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runDisney races fun for the whole family

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runDisney races fun for the whole family
The start of the runDisney Princess Half Marathon

The start of the runDisney Princess Half Marathon

I did it! A few weeks ago, I completed my first organized race at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World — the runDisney Princess Half Marathon.

Do I look tired? I just ran 13.1 miles in the Princess Half Marathon

Do I look tired? I just ran 13.1 miles in the Princess Half Marathon

It was a fabulous experience, and maybe I’m crazy for not trying a shorter race first — but I tend to throw myself into things when I set a goal.

Running through Epcot at Walt Disney World -- frizzed-out hair and all

Running through Epcot at Walt Disney World

(Sometimes good, sometimes not so good. Heh. But for the Princess Half Marathon, it was great!)

I followed the Disney Princess Half Marathon training program by Jeff Galloway, so I figured if I did what the program set up, I would be good to go. And I was.

I already knew the race was going to be fantastic because I know other women who had run the same race and told me about their experience. And when I told people that I had entered the Princess Half, sooo many of them told me they had done it too or knew someone else who was going. (There were 26,000 people in the race.)

And I knew the race would be amazing also because, last fall, I entered my kids in a runDisney kids’ race.

Kids can run races at runDisney events

Kids can run races at runDisney events. My 6-year-old is fast!

Each of my boys ran a short distance in his own age category. Mickey Mouse waited at the finish line to give all the runners a high-five (a high-glove?), and all the kids got a finisher medal.

Kids love the runDisney kids' races. My boys show off their finisher medals.

Kids love the runDisney kids' races. My boys show off their finisher medals.

What could be better than a salute from Mickey and your own medal?! It’s part of the Disney magic.

Even though my family has been to Walt Disney World dozens of times, before that kids’ race we had never experienced runDisney. We didn’t know that we were missing out!

Walt Disney World (and Disneyland in California) has races several times a year. There are the kids’ races, adult races and 5k (3.1-mile) family runs. runDisney races take place in or through the theme parks, or at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Walt Disney World. Organizers and spectators make sure everyone is pumped and has fun.

Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbossa greet runners on course at the Princess Half Marathon

Captain Jack Sparrow and Captain Barbossa greet runners on course at the Princess Half Marathon. Disney princesses, heroes, villains and other characters were also there at different stops.

I posed with Lightning McQueen on the course of the Princess Half Marathon. He told me there is more to racing than winning.

I posed with Lightning McQueen on the course of the Princess Half Marathon. He told me there is more to racing than winning.

In a couple months, my family will take part in the first family edition of the Expedition Everest obstacle course race. We’ll be racing as a team. We can’t wait!

If you like to challenge yourself or want to enjoy a different side of the Disney magic, consider making plans to enter a runDisney race if you haven’t already. When you make your travel plans, be sure you arrive in time to pick up your race packet — usually the day or two before the race. Also, it’s helpful to stay at a “host resort” of the race (check the race details on the runDisney site) to get bus transportation to the events.

Check out the details, prepare and train, and as runDisney official trainer Jeff Galloway says, “Enjoy every mile.”

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