Once plans had been finalized to have Cody run the Walt Disney World Marathon this month, I looked into all the additional events and activities available over the weekend so we could really experience everything Walt Disney World Marathon weekend has to offer. With over 25,000 coming to run just the marathon, runDisney has found a way to include everyone and stretch the festivities out over several days.
In our house it’s just understood that you work out. Cody goes to the gym regularly (although THANK HEAVENS he is finally done with marathon training for a couple of months), Addie goes to gymnastics twice a week and Vivi attends an open play gym each week. When we go to the gym, the girls come with us. They know it’s a part of our weekly routine and if you ask Vivi what people do at the gym she’ll pump her arms up and down and say “JOGGIN’!” We regularly have races with start stances, not because we’re attempting to train future track and field athletes, but because racing with Vivi is one of the ONLY ways to make her keep up or speed up when we’re out and about.
When I saw that kids races were a part of the festivities for the week I signed both girls up without hesitation. Registration was cheap (under $30) and I knew it would include a lot of special experiences only Disney could offer. Vivi was put in the 100 meter dash group with all of her 3 and under friends. Each kid got a shirt and, if you signed up in time, a bib with their name on it. Parents could race with their littles or cheer them on from the side (there was staff at the end that checked a parent tag against the child’s bib number.) There were three waves of the 100 meter dash and each wave had about 30 kids (although it was hard to tell with all the parents mixed in.) Cody decided to trot along with Vivi while Addie and I waited at the finish line.
Here’s what was fun about the race — they had music, they had announcers, and the thing that made Vivi run the fastest? Mickey at the finish line. (It was her first time seeing a Disney character and Mickey is her favorite.) Upon completion she received a sweet medal, not some dinky ribbon like Addie has received from other kids races. On her way out she was even allowed an assortment of treats and food, just like real marathon runners. She chose some Monsters University fruit snacks and you could tell between running, the medal, Mickey and fruit snacks her day was made.
I mean, this overpriced photo sums up the entire three minutes perfectly, THE SHEER JOY!
We arrived on Wednesday and both girls participated in races on Thursday, I figured it would be easier to have them run in the first available races before they realized what they were missing out on in the rest of Disney World and before everyone was tired and cranky after a few days in the parks. My plan worked perfectly.
Races were held Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, where most of the pre-race action is (registration, expo and classes.) Free shuttles ran regularly from all Disney hotels (which was so nice) and there was ample parking on the days we were there (things became much more hairy as the half marathon and full marathon approached however. Many signs warned of using the shuttles or expect massive delays on race days.)
Not even 3 and she already has her first medal from her first race — I’m so glad I signed them up. It was a perfect thing to do so both girls could relate to why we were really there.