runDisney – First Timer – Race Arrival
If you have seen my The Dark Side Half Marathon 2018 article, you know that as a first time runner, I recently participated in a runDisney event. I learned a lot about the in/outs of how these events work, although I am sure that I don’t know everything, but I wanted to share what I did learn about the registration process.
If you want to know more about how to get started see my runDisney – First Time Participant Getting Started article, or what to expect during pre-race preparation see my runDisney – First Time Participant Pre-Race article.
Just as a side note, because they deserve it, the staff at the runDisney event was awesome.
From the Disney employees to numerous volunteers that were everywhere, they were all awesome.
Someone might wonder how Disney is able to pull off such a monumental event like three or four races over a three or four day time span, between the race bib distribution, the shirts, the race morning, handing out water during the race, handing out medals, water, and snacks after the race, the volunteers do so much and do it with a smile without hesitation.
To all the volunteers, THANK YOU!
We didn’t stay at a Disney Resort, although if you do, they have free transportation to and from the race start from any of the Disney resort. As race participants coming in a car, we wanted to make sure that we arrived to the race start on time, so we tried to make sure that we arrived about 45-60 minutes before the race would start. The traffic at the park was moving pretty smooth, so we were able to make it from our hotel at Disney Springs to Epcot (the starting line) in about 10 minutes, then it only took us about 10 minutes to get a parking spot and lastly about 10 minutes to walk over to the starting line area where the corrals were.
So, all in all, it only took us about 30 minutes from the hotel to corral and given that we left at 4:30 AM we were ready at 5:00 AM, about a half an hour too early.
As I listened to all the moans and groans about why I got them to the race so early, and how they could have slept in for another 15-30 minutes, I was also trying to figure out the corral system. There were balloons with the letters A, B, C, D, E and F all lined up along one side. When you look at your race bib you are going to see a letter, this is your corral assignment.
NOTE: When registering, if you want all of your family to run together, register them all at the same time and with the same minutes/mile rate. This will help to make sure that you are in the same corral at the start. Don’t worry about the time.
I can tell you how many “A” corral people I passed? Too many to count. Just because someone is in the “A” corral does not mean that they are fast, it appeared to me, that some people put low running times to get into the “A” corral so they can do more of the photo stops and take pictures, all along the race path. By putting themselves in the “A” corral, they headed out almost 30 minutes before I did in the “D” corral.
Once we figured out the corral system, I noticed that my wife and two of my daughters were in the same corral (corral E), my youngest daughter was in a corral by herself (corral D) and I was in a corral by myself (corral C). There was no way I was going to let my 10 year old daughter run her first race by herself, and I knew that she was more athletic than the other group, so I decided to take her with me,
NOTE: If you have a family member that you want to run with, but they are in a lower (A is the highest, F was the lowest) corral, you can always go down, but they can’t come up. So in this case, I could go run with my daughter in the D corral, but she wasn’t able to come with me to the C corral.
WARNING: There are A LOT of racers at these events. if you are a serious runner or plan to actually run the entire race, or trying to set a personal best, get into the “A” corral and arrive early to get in the front of the corral.
Otherwise, you will get bogged down in the masses of racers on the course.