Until 2020, the runDisney Virtual Series Summer Run was the only runDisney virtual option. Of course, with COVID-19, all runDisney IRL (in-real life) races after Princess Half Marathon Weekend 2020 became virtual, too. Since I’ve done seven runDisney virtual races, this post’s goal is to share runDisney virtual race tips so you have a great experience!
Related Topic: 2021 Virtual Series Announced – The Lion King | Details here
Since spring, 2020, the current runDisney virtual races are:
- Star Wars Rival Run Weekend (2020, 2021)
- Summer Series (historically, only virtual)
- Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend (2020)
- Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend (2021)
- Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend (2021)
Whether or not they’ll continue with the virtual options until IRL races resume is to be seen. Or, if runDisney will provide both options once IRL races return (ie: participate on property, or virtually) is also to be determined. I seriously hope they continue with the virtual options until IRL races return!
If you’re debating whether to participate in a virtual race, or in particular a runDisney virtual race, read on! But, in my opinion, you definitely SHOULD.
Reasons to Consider a runDisney Virtual Race
Given the lack of IRL races, I wholeheartedly welcome and enjoy the runDisney virtual races. Of course, there’s nothing like a “real” race with other runners, but in the current environment, we must make lemonade out of lemons. A runDisney virtual race is just the ticket.
I’ve written a post on running virtual races, but specific to a runDisney race, there are some benefits:
- Fairly reasonable cost (compared to IRL runDisney races) with an option to opt out of a shirt (medal only). More on that below.
- No travel required, and all the cost that goes with it! Park tickets, dining plan, Disney souvenirs, air fare, etc. Save it for your next Disney vacation!
- Flexibility – as with any virtual race. You pick the course, the terrain, the time, and, typically the date.
runDisney does a great job of providing a toolkit to make the most of your virtual race. Here’s what you can expect to receive as part of a runDisney virtual run.
- Commemorative Finisher Medal
- Digital Bib and Finisher Certificate – printable, or able to use on social media
- Digital Race Tool Kit featuring printable mile markers, plus start and finish line markers
- Digital Goodie Bag – essentially coupons from sponsors
- Virtual Playlist – (typically Spotify and Apple Music). A playlist to help you train for your event, and of course, run with on event day. Theme is relevant to event weekend, and duration is at minimum one hour. The PHM playlist is a whopping 152 minutes!
Different “bling” levels available.
Different levels of bling, and corresponding cost — where you can opt-out of receiving a race shirt(s). This gives you more control over your expenditure. Personally, I have SO MANY race shirts, I appreciate the opportunity to opt out. (This applies for races post 2020 Wine and Dine.)
Interestingly enough, the shirt cost increases as the distance increases! I’m not sure of the logic, but that’s the fact, Jack!
In addition to above, the runDisney blog also provides resources and info leading up to the event (Sometimes the topics were sent to me via email). Topics cover everything from recipes, Style DIY for your run attire, cross-training workouts, training tips, hydration, and more! It’s a nice way to keep you engaged with your event and training.
runDisney Virtual Race Tips
runDisney races sell out fast!
All the runDisney virtual race tips mean nothing if you don’t sign up soon enough! This is tip number one!
To enjoy the race, you must register! Be prepared to register as soon as it opens, if possible!
Previously, Disney AP holders and DVC members were given an approximate one week window before registration opened to the general public. This is a great perk, but know that these spots fill up very quickly, too! Register on day one as early as possible.
runDisney Account – Be Ready!
If this is your first runDisney race, set up your profile ahead of time. Otherwise, you’ll be doing that while other people are registering for races that sell out very quickly!
(If you’re not new to runDisney races, you should still log into your account before the registration window opens – if you’re attempting to register on day one.)
Enter your race results post event!
You’ll do this on your runDisney account page (under “edit registration”). If you make a mistake/need to change your finisher info, you can. Note, you’ll still receive your medals, shirts, etc. regardless of submitting your time. But, if you want a finisher certificate, then you must submit a time.
While you’re there, you can check out the virtual goodie bag. Know that the coupons/promotions are typically only for a limited time!
Break it up, if needed!
This is one runDisney virtual race tip that may not be common knowledge…
According to runDisney’s website, you don’t have to do all mileage at once (ie: can split the 13.1 up over multiple days). Therefore, if you’re not sure if you can complete the half marathon at once (as an example), not a problem! You can chunk it down into manageable mileage increments.
Also, there are specific dates for the virtual races on the runDisney website. But, you can run when it’s convenient for you. Another benefit of a virtual race!
One aspect that is not great about the runDisney virtual races is that the medals sometimes take up to a month (or longer!) after the official weekend is over. Some folks receive their medals almost immediately, while others wait weeks.
With that said, runDisney does overall an amazing job with their medals – so they are worth the wait!
Since I’ve participated in seven virtual runDisney events these past few months, I’m familiar with the beloved deliveries. For the non-summer series events, the boxes typically are quite LARGE. And, for those completing the Dopey Challenge, expect to receive two boxes filled with shirts and medals!
The “BLING boxes” are delivered via UPS. You typically receive an email notice a few days prior indicating the impending delivery. It is somewhat cryptic; it does not say runDisney, but rather “CCG.”
Within the box is a letter from runDisney Vice President, Faron Kelley, possibly some coupons, and of course your medal(s), and shirts (IF you ordered shirts).
Make the most of your run costumes!
No, you don’t have to “dress up,” or wear anything related to the race theme. But, it’s FUN, and adds a bit more joy to the event!
It’s quite common for runners to wear run “costumes” for the IRL races, but it’s not uncommon for the virtual races, either! Sure, some folks may wonder why you’re running in a princess theme (or Mickey, Donald, etc), so what? You trained, you paid for the medal, wear what you want!
I assure you that if you incorporate this runDisney virtual race tip into your race, you won’t be disappointed. Also remember that components of your race “ensemble” can be used for future events.
There are many options for Disney themed merchandise of course on Etsy, Amazon, etc. However, my favorite brands that I favor are Raw Threads, Bolder Athletic Wear, Sparkle Athletic, and ProCompression. Of course, runDisney has some of their own attire (the runDisney collection) as well.
Below are the specific runDisney virtual events since spring of 2020.
Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend – Virtual (#PrincessHalf)
- Disney Princess 5K
- Enchanted Disney Princess 10K
- Disney Princess Half Marathon
- Challenge: Disney Fairy Tale Challenge (19.3 miles – 10K and HM)
- Timing – typically weekend after Presidents Day
PHM Different “bling” options (medal only versus medal + shirt)
- Magic: medal only
- More Magic: medal & shirt. (Note if your participate in the Fairy Tale challenge, you receive THAT shirt only)
- More Magic Princess: applies only to Disney Fairy Tale Challenge. Three medals/shirts.
Star Wars Rival Run Weekend Virtual (#StarWarsVirtualHalf)
- Star Wars Rival Run 5K
- Star Wars Rival Run 10K
- Star Wars Rival Run Half Marathon
- Star Wars Rival Run Challenge (19.3 miles – 10K andHM)
- Kessel Run Challenge V1 – Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon plus the Virtual Star Wars Rival Run Half Marathon to earn this Kessel Run Challenge medal. Two half marathons, three medals.
- Kessel Run Challenge V2 – Star Wars Virtual Half Marathon plus the Virtual Star Wars Rival Run Challenge to earn the Kessel Run Challenge medal. Two half marathons, 10K – five medals.
- Timing – mid April
- Kessel Run Challenges combined 2020 Star Wars HM with the 2021 SWRR events.
Star Wars Different “bling” options (medal only versus medal + shirt)
- Galaxy: medal only
- More Galaxy: medal & shirt. (Note if SWRR challenge, you receive challenge shirt only)
- Lightspeed: applies to SW Rival Run Challenge, and Kessel Run Challenge. Receive all individual race shirts/medals, plus challenge shirts/medals.
Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend – Virtual
- Disney Wine & Dine 5K
- Disney Wine & Dine 10K
- Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon
- Disney Wine & Dine Two Course Challenge (19.3 miles – 10K, HM)
- Timing is typically first full wknd of November
Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend – Virtual
- Walt Disney World 5K
- WDW 10K
- Walt Disney World Half Marathon
- WDW Marathon
- Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge (HM and marathon)
- Dopey Challenge (5K, 10K, HM, marathon)
- Disney Castaway Cay Challenge (Castaway Cay 5K and any WDW Marathon Wknd event)
- Timing – typically second full weekend in January
As with the other virtual (non summer series) events, different bling levels are available as shown with PHM and Star Wars. (Magic, More Magic, etc.)
runDisney Virtual Series (#runDisneyVirtual)
- Three 5K’s, each with a different theme and medal
- Triple Feat – 3 Virtual 5Ks For a Total of 9.3 Miles!
- Timing: April 16 – August 31, 2020.
Registration in 2020 began April 16th.
The runDisney Virtual Summer Series Challenge includes all 3 Virtual 5K events. Complete them all and clean up with 3 finisher medals, plus a bonus 4th Challenge medal! You must register for the Challenge if you want to participate in all three races (do not register for each race individually!), and be eligible for the Challenge medal.
For the 2020 summer series Challenge, a nice keepsake came with the medal delivery: an official Disney Trading Pin! A miniature of the Summer Series Challenge medal. It is too cute!!
The Challenge is very popular, and tends to sell out quickly. There is NO shirt for the Virtual Series.
Kids Races – Yes, Virtual, Too!
All virtual events (excluding summer series) have multiple kids race distances available at a cost. According to runDisney website, parents are allowed to run with their children who registered for a runDisney Kids race.
Note, these are the same available races during runDisney IRL race weekends.
- 100-Meter Dash – 1-4 years old
- 200-Meter Dash – 5-8 years old
- Diaper Dash for Crawlers – 12 months and under
Virtual – runDisney Kids One Mile Run
- Children ages 4 to 13 years old