I just got off the phone with Faron Kelley, director of marketing and communications for Disney sports to chat with him and some other bloggers about marathon weekend 2014, and some of the changes the runDisney folks are making to have the weekend be a great experience for all involved.
First of all, the obvious news, is the new Dopey challenge (Faron is running it, too!) He said he is super excited about the six medals, as well as the inaugural 10k race. In keeping with the theme of the classic Disney characters (Donald for the half, Mickey for the full, etc) they knew they wanted Minnie for the 10k. He was also excited about the fact that there are very few if any places where you can get a race experience like this one, and have the opportunity to earn so many medals and run so many races in four days.
He also wanted to be very clear in stating that runDisney listens to it’s runners. They read blogs, social media, (such as the runDisney Facebook page) and listen to feedback to get information from participants and to make changes to give everyone a great race experience. One of the main concerns folks have been having is crowding on the race course. Well friends, runDisney heard you loud and clear, and is making some big changes for 2014. Let’s take a look:
-There will be 2,000 less runners for marathon weekend distributed between the half and the full. Since the half is where they have seen the main course pinch points, most of the cutting down will come from that race. Faron mentioned that it’s a tough decision because there is so much demand to run these races, and they want to give as many people as possible the chance to run. However, they realize this is the right thing to do to make the run a better experience for everyone.
-There will be more corrals to spread out the runners a little more and to help even out the course.
-A proof of time will be required for 95% of runners, so pretty much everyone who has run before, all to make sure runners are in the right corrals. It can become a safety issue if participants are in the wrong place, and again it goes back to helping everyone to have a fun experience.
– Finally! Women’s fitted shirts! Faron said they have heard about the desire for the shirts for awhile, and since ladies made rundisney what it is and are driving the running boom in the country, we should get shirts that fit us. Hooray! Also, as far as he knows they will continue to be long sleeve shirts.
-The marathon course will be the same as this past year, the 20th anniversary course. The half course will remain the same as well, as will the 5k. The 10k course is yet to be released.
-There will be a new marathon medal. Faron knows people run for the bling and seeing the awesome medals is something he loves!
-Spots for Dopey: They have not officially decided on a number of spaces yet. They are watching the numbers for the presales, and don’t want to take all the 10k spots because runDisney wants to leave most of them for people wanting to run the 10k only. Faron said it is quite the balancing act, and that the presale numbers were very limited.
-An earlier start time is possible in order to add the new corrals, however, the main objective is to get to the Magic Kingdom as soon as possible and then clear it out so guests can go to the park for the day. For 2013 the loop around EPCOT was taken out, and we ran straight to the Magic Kingdom, clearing the park sooner than ever. runDisney is confident they can still accomplish this goal, even with more corrals. People in the back corrals will just start later and finish later in the day.
-The 16:00 per mile pace requirement is to remain the same
– They are working out the details for the kids races so they will hopefully not interfere with the runners participating in Dopey. runDisney knows the weekend is a family affair, and wants everyone to be able to participate in the races as well as their children.
-I asked Faron about people wanting to submit proof of time from Wine and Dine, but it’s after the November 1 proof of time cut off date. He said that was actually a really good idea and said he would check on that for me. So stay tuned for updates on this as the race gets closer.
We had a great call, and I am so thankful that Faron took the time to talk to us about the changes for 2014. I could sense the excitement in his voice, and I can’t wait for January! Don’t forget, registration opens to the general public TOMORROW. So be sure to visit runDisney.com to secure your spot. You won’t want to miss this fun weekend! (Don’t forget registration is still open for the Tower of Terror 10 miler and the Wine and Dine half as well!)