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Back on the Table

by Meghann on May 17, 2012

And just when I talked myself out of running the 20th Anniversary Walt Disney Marathon… this happens.

Gulp. They sure know how to reel a girl back in.

The Walt Disney Marathon is an insanely popular marathon that takes you around the Walt Disney Resort property and is the only RunDisney race where you run through all 4 theme parks. I’ve run the full marathon (plus a couple of Disney Princess Half Marathons and a 10k) and can attest that, yes, running through the parks is AMAZING. However, all of the parks combined comes to a total of roughly 6 miles of the course. The marathon is 26.2 miles. It’s not hard to do the math – that’s a LOT of miles where you’re running the back roads of Disney property and are not in a park.

Disney does a great job filling in the extended gaps with entertainment, volunteers, and even fun behind-the-scences sneak peeks at what makes Disney work (like taking the course past the first department, water plants, etc.), but even I’ll admit it gets pretty boring. The very long stretches between the start and Magic Kingdom and Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom were particularly the worst. Miles and miles of nothin’.


It was the long patches of nothingness that have turned a lot of people away from the Disney marathon, or stopped them from returning. I get it – marathons are tough, and miles of just open road and trees surely doesn’t help. However, the course had been that way for YEARS and that’s just the way it was.

Until now.

WDW 13 Course Map Vert.jpg

Looks like for their 20th Anniversary, RunDisney decided to step it up and make a few changes to the course. The changes are very significant because it means less miles between things of interest (and less increments on backroads), and more time running by cool things. It makes me wonder why they didn’t do this sooner?

Here’s a couple of key points to the course:

  • Runners will head straight to Magic Kingdom and reach Cinderella’s castle about 5 miles sooner than before.
  • Runners will complete half a lap of the speedway as part of the course.
  • Runners will run around the Wide World of Sports complex, including a lap on the baseball field

The start and finish locations are still the same and the paths through each of the parks are still the same (though I was hoping for an extended loop into the new Fantasyland). It looks like the largest part taken away was the wrap around Epcot at the start of the race, everything else was just an added addition. They simply broke up the runs on the backroads with new experiences to keep runners interested. Genius.

Something else I noticed. RunDisney has been advertising a “big surprise” at mile 20 for the 20th anniversary race, which has been highlighted on the map below in the space between mile 19 and 20.

Screen shot 2012-05-17 at 2.31.28 PM.png

Do you see the side-map that illustrates the defined path around the Wide World of Sports from 19 through 20?

Screen shot 2012-05-17 at 2.31.48 PM.png

Looks like that the “big surprise” is about the same time runners will be circling the baseball field. Hmm…. interesting. Very interesting. I wonder what it is?

I wasn’t expecting this at all. Way to go RunDisney for keeping us on our toes. I’d given up the idea of running the full marathon since it’s a week after my wedding and I wasn’t sure I could train for it, but now I’m torn. Especially since my sister (who swore up and down she would never run the Disney full marathon again), just texted me and said she was “thinking about it.” Like I said, well done Disney, way to make a couple of runners who weren’t interested, suddenly interested. That new course is tempting. Very tempting.

So now the Disney Marathon has been put back on the list as a “maybe” for 2013. I’m still not sold, but I’m definitely considering it. It doesn’t take much to win me back. πŸ™‚

What are your thoughts on the new Walt Disney World Marathon course?

You know you’re a runner when you get THAT excited about a marathon course. Ha! To be fair, Derek goes off on the same tangents when a new iPhone release has been made. He gave me the same blank stare about the marathon stuff as I gave him about the iPhone stuff. At least we each have hobbies. πŸ™‚

Lunch today was a bowl of random odds and ends from the fridge.


I reheated a leftover baked sweet potato with hummus and cheese, then topped it with olives and leftover roasted cauliflower.


Say what you will, this dish was good. I’m not sure I’ve had hummus on a baked sweet potato before, but it works. I think hummus works on everything – it’s the universal condiment.

Psstt… New Wedding Post!! Bridesmaids and boots!


1 Krissy @ Shiawase Life May 17, 2012 at 2:47 pm

I’m already registered so you know I was STOKED to read this! My first WDW full. πŸ™‚
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2 Katie @ Creature of Habit May 17, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Omg I totally want to get my butt down to Florida to run that. I need to check out other RunDisney things since I live spitting distance from Disneyland.

And yes, hummus goes with absolutely anything! Sometimes the grossest combos are the best in the end, too.

3 Carissa May 17, 2012 at 2:48 pm

I thrilled for the new course. And I have NO idea…honestly..what the surprise is…although I work for Disney. But if it’s close to the ballpark it may be something fun with the jumbotron there like they do at DisneyLand?

I love ESPN Wide World of Sports – it’s been my home for 10 years!
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4 Beth @ 990 Square May 17, 2012 at 2:49 pm

I’m in. I was pretty sure I was in before, but now I’m positive!
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5 Kinley @ Better Off Barefoot May 17, 2012 at 3:10 pm

I had already signed up for this but now I am THAT much more excited! Plus we are staying in the Little Mermaid rooms in the new hotel… I don’t want to rush the year but I do want to be back in Disney! They are tricky at getting people lured back in, that is for sure! Especially since I said I was done with Disney races after the 1/2 in January but within two weeks was wanting to be back πŸ™‚
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6 Diane @ DixieJulep May 17, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Wow, this sounds seriously amazing! I’ve been pretty determined that I’m not doing my first full until my son is a little bit older (and I have a little more time to rest up for long runs), but dang, they certainly do make it sound like fun!
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7 Annette @FitnessPerks May 17, 2012 at 3:26 pm

WOW. Sounds very cool! If I lived somewhat nearby I would totally consider doing it!!
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8 Katie @ Peace Love and Oats May 17, 2012 at 3:29 pm

I also heard from a girl I know that the course is really boring, so if I ever get to do a Disney run I think I’ll stick to a half!
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9 Lindsay @ Running the Windy City May 17, 2012 at 3:38 pm

I’m doing the Goofy challenge and the half will be my first Disney run ever!! I’m excited about the marathon course change because I get bored easily and was worried how I’d do running on long stretches of highway
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10 Cait's Plate May 17, 2012 at 3:41 pm

I think that lunch looks incredible (is that bowl from Target?) – hummus + roasted veggies is the BEST combo!
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11 Kristen @ notsodomesticated May 17, 2012 at 3:52 pm

Very interesting. I would love to do the Disney Marathon … I think I might have to try to convince my hubby to run it with me. πŸ˜‰
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12 Elizabeth May 17, 2012 at 3:53 pm

I am running disney and super pumped!!!! Now even more bc of the course!!

13 Heather May 17, 2012 at 3:58 pm

I really want to run this race, especially with the new course, but right now it doesn’t look like we are going to be able to swing it. We are also working on some other goals that don’t mix well with marathon training. I am keeping my eye on race and may end up doing it after all.
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14 Hayley @ Running Down the Runway May 17, 2012 at 4:08 pm

One of my favorite simple snacks is microwaving a sweet potato and topping it with TJ’s three layer hummus- so delicious!
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15 Kelly May 17, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Now I really want to run it! Pretty excited for the new course.

16 abbi May 17, 2012 at 4:22 pm

I would love to run this and it’s always been on my list…I have no idea why though, I’m not really a Disney person and it will be hard to try to explain to my husband why I’d want to go there when we’ve declined 2 trips with his side of family over the past two years…maybe I can convince them to go in January and then spring the whole marathon thing on them…hmm…probably not! πŸ™‚
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17 Paula @ Eat: Watch: Run May 17, 2012 at 4:34 pm

I’ve only run Wine and Dine and it was SOOO crowded that I said I’d never do another Disney race. Then I registered for the Tower of Terror 10 miler, so that’s out the window.
I think the only thing that interests me about the Disney marathon is it’s the only one so close to home. Like, finally a race I don’t have to freakin’ travel for, ya know? Ok, and that mile 20 has me interested. πŸ™‚

18 Meghann May 17, 2012 at 4:36 pm

I wanted to run Tower of Terror, but the USF/FSU game is the same week. Damn you, football!

19 Sandy May 17, 2012 at 4:36 pm

You are making me want to run it now!! I have never ran the Walt Disney World Marathon and wanted to get that Coast to Coast medal. Maybe this is the time to do it!!

20 Krissy @ Shiawase Life May 17, 2012 at 4:54 pm

The Coast to Coast is definitely a good reason to do it πŸ™‚
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21 Beth May 17, 2012 at 5:05 pm

I registered for WDW marathon #3 on the day registration opened, and I was hoping for a little more Fantasyland action, myself, but I think this might be better! Soooooo excited! As I posted when I shared the video of the new course on Facebook: Eeeeeeeeeeeep! πŸ™‚

22 Allison May 17, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Thats awesome that they changed the route. My friend ran it two years ago and told me that she heard that Disney received alot of complaints re the course and there was a rumor that it was going to change. I was thinking about doing Disney as my first marathon but now that they changed the route plus a 20 mile spetcular looks like I’ll be running Disney as my first!

23 Alyssa (pb and oatmeal) May 17, 2012 at 7:03 pm

No matter what the route, that’s still pretty awesome!
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24 Michelle May 17, 2012 at 7:09 pm

I still think it looks really boring. Maybe if it didn’t cost twice as much as other races that are twice as interesting and less crowded I would be more intrigued! I know I technically could save money by racing here — but the Jacksonville Bank Marathon is only an hour and a half away and costs $80 on RACE DAY! Disney kills me with their prices.

I DO plan on volunteering at the Disney Marathon – so if you race it, I will most definitely be cheering you on!
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25 Heather May 17, 2012 at 8:04 pm

I am already signed up for Goofy. πŸ™‚
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26 Meghan @ Run With Meg May 17, 2012 at 8:51 pm

The route was always why I was not interested in signing up for the Disney Marathon…now I’m tempted.
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27 cathy@1970kikiproject May 17, 2012 at 9:03 pm

i hope you decide to go for it!!!
i am signed up for the goofy, first time i will be doing the disney marathon, so i would be pretty excited regardless of the course changes! that being said, the inclusion of the wide world of sports complex makes me pretty excited!
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28 Briana May 17, 2012 at 9:04 pm

IM running it, too! It will be my first time! I registered as soon as registration opened. I’ve heard mixed reviews, some people I know hated it, some loved it…we’ll see! So exciting that you’re running too!
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29 Dominique May 17, 2012 at 10:49 pm

OMG so funny you posted about this today because I am absolutely contemplating this race, as a super huge Disney fan! I have a rough few weeks coming up, so I’ll have to see during the summer how I’m feeling, and it I want to spend the money going there, but I think it could be fun! And my husband has never been to Disney, so there’s another reason right there πŸ˜‰ can’t wait to read about what you decide! Thanks for the insider view on Disney πŸ™‚
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30 Shannon @ A Pinch of Ginger May 18, 2012 at 6:59 am

Oh man now after watching that video I’m itching to run the full haha. I ran the half 2 years ago and really enjoyed it but was always weary of the full because of the amount of service roads involved. Looks like I might be making a trip to Disney hahah

Besides, after Savannah last year, nothing feels as desolate as that course…right?
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31 Emily N May 18, 2012 at 9:15 am

One of my coworkers and I were chatting about this yesterday. I actually just forwarded her this post, because she was thinking about all of the twists and turns in the WWS, and kind of uncomfortable with them, maybe you are on to something!
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32 Stephanie @ My Freckled Life May 18, 2012 at 9:19 am

I just saw this come out yesterday too! It definitely looks intriguing. I’m signed up for the half marathon (it’s just after my wedding and I know there is ZERO chance a full is going to happen), but the course definitely looks awesome!
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33 Cait @ Cait Strides May 18, 2012 at 12:24 pm

I am definitely running the Disney Marathon this year. I checked out the course last night and I’m really excited about it. I like the idea of hitting the castle earlier, that way we’ll all look far less disheveled for the all-important in-front-of-the-castle photo op! Priorities here.
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34 Hemarie @ I Sweat Pretty May 18, 2012 at 6:15 pm

It’s tempting… and I *do* like the perks of access to the park restrooms while running. But those shadeless highways were so brutal during my first marathon. I’m going to keep thinking about it, but I’m still leaning towards ING Miami instead. Now that’s a crowd. πŸ™‚
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35 Bill Dowis May 19, 2012 at 9:08 am

I ran the Disney Marathon for the first time last year and this year I am doing the Goofy Challenge. The miles of “nothing” did not bother me too much because most marathons have “miles of nothing.” It is hard to fill 26.2 miles with entertainment, but it looks like Disney is doing a good job with it this year.

I am a little worried about the congestion factor on the speedway and in Wide World of Sports though. By then crowds may be thinned out, but I can see people bunching up there.

I can’t wait for January!
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36 Meghann May 19, 2012 at 11:25 am

Totally agree with you! I’ve run plenty of marathons that took me out on highways or interstates for miles on end. I’ve run the Disney Full only once in ’10. I started in the first corral, where there wasn’t any issue with crowds. BUT I’ve also run the princess half marathons for fun in later corrals that were super dense and crowded.

37 Christine May 20, 2012 at 7:14 pm

The new race course has me reconsidering the race too!! Watching that cute video got me all excited!

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