Marathon Weekend

Inside a week for the Dopey Challenge! I’ve got my park and dining plans, but/and have noticed that the races are not sold out, even one week ahead (first time I’ve seen this in 15 years of running the weekend). Is this predicting lower crowds for some reason? I’ve been assuming the moderate/medium crowds of the last 10 years or so (vs. the early years great low crowd years) but maybe I’m letting hope overcome reality?! I’m ready to go more ambitious on the planning if we are expecting reduced marathon crowds, but I don’t want to change my reasonable approach just yet.


IDK, I think some regulars are feeling burned by the last 2 years (storms cancelling the half, super frigid cold) and I feel like it being a non-anniversary for Dopey and Mickey are non-enticing for the big-time runners.

Are you doing the full dopey? I’ve been trying to compile a list of runners for next week.

I will be there: I did the first 10 Goofies 2006-2015 (with the informal Dopey 2007-2013 by doing the 5K with DD as well), the inaugural Dopey in 2014, then took time off. But I felt the itch, and I’m doing the Dopey and the Castaway Cay Challenge for 2019. Hopefully 51.7 miles and 8 medals will scratch the itch for good, but it could just remind me how much I love Marathon Weekend. I remember sleet for the 2006 Half and frozen cups of water at the water stops at the Marathon that year. But still, I kept coming back.

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I have a question that might sound condescending but is serious. I’ve run 20 marathons but cannot figure out why people think the Disney marathon is a good one. Logistics and time of the event seem awful. The various “challenges” and medals seem like gimmicks oriented towards the less serious runner. Is it only for Disney fanatics? Can someone help me understand?

I’m only a novice runner but for me it’s a challenge that’s offered no where else and I want to say I’ve done it. It probably helps that I do love Disney!! How many people can say they’ve run 4 races in 4 days? For me Disney is a bonus… but a big happy bonus!!!

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First, of course it is because one loves Disney. But it is also a great winter target marathon to keep you getting up in the cold dark winter mornings to keep the training up for spring marathons. I’ve run 41 marathons (10 of them Disney) and having that January commitment on the calendar keeps me in line. And of course the challenges are a gimmick and a way to get you to spend more money! But I also used them as the base for training to run ultras (50Ks and 50-milers) – running successive endurance races helped me build both physical endurance and mental attitude to do 12 hour trail runs. After getting up 4 days in a row at 3:30am for a 5:30am start time and 48.6 miles in under 48 hours, running 50 miles on trails is, well not easy, but doable. And no marathon is better organized, in my experience, not even Marine Corps (and U.S. Marines know what they are doing on organizing major operations). Last, Disney is not a good one for speed. I know some people try to (and do) qualify for Boston at Disney, but I think the course is not very amenable to PRs. So if you want to race a marathon, then it would not be the right one. But for the love of running, and Disney, its great.


@DumboRunner Well said!


Thanks for your insight.

Is Disney not a flat course and good for fast times?

it is nearly flat, and if you’re in a BQ-range corral, it’s not bad.

If you’re further back, several of the areas get rather crowded, and if you’re in the last couple of corrals, some spots are so densely packed that walking is your only option.

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Most of it is flat, but those on-and-off ramps make it quasi-hilly now and then. But its more the in-and-outs of the parks and navigating the narrower spaces in the parks that slow it down, I think. Especially for epically clumsy people like me who would trip over a glass slipper if it was left outside the castle.

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This is a dream/goal of mine to run Marathon weekend. I used to run half marathons a lot but have not in about 5 years now. I look forward to hearing all about it.

You are not being condescending at all. You are right in saying that this is an awful marathon for either seasoned or inexperienced runners alike. It is expensive, the organization is not that great, it is a pain to get to the starting point, there are lots of n00bs, and it is boring. Miles and miles of empty back roads.

Having said that, I’m running the Princess Half and the Rival Run this year but I do it because the medals are cool.

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Re-upping this for MouseGirl42 to track those who will be at the Marathon weekend – I hope we answered Qs for those who are skeptics and won’t be there! I’m undeterred by the updated and daunting crowd level reports – those of us running probably weren’t planning on max touring anyway. And the weather is looking perfect for race start conditions (OK, I just jinxed it).