The new year brings the much anticipated, certainly well attended, Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, January 8-12, 2014. Quickly, the Tinkerbell Half Marathon follows at the Disneyland Resort, January 16-19. If your wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or that person at work you're trying to impress is participating in these, or any runDisney event, you have certain responsibilities.
If you expect to build a future with the runner in your life, it is not enough for you to carpool to the event. Nay, if you want to date a runner, specifically a Disney runner, you'd better be prepared to fasten fairy wings in the predawn hours, battle inconceivable crowds to get a spot on the race course where they will run by without seeing or hearing you, and trail them around all day, purchasing comfort snacks they can't eat, hearing about how much pain they are in.
Buffer your loved one from enthusiastic Cast Members:
The runner among you did intentionally pursue a Disney distance running event, and will surely be delighted to go the park that day. However, they will be tired and frazzled. They may not be able to handle an encounter with Goofy. The beleaguered subject pictured here dropped his drink during an unsolicited post-photo high five for which he was not prepared.
Monitor their post race consumption:
Monitor, but by no means prohibit. Runners are a perplexing paradox. They engage in an wholly healthy activity, yet reward themselves for it by indulging in beer and bacon. The runners themselves do not understand it, but if not permitted to run its course, responsibly, the result will be tears and tantrums at the Karl Strauss Beer Truck.
Finisher Medal Volunteers
Carry the finisher medal:
runDisney events furnish the sport's finest BLING. The finisher medals are beautiful and well crafted. Your running partner will proudly wear the medal all day if you let them. Don't let them. The medals are also heavy. Offer to carry it. Then covertly stick it in the locker. You won't want to carry it either.
Patiently indulge your partner's irrational running compulsion:
Distance runners have something bizarre going on in their brains. Why else would they do it on purpose? To get through something as nonsensical and unpleasant as a thirteen-mile road run participants may resort to wearing a race-themed costume. Please be supportive. It is not necessary for you to tell them they look ridiculous. That's likely the point.
Encourage proper nutrition:
Many Disney runners are driven by enthusiasm for Disney rather than fitness. They are more concerned with getting a good picture of themselves running through the castle than with calorie intake and hydration. As gently as you can, try to steer them toward a salad or smoothie rather than a third giant turkey leg the Saturday before a race.
Use empathy when selecting a post-race dining option:
Downtown Disney has a number of excellent restaurants. Despite the number of children in your group, and your own enthusiasm, the establishment with the erupting volcano and wild animals swinging from the ceiling may not be the best choice.
The child pictured here loved the Rainforest Cafe. The two half-marathoners in the picture were able to hold these smiles for just long enough for the photo then began to cry.
Your Disney runner may tell you that you do not have to come out and cheer. Logistically it can be difficult to get to the course and find your loved one's. They will tell you it's okay, and it's not worth the effort. Don't believe it. They want you out there. They want you out there with signs and air horns and bacon. They want to hear you scream for them as you run by. Privately, they want to know you aren't blissfully back in bed somewhere. It doesn't make sense, but you too should be suffering for their bad decision.
Meet them at the finish:
From wherever you managed to find your beloved runner on the course, it is your responsibility to be there for them when they finish the race. Given the popularity of runDisney events, this is going to be nigh impossible.
Race participants have to get up at three in the morning, and they just ran thirteen to twenty six miles in the heat. They won't care about your complaints regarding parking. Find your way to the Family Reception area or suffer their unfounded resentment.