Brooke has been in love with Disney nearly her entire life. She turned it into a job and sells Disney Licensed Merchandise. She’s also an avid runner and has participated in countless runDisney Events.
Brooke started her journey of selling about 8 years ago but has been a huge Disney fan for much longer.
She only went to the parks twice as a child. The second time was when she was 17 years and she fell in love with Disney!
When she was 20 years old she went again with her then-boyfriend. He bought into DVC before he proposed because he knew that they would need Disney in their life!
Not only are they DVC owners, but Brooke and her husband also have an apartment near Disney World which makes spontaneous trips easier!
Brooke’s runDisney Journey
Brooke’s first runDisney trip was in 2014 with the Princess weekend Glass Slipper Challenge. This is her 10th anniversary with runDisney!
Before runDisney, Brooke wasn’t a runner. However, she was unemployed and began running. She began training and applied for a job at runner’s World Magazine. This really solidified her as a runner.
The Dopey Challenge is 4 days, 4 parks, and 48.2 miles. The first day is a 5K. The second day is a 10K, then a half marathon, and a full marathon on the 4th day.
Each of the races has a theme and costumes are encouraged! Brooke encourages everyone to train in their costumes because it can be a challenge.
Different Race Weekends
The Springtime Surprise replaced the Star Wars race this year. It included the Everest 5K, Race to the Taste 10K, and the Tower of Terror 10 Miler. These were older races that they brought back for this weekend.
The Wine and Dine Half Marathon is the only race that has a post-race party! It used to be a night-race that ended at Epcot with a big party.
Now the race is in the morning, but in the evening there is a fun party with a DJ, characters, and a fun party. The food and wine booths are also open.
Disneyland Races are not back yet, but Brooke has done two of these in the past. She’s ready for them to come back!
Each race also has characters! You can stop on the race route to meet the characters and have photos. Some of these lines can get longer.
Signing up for a race
Registration morning can be stressful. On registration morning, Brooke and her husband will have multiple devices ready to go.
She recommends logging in about 15 minutes before registration opens in order to be ready to go. You do not have to submit your proof of time when you register. You can always add it back in later. There is a cut-off to get it entered.
The registration for runDisney races is expensive, but they are top notch experiences! There are characters, experiences, choirs, and more. It’s a wonderful experience for runners of any experience level.
If you sign up with a proof of time from a previous race, that will help ensure you are toward the front of the pack. You want to be sure that you are training at least at a 15 minute mile.
You can sign up for these before the registration opens. If you know for sure that you will be registering and that you will be fundraising, you can decide that before registration.
Each charity has a different fundraising goal. Brooke is currently running for Give Kids the World!
What comes with Registration?
The tangible items are race bib, t-shirt(s), and medal. Safety and experience is also included. If you want to also have a party, the Wine and Dine event includes that as well.
You want to be sure to book your resort early. Transportation is available to the Expo and the race from all of the Disney Resorts.
A paid club that includes different tiers and different perks. One of the perks includes early registration. Another perk is reserved official merchandise.
All Things Expo!
The Expo is at Wide World of Sports. This is where you can pick up your bib and shirts, merchandise, and more. If you care about the official merchandise, you should plan to get there early. Brooke was there 3 hours before it opened and was still several hundred people back!
How do you park tour?
Brooke recommends waiting to enter the parks until after the last race. Somehow people do a race, shower, go to the parks, go to bed late, and are still up in the morning for their next race.
She often goes to the parks just to walk around and keep her legs moving, but she wants to get some sleep before waking up in the middle of the night. She also recommends watching what you eat so that the park food doesn’t ruin your stomach.
The day starts very early. If you have a costume, be sure to allow for that time. Brooke often gets up at 2:30 a.m. for an arrival of 3:30 a.m. and a 5:30 a.m. start time.
There is a lot to do once you get to the start. There are characters and photo opportunities. You can grab water, check your gear, and make your way to the corral.
Depending on your corral, you will start in a wave. On some of the shorter races, Brooke can finish the race before the last corrals have even started.
The restrooms in the parks are open, which is nicer than the port-o-potties! There are also fuel stops and waters or sports drinks.
Throughout the race there is music, yard signs, cheer stations, choirs, and more. Lots of entertainment and spectators.
There are photopass photographers on the race route. Be sure to have your bib number on your front because that is how they categorize the photos.
When you get to the finish line, you will get your medal and lots of cheering. It’s very emotional. You’ll continue through to get water, snacks, and potentially your challenge medal and any gear you’ve checked.
After you do all of that, you can meet your family, go to the restroom, hop on the bus, or continue to walk around or cheer.
Brooke’s husband is so good at this! For the longer races he will stop in a few different spots to see her run.
The finish line is really meaningful and cheering for everyone crossing the finish line.
There is a spot on the runDisney website where you can receive text messages to track your runner. You need their bib number but this can be a very helpful tool to make sure you can cheer for your runner.
What race is right for first-timers?
Brooke says that every weekend is good for a first-timer. She suggests Marathon Weekend because you know it will be classic characters. However, all of them are welcoming environments for runners of all levels.
The published park hours aren’t always the actual hours. Often the Early Entry for onsite guests can often be earlier than posted. Likewise, the published close time is just when the lines close but the shops are open and photopass photographers are still available.
Be sure to check the hours regularly as they can change with crowds.
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Follow on social media
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- Planning Special Events at Disney World with Allison Mertzman – PREP 322 - September 13, 2022