The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend has become one of the biggest events to hit the resort each year. From the Disney Kids’ Races to the Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge, there are events scheduled for about every age group. Just as most runDisney events go thru some annual tweaking, the 2012 WDW Marathon Weekend is no exception. This coming year’s event will host a whole new event, the Walt Disney World Marathon Relay. On Sunday, January 8, 2012, the inaugural event will split the Walt Disney World Marathon course between a 2-person relay team so that each person runs a half marathon (13.1 miles). With a new event, a new medal is in order as well. The scheming chipmunks, Chip and Dale, will team up to host this new relay event. So, it’ s only fitting that their faces will be emblazoned upon the finishers’ medals.
Starting at the same time and place as the Walt Disney World Full Marathon, the relay is essentially the full marathon broken up into two pieces. Runner 1 will start the race at Epcot, follow the course to the Magic Kingdom and finish the leg outside the Magic Kingdom in a transition area set-up in the Pluto Parking Lot. Runner 1 will have his/her own “finish line experience” at this transition area. At this point, runner 2 continues on with the second half of the marathon course. From this exchange zone, the course finds its way to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and finally Epcot with the finish line being just outside the Epcot gates. After runner 2 finishes, both runners will be reunited and be able to experience the thrill of finishing as a team.
Having done two marathon relays outside of Walt Disney World myself, I have found marathon relays to have some pluses and some minuses. My first marathon relay was in 2000 when I did the second leg of the Columbus Marathon with my mother-in-law. I had never done a half marathon before, so having her there as support really helped motivate me. My second marathon relay was actually just last year for the Knoxville Marathon. It was a 4-leg relay team and all my team mates had finished the Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge that year with me. Not surprisingly, we were the Goofy Team. In that race, I started the race off with a 6 mile leg which wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be with the nice hills that Knoxville so graciously donated.
With both of these races, there were two major differences with them and the WDW Marathon Relay. One difference was that no transportation was provided in Columbus or Knoxville. It was up to the runners to find themselves at the exchange zones and the finish line. With the WDW Marathon Relay, all transportation for runner 1 and 2 is provided to and from the exchange zones and to the finish line. The second difference between the Columbus and Knoxville relays and the WDW Marathon Relay is the price difference. Granted Columbus was a long time ago, both of the local races were substantially cheaper than the WDW Marathon Relay (which is usually the case with just about any race). However, the price per person for doing the relay in Columbus and Knoxville was much cheaper than doing the whole marathon. The price per person to do the WDW Marathon Relay is exactly the same price as someone doing the Full Marathon or the Half Marathon. With the new three tier pricing for the WDW Marathon Weekend, the registration date will affect the amount that you pay to do the race with the earliest times being the cheapest (incentive to register early). For instance, if you register prior to April 24, 2011, the price of the Full Marathon and Half Marathon is $140. The Relay is $280 prior to April 24, 2011 which means $140 per person. There is no break in price for doing the Marathon Relay.
Now that you know more about the Walt Disney World Marathon Relay, I am sure you have come up with some of your own pros and cons for doing it. Here is a break down of how I am weighing it out.
* The new Chip and Dale Medal! Who wouldn’t want the cute new medal in the runDisney collection of medals?
* This will be the inaugural race. Running in the first race has some appeal.
* Bonding with your team mate, having each other to lean on before and after the race and just feeling the urge to do your best for the sake of the team may be what you need to finish your first half marathon.
* If you are doing the second leg of the relay, the course is different than most of the other runDisney Half Marathons (it will be very similar to the Wine & Dine Half Marathon though).
* For someone wanting to do a full marathon, but not feeling comfortable doing it all on the same day, a new option would be to do the Half Marathon on Saturday and then do the Marathon Relay on Sunday.
* All the transportation is provided. No need to worry about how you will get to the place that you need to be.
* The price! The Relay prices are $280 (before 4/24/11), $300 (between 4/25/11-7/3/11) or $320 (after 7/4/11). These are the same prices per person as someone doing the Half Marathon or the Full Marathon.
* If you can only do one race and it has to be a Half Marathon, if you select the Walt Disney World Marathon Relay in 2012, you will miss the 15th Year Anniversay Walt Disney World Half Marathon Donald Duck Medal.
* The 2nd leg runner of the Marathon Relay does not get to run thru Cinderella’s Castle.
* The 2nd leg runner of the Marathon Relay has to do a lot of sitting around waiting for the 1st leg runner to arrive.
* And finally the 1st leg runner of the Marathon Relay does not get experience the gala celebration with all the friends, family and cheer squads at the finish line of the Full Marathon.
With the first registration deadline approaching, many runners are discussing what they might do in 2012. Will it be the Walt Disney World Marathon Relay or not? No matter what you choose to do, I am certain the race will be chopped full of magic and excitement. The runDisney sponsored events are always organized, fun and memorable. Whether you decide to wear the Donald, the Mickey, the Goofy or the new Chip & Dale, a course full of memories awaits!! Hope to see you there in 2012.Share