open to the first XX amount of people who respond to the call out. In years past, they usually cap at 50, but they upped it to 100 for the Princess Half Meet-Up.

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The meet-ups are open to anyone who responds before the cap is reached (with a minimum requirement of being able to hold at least a 12:30 pace), are completely FREE, and include a free RunDisney shirt, 2 mile run with Jeff Galloway, and breakfast.

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This morning’s Princess Half Meet-Up started at 7:00am at Epcot. We were shuttled to the park entrance, provided a waiver to sign, and handed a goody bag with our RunDisney shirt and a Fitness Magazine. The large plastic bag also served as a ‘checked bag’ for the short run.

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Aren’t the cute shirts? They’re so soft too!

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The large group gathered in front of the Epcot ball and were divided into two groups of runners.

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We had the option of running with Jeff Galloway using the Galloway or running with Olympian runner Suzy Favor Hamilton, Disneyland Half Marathon champion Rachel Booth, and Fitness Magazine editor-in-chief Betty Wong at a slightly faster non-stop pace.

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Though I would have loved to run with Jeff Galloway, his group was a little overwhelming. Besides, running with an Olympian and a half marathon champion is kind of amazing.

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The run was just a short two-mile loop around Epcot. I was expecting an ‘easy’ pace, but our group took off! I wasn’t wearing my Garmin so I don’t know the exact pace, but it was QUICK.

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It was fun to run around the park with our small group before any of the guests had arrived and we got to enjoy a few surprises along the way.

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Two miles later, we ended the run in Germany.

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Just as we were entering the restaurant for breakfast, I found Rachel Booth and had a chance to chat with her a bit. She’s a fellow FSU alum (GO NOLES!) and a mom to a 4 year old and a 6 year old. How does she plan to spend her time before her big race on Sunday? Seeing the parks with her kids! She recently WON the Disney Half Marathon in September (her second year in a row!) and if she wins on Sunday, she will be the first back-to-back for champion. Go Rachel, Go!

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RunDisney provide a continental breakfast spread to all meet-up participants.

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There were plenty of fresh fruit, pastries, bagels, and coffee for everyone.

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My plates – lots of fruit with yogurt and half a bagel with strawberry preserves and orange marmalade.

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They also provided princess crowns! I love how they were adult size and not children’s size – a size that’s almost impossible to find in the stores!

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While eating breakfast I finally had a chance to say hi to Jeff Galloway. He’s such a sweet guy in person and wished everyone luck at the big race.

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Jeff actually gave us a great pep talk for Sunday. He told us to race the best race for us and not for anyone else. It’s our race – not our neighbors. I liked that.

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Rachel was up next and gave her best pointers for prepping for race day, like starting to hydrate NOW and to not shock our systems with crazy food for the next couple of days.

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Suzy Favor Hamilton went last and I loved her crazy, spunky personality. She started off seriously with her new partnership with Lady’s Foot Locker and her run club’s philosophy of empowering women out of depression (such a great cause – more info can be found at www.suzyfavorhamilton.com), then got silly with a group dance to Firework by Katy Perry.

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The festivities ended with a royal meet and greet.

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The RunDisney Princess Half Marathon Meet-Up was so much fun! And I love that it’s all free and open to anyone who wants to join in on the fun. I’ll definitely be stalking the Disney Parks Blog for the next one before the Wine and Dine Half in November!

Oh, and I have to give a shout to the my Droid Razer that I’ve been testing out for Verizon this month (full disclosure: I’m an ambassador and they sent me the phone for free).

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Verizon is the official cellphone coverage provider of Walt Disney World and I can definitely tell there’s a link when I’m in the parks. Everyone’s phones were having problems with their service at Epcot this morning (including my Sprint phone), except for the Verizon users. My phone had full bars the entire time and had no problems uploading photos to twitter.

So – FYI – Verizon service ROCKS at Walt Disney World.

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