At my physical best, I played soccer in high school which means a ton of running. Even with the basic long distance endurance laps, the best I could ever do within tiring out was 3 miles. That’s it for running. But even today, I can walk for days. Ask me to walk from Birmingham AL to San Diego and I could probably do it. That walking endurance has helped me during my Disney trips but what about running at Disney? Did you know they have events for sick people like you? Well luckily, we have one of those individuals on our team who loves to run while at Disney.
Meet Tiffany Bigelow. In addition to being an awesome wife, mom and Disney travel agent, she’s an elementary school Speech-Language Pathologist, a Plexus rep and yes, she runs….for FUN!!! Tiffany has been blessed to not only run long distance races but has participated in the runDisney events that are becoming more popular every year that goes by. As someone who hasn’t run in a while, you could imagine, I had questions. Tiffany was not shy to answer them.
Did you do distance running when you were younger? I did not. I honestly never thought I could be a runner. With my schedule and hubby’s schedule (he’s a pilot)- running really chose me and I started running the Summer of 2013.
Did you do marathons before Disney? I only did a 5K race prior to running my first 1/2 marathon in 2015. Disney Princess 2015 was my first 1/2 marathon. I have my eyes set on Disney Marathon in 2020.
Preparing for RunDisney
Okay, you had the itch and the obvious talent, you did a 5K, so what year was it and why did you decide to do it? My first Run Disney race was in February 2015! It was a HUGE goal when I decided. When I registered I could only run 5 miles so it was a huge leap of faith I would be able to train up to 13.1!
Man, that’s an incredible increase! Was the training any different? Training would be the same as any other half marathon. Disney does an amazing job of sharing training schedules and guides. I personally, pushed myself to make my longest run a mile longer every month leading up to the race. I trained up to 12 miles. So I grew my distance by 7 miles from the time I registered.
Classic Disney, always going above and beyond with customer service. Did you do it by yourself or run with friends? My first Run Disney race was by myself. But honestly when you run with Run Disney, you are running with friends. I now run with friends or family! My sister even trained and ran with me in 2018!
Can you run in teams? There are opportunities to run in teams for charities. I haven’t personally signed up this way but may look into it in the future.
How do you register? Registering for the races is a big deal! If you want to do them- plan in advance! When they open, many sell out very quickly! Visit the Run Disney website to find race dates and registration online.
Alright Tiffany, tell us about the actual races. How many have you done? 2015 Princess Half Marathon (DW), 2016 Glass Slipper Challenge, 2016 Tinkerbell Half Marathon (DL), 2017 Glass Slipper Challenge (DW), 2017 Pixie Dust Challenge (DL), 2017 Fairytale Challenge (DW) and the upcoming 2018 Fairytale Challenge (DW).
Anything cool about checking in? Run Disney Expo is fun! This is where you go to check in, get your shirts and bibs for the races. There are tons of vendors there and any run gear you want or need can be purchased.
What is it like day of the race? It’s exciting!!! You wake up extremely early! You take buses from your resorts to the starting line. There is music, motivational videos, and characters to see! At Disney World, they shoot fireworks as each corral starts!
What is the distance you run? The distance I currently run is 10K and 1/2 Marathon. I like to do the challenges- two days of runs. Saturday is the 10K and Sunday is the 1/2 Marathon. Two races and three medals for running the challenge! 19.3 miles total. I one day dream of doing the Dopey Challenge which is a 5K, 10K, 1/2 Marathon, and Marathon- four days in a row-six medals!!! Disneyland is currently not doing Run Disney races due to construction. I also have dreams of running Disneyland Paris to get my Castle to Chateau medal.
See, there would have to be something very enticing for me to run that much. Tell us about the course you run? For the Princess 1/2 Marathon you run through the Magic Kingdom and Epcot parks. For the Tinkerbell 1/2 Marathon you ran through Magic Kingdom and California Adventure. And the Full Marathon runs through all four parks at Disney World.
I might could manage if it’s going through the parks. What is your favorite stretch of the course? My favorite stretch is at Disney World when you enter Magic Kingdom and run straight down Main Street. It brings tears to my eyes and it is just SO magical. At Disney World, guests line the street and are cheering you on. The castle is about the 1/2 way mark of the race.
What do you get for competing or winning, besides the acknowledgement of supporters? You get an amazing Disney medal for finishing, pictures, and the best memories!!! You earn a special medal for running in Disney World and Disneyland in the same year called the Coast to Coast medal. I have earned 2.
For Us Novices
Think I’m about ready to sign up now, Tiffany! Do you recommend anyone just going and doing it? Yes!!! 100% yes! I can’t wait to start running races with my boys! They even have special Kid Races little children can do (my cousin had her girls participated last year). You can run any distance that suits you! 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, or Full Marathon.
What advice do you have for anyone wanting to get started? Do it! If you can dream it you can do it! You don’t have to do a Half or Full Marathon. Run a 5K! The experience is amazing!!! It would be so fun to do as a whole family.
What is something I would not have thought of that happens at these races? Costumes!!! Dressing up as your favorite characters or Princesses definitely makes it more fun! Every year it is so fun for me to plan out my costumes. My past costumes include Belle, Minnie Mouse, Ariel, Tinkerbell, Baymax, Snow White, Joy, Rapunzel, Moana, and Elsa (and my sister was Anna). Not everyone dresses up, but I would say about 80% of participants do! It makes your pictures SO fun and memorable! Yes- I’m a big kid at heart!
Maybe I’ll wait until after the holidays and start running again. Thanks Tiffany and good luck on your next race.
Did Tiffany convince you to give a RunDisney race a try? Have you completed a RunDisney race? Thanks for reading and remember there’s a great, big, beautiful tomorrow!