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So, How Is It Really? Running A 5K At Disney World

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Photo: Courtesy of Karina Hoshikawa.
Welcome to Refinery29’s So, How Is It Really? where we take a look at all of the topics that have the internet talking. In studying them up close, we answer the question of what it’s really like to try out a trend, a viral product, or an unexpected TikTok hack. This month, we share what it was like to attend the runDisney Marathon weekend.
When gearing up for any sort of race, a few things are standard: early wake-up times, maybe carboloading the night before (but never moments before hitting the start line), and making sure you have all your necessary gear to cruise through every mile. One thing that isn't usually the case is having hundreds of fellow runners around you dressed as Disney characters. No, this isn't a bizarre fever dream: It's the RunDisney Marathon weekend.
Earlier this year, I got the chance to don a pair of running sneakers and head to Walt Disney World for a weekend of races — a 5K, 10K, half-marathon, and full marathon — and of course, feel-good vibes all around. As someone who loves running but is by no means a seasoned distance athlete, I have to admit that I'd been super intimidated to sign up for local races in my city; however, the RunDisney vibe was fun for all, and not just reserved for the most elite runners. Plus, I couldn't turn down the chance to run through an empty Epcot before the park's opening hours.
I'm a go-big-or-go-home type of girl, so I threw caution to the wind and committed to going all out with my race-day fit. Green is my favorite color, so I settled on a Tinker Bell-inspired look that allowed me to channel my power color. Best of all, I only had to buy two new items for the ensemble — the wings and the tulle skirt — and the rest I gleefully shopped from my own closet. I ended up pairing a lime green workout bodysuit, breezy tank top, and trail sneakers for my look. Pops of sweat-proof body glitter courtesy of About-Face completed my look. (The one I used was a limited edition drop, but I recommend this Colourpop one for a similar result.)
Photo: Courtesy of Karina Hoshikawa
The author, after crossing the finish line.
When I got to the park, I saw folks of all ages and abilities lined up and ready to race. There were families and friend groups dressed as The Incredibles, skillfully styled Mickey Mouse ears and running caps, Marvel superheroes, and many, many princesses. (Also: One very fabulous Edna Mode, black bob wig and all.) It was pitch dark at the start line in the wee hours of the morning, but the vibe was electric. Fireworks illuminated the sky to signal groups' taking off, and after running through Epcot's versions of France, Italy, Morocco, Japan, and China — all in a morning's work! — I finished my race in just under half an hour. Runners were greeted at the finish line with Disney-branded mylar blankets, Powerade, and plenty of snacks to refuel. Strangers high-fived each other, and as I ate my free banana, I watched as people complimented fellow racers' outfits and took sweaty selfies.
I'm a proud Disney adult, and have been to all but two Disney parks in the world. (Hong Kong and Shanghai, you're up next!) But the thing is, you don't need to be a superfan to have a great time at RunDisney. As a novice runner, I couldn't have asked for a more welcoming, supportive, and memorable race experience — the fact that I got to take selfies with Goofy at the end? Merely a bonus.

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