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Princess Half Marathon: Tales From the Course

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Amongst all the chatter this week about Princess Half Marathon shirts, event program, and waivers being released I’ve noticed some questions about the course itself.   So let’s talk about the miles you’ll cover during the Princess Half Marathon.

If you’ve run the Disney World Half Marathon (Donald) before, then surprise!  You’ve also run the Princess Half Marathon.  Though without as many wings and tutus I imagine.  They are the exact same course.

Miles 1-3  These go by pretty quickly.  Mainly because you are full of adrenaline and there’s very few characters to stop and see.  You will see the Pirates and Heroes between miles 2-3 and you will be tempted to stop.  Don’t.  They will also be there on the way back at mile 9 and it will probably be lighter so your pictures will be better. 

Tinker Amy

What you don’t realize is that you cover some of the same road you will hit on miles 9-11.5.  Yes, you are on the other side of the highway, but it IS the same basic geography.

After my first Princess, I remember saying the first couple of miles are flat and easy, but cursed the heck out of runDisney for putting HUGE hills (okay, overpasses– whatever) at mile 11.  Seriously, a speed bump is a mountain to me at mile 11.  In reality, you hit those overpasses both early and late. You just may not notice as much.

My one must stop for picture also ALWAYS has the longest line.  The Villainesses. 

This is just amazing!

Miles 3-6  Here’s where things get fun.  First, you hit the first 5K right around the Speedway.  Only 3 more 5Ks to go! You also get your first real taste of spectators as you run through the Magic Kingdom parking lot and the Ticket and Transportation Center.

There’s also this baby.   Your first of only 2 official “hills” on the course.  There’s an underpass you run down (weeeeee!!!) but then you have to go back up it on the other side.  This happens before you make it to the Magic Kingdom while going past the Contemporary Resort. 

DisBroad Amy’s pics again- thanks girl!

Enter the heart of the Princess Half Marathon.  The Magic Kingdom!  In here you will spend the most amount of time if you are a picture taker.  Last year, it was picture palooza.  We stopped for pretty much everything.  Including bathrooms.  DisBroad Julie put together a FABULOUS post on the best potties to hit on the course.  Be sure to check it out!

So many great stops to make while running through the Magic Kingdom- but be sure to stop in front of the Castle for this one!  The line looks long, but they have many photographers out and it moves VERY fast.  Trust me- it’s worth the 2 min delay.

Once you leave the Magic Kingdom you will cross the 10K mat and soon hit the half way mark.  For the past 2 years there has been speakers blaring the half way song (one that we voted on the runDisney Facebook page!)  The past songs were “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson and “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys.  So far this year it sounds like “Let it Go” and “Roar” are the front runners.

Miles 7-10 are the boring miles.  Hate to tell you, but this is where you just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  There are a few character stops here,  but it’s not like the character lines in the Magic Kingdom.  To make maters worse, there’s a stretch where you are down to one lane and very congested (near the Grand Floridian).  It’s not fun to run here but PLEASE do not try to go outside of the cones!  One Princess did this last year and was actually hit by a car. #TrueStory.  Don’t be that Princess.

 

You will get your Clif Shot Gels around mile 9 and you should also be on the look out for the Heroes and Pirates.  If you skipped them in the dark, here’s your final chance!

Miles 10-13.1 are actually my favorite.  I tend to get my second wind once I get up that clover leaf on-ramp that most Princesses dread.  Mile 10 is also typically the last hard sweep point, though I heard mile 11.5 had buses as well in 2013.  Just know that once you get past 10 you are truly in the home stretch.  If you stay to the left on the ramp, you can stop and say hi to Sarge.

My salute needs a lot of work.  Oy.

Once you get to the top of this hill, you only have about 3 more  hills to go!  Yes, I’m serious.  They aren’t huge, but you will notice them.  Mile 12 brings you to Epcot.  And I won’t lie, it’s a beautiful sight.  Be on the look out for Peggy Sue, a fixture at the runDisney races with her famous sign.

You are truly “safe” once you see Peggy Sue and enter Epcot.  You WILL finish and you WILL be an official Princess! Epcot seems to go on forever, though.  I’m not kidding: it’s the longest mile I have ever run.  runDisney makes up for it with these guys:

The gospel choir that sings you home.  They are out there the entire race and singing joyfully the whole time.  Well, I hear they do take breaks, but I’ve been lucky enough to hear their lovely voices in all three races.   I love them.

From here, you are literally in the home stretch.  Around the corner you will see the finish line, hear the cheering fans, and know it’s time to finish your magical miles!  I like to stop and take a picture with the characters on the way to the finish (hey, I know I haven’t won, so I might as well make some memories!)

Have you run the Princess Half before?  What’s your favorite mile?  Is there a character that you are most looking forward to seeing this year?

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Deanna

Monday 17th of February 2014

Hi, I'm running this year - my very first RunDisney race. I was wondering if you remember how often they had water tables?

Katina

Wednesday 12th of February 2014

This will be my first runDisney race, and I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your posts! I'm carefully strategizing my photo (and potty) stops, so this was quite helpful. I am most looking forward to a castle photo and Princess Tiana!

Sophia Zarate

Wednesday 12th of February 2014

Since I have no time to spare as I'm a slow runner/walker I will miss out on character pics along the route. Are there fun characters within Epcot to take pics with since I'll be safe at this point I'm thinking I can get at least one pic. Thank you for sharing this detailed synopsis if what to expect. I feel less in the dark. The course map online really doesn't help give a perspective.

spiritedsoul

Wednesday 12th of February 2014

Thank you I am running my first ever 1/2 marathon and am not a fast runner and worry about being swept if I don't keep an eye on my time... I think my only stop for pics will be the castle and at the finish once I know I am safe :) your mile summary was awesome!!

Erika L

Wednesday 12th of February 2014

Now I really want to run the Princess half. Thanks for the great posts!

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