After weeks of vague but promising posts on Instagram, runDisney made an exciting announcement this morning: races are back at Walt Disney World Resort, starting this fall!
runDisney is one of the most popular running series in the southeast and is certainly a staple “runcation” for many avid runners and weekend warriors alike. This spring, the Orlando area itself successfully put on a number of road races, and running enthusiasts have been keeping a close ear to Disney for progress towards this news for some time. So, let’s overview what it is we are talking about, as runDisney is one of the most sprawling branches of Disney World fandom.
runDisney is the name for the running events the Disney company puts on each year. In Walt Disney World, there are four weekends out of the year that host running events: Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, Star Wars Rival Run Weekend, and Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend. Each of these weekends is comprised of shorter races in addition to the eponymous one and is inundated with race-specific events and perks. A total of more than 150,000 people register for these events each year.
For those of you more on the “fun” end of the “fun run” spectrum, here are some metrics:
- 5k = 3.1 miles
- 10k = 6.2 miles
- Half Marathon = 13.1 miles
- Full Marathon = 26.2 miles
Here are the confirmed race events:
November 4 – 7, 2021 – Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend Powered by AfterShokz
- Wine & Dine 5k
- Wine & Dine 10k
- Wine & Dine Half Marathon
- Two Course Challenge (Complete both the 10k and Half Marathon; 19.3 miles total)
- Club runDisney Gold & Platinum Registration Opens July 6, 2021 at 10 AM EST.
- General Registration for In-Person Races Opens July 13, 2021 at 10 AM EST.
- General Registration for Virtual Races Opens July 16, 2021 at 10 AM EST.
January 5 – 9, 2022 – Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend
- Walt Disney World 5k
- Walt Disney World 10k
- Walt Disney World Half Marathon
- Walt Disney World Marathon
- Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge (Complete both the Half Marathon and Full Marathon; 39.3 miles total)
- Dopey Challenge (Complete each race; 48.6 miles total)
- Club runDisney Gold & Platinum Registration Opens July 20, 2021 at 10 AM EST.
- General Registration for In-Person Races Opens July 27, 2021 at 10 AM EST.
- General Registration for Virtual Races Opens July 30, 2021 at 10 AM EST.
February 24 – 27, 2022 – Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend
- Disney Princess 5k
- Disney Princess 10k
- Disney Princess Half Marathon
- Disney Fairy Tale Challenge (Complete both the 10k and Half Marathon; 19.3 miles total)
- Club runDisney Gold & Platinum Registration Opens August 17, 2021 at 10 AM EST.
- General Registration for In-Person Races Opens August 24, 2021 at 10 AM EST.
- General Registration for Virtual Races Opens August 27, 2021 at 10 AM EST.
March 31 – April 3, 2022 – runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend presented by Otterbox
Event specifications and registration windows not yet announced.
- All races will have a virtual option, allowing runners from all over the world to participate in the races.
- The introduction of runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend. The fourth weekend of each race season will be the runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend. This event will host various theming and distances each year.
- A huge draw of the runDisney events is the exclusive merchandise at weekend expos.
- runDisney Kids Races will now be runDisney Kids Adventures, promoting general health and well-being to younger runners.
- The theme for Disney Wine & Dine is “Wickedly Delicious,” while the theme for the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend will be in line with 50th anniversary motifs. The Disney Princess Half Marathon will base its theming on the “courage and kindness” the Disney princesses demonstrate time and time again.
Throughout the pandemic, Disney did their best to meet the needs of their loyal running community by creating new, exclusive virtual events in tandem with transitioning their well-established races to a virtual platform. This summer, runners could sign up for the runDisney Virtual Series: Celebrating The Lion King, which gave participants unique medals that will likely go down as some of the most notable memorabilia from this covid-specific era of runDisney’s history.
Walt Disney World hosted its inaugural race in 1994 with Disneyland following the year after, and since then the running events have grown exponentially in popularity and scope. For example, Disneyland Paris hosts a race weekend annually, and the Castaway Cay Challenge is available only to those on Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay.
No word yet on if RunningUniversal will follow in Disney’s footsteps, or if the runDisney events at Disneyland and Disneyland Paris will happen. We’ll update you with more news as we have it, but we hope this news put as much pep in your step as it did ours!
What do you think of this update? Let us – and thousands of other Disney fans – know in our Orlando Informer Community on Facebook.