Disneybounding Part 3: RunDisney
This past February, I participated in my fourth RunDisney weekend. In 1994, Walt Disney World hosted its first Walt Disney World Marathon which would then grow to include 5K’s, 10K’s, Half-Marathons, and Full Marathons at parks on both coasts as well as Disneyland Paris.
I was driving to work one day in September of 2014 and I saw a window decal on a car ahead of me. It was a tiara and it said ‘Princess Half-Marathon’ around it. I had heard about these Disney races, but never really gave it any thought as I do not picture myself as an athlete at all. I dance in musicals but that’s about it. But knowing that a BIG birthday was coming up and figuring I really should start taking care of myself, I decided that in 2016 I wanted to run that Disney Princess Half-Marathon. I began doing research that day and started my training soon after. I even convinced a friend who lived outside of Orlando to run with me. In May 2015, registration opened and I signed up! It was going to happen! Even if I just did this one, it would be an amazing achievement for me as I could never even run a quarter of a mile on the track during Gym class in school.
Soon after I registered, I learned that costumes were a big part of RunDisney events. The rules have changed over the past few years but they currently are (from the RunDisney Race Policies page):
Costumes must be family-friendly and may not be obstructive, offensive, objectionable or violent.
Guests who dress like characters may not pose for pictures or sign autographs for other Guests.
Costumes may not contain sharp objects, pointed objects or materials that may accidentally strike another Guest.
Costumes may not contain any toy weapons, which resemble or could easily be mistaken for an actual weapon.
Layered costumes that could conceal prohibited items are not permitted.
Costume props, including those that surround the entire body are not permitted.
Costumes may not reach or drag on the ground (e.g., full-length Princess dresses)
Capes may be worn if the length does not go below the waist.
Themed T-shirts, blouses, sweatshirts and hats are acceptable.
Acceptable accessories include transparent wings, plastic light sabers, toy swords and tutus. Headwear may be worn as long as it does not cover the face.
No masks of any kind.
No costumed attire can be worn in Disney Theme Parks during operating hours. As a result, you may need to change attire prior to visiting the parks once the race is over.
This left a lot of options open. It was a surprise find at my local Renaissance Faire that gave me the inspiration for my costume. I found a tiara that was shaped almost exactly like Rapunzel’s tiara. As a brunette, I decided I would run as Post-Haircut Rapunzel. The shopping and crafting then began. My top came from Etsy, my leggings from Teefury, and my tutu from Amazon (when I realized that my leggings were just a little too sheer for my comfort level). I couldn’t find the right-sized Pascal to add to the costume, so I found a crochet pattern and made one, attching him to my Magic Band so that I could wear him comfortably on my run.
My outfit was very much a ‘Bound’, as were many others, but a lot of runners also tend to go more literal with their running costumes with wigs and ornate outfits complete with lace and tulle and glitter and props. There is even a group of men who dress up as Disney Princesses and run the races with their girlfriends dressed as the Princes! Check out #Princessmen.
Not long after this race, I found out that if I ran another race in Disneyland (California) that year, I could get a special ‘Coast To Coast’ medal! Well, that was the year to do it! My friend Ed started training with me and we both signed up for the last race of the year, The Avengers Half-Marathon. I had also never been to Southern California or Disneyland, so this would be a grand, albeit brief, adventure. This time, I knew who I wanted to dress as and employed the help of Red Bark Crafting to help me realize it! I brought her a pattern and wicking fabric so she could make me an Agent Carter dress. Who would the Avengers be without Agent Peggy Carter?
I wouldn’t necessarily recommend running in a dress and a flocked velvet plastic fedora (purchased at a costume shop in Boston) but we did it! Ed’s ‘Greatest American Hero T-shirt came from Etsy.
Thus began an affection for RunDisney races. In 2018, for the Princess Half-Marathon weekend, I chose to do the Fairy Tale Challenge (10K on Saturday, Half-Marathon on Sunday) which required TWO costumes! As Ed was running the Half-Marathon, we decided to do costumes that went with each other for that particular run. For the 10K, I chose Vanellope Von Schweetz...mostly due to the perceived ease of her costume. I bought the Hoodie from Poshmark, the Taza Chocolate T-shirt from the Taza factory in Somerville (they were on sale for $10), the tutu from Amazon, and the socks and leggings from a New Balance store that was going out of business. The hair doodads consisted of red pipe cleaners twisted together for the licorice ponytail holder, multicolored pom-poms glued onto bobby pins, and Polymer Clay-sculpted candies glued onto barrettes. Being Florida, the hoodie came off after mile 1.
For the Half-Marathon, Ed and I dressed as the Ruffians from the Snuggly Duckling Tavern in ‘Tangled’. The shirts came from Main Street Bella (they have some fantastic Disney-themed athletic gear) and the hats were hand-knit by me. We both wore our own black running shorts. Kids, I do not recommend wearing knit hats while running a half-marathon in Florida when it’s 90 degrees out. Just take my word for it. But they looked good! Even Lady Tremaine (Cinderella’s Evil Stepmother) thought so.
For this past Disney Princess Half-Marathon weekend, we ran the 5K and the 10K only (two Princess Half-Marathons were enough for me) and some friends even joined us on the 5K and 10K! Once again, as Ed and I were running together, we chose complimentary costumes. For the 5K, Ed was Elvis-Stitch and I was Lilo. His Elvis top was made by iGlowRunning on Etsy (there are many wonderful Disney and Character-inspired Running Clothes-makers on Etsy. iGlowRunning and Fit4APrincess are some of the ones I hear about the most but you can go on there and find many options) and the hat was purchased at the parks. My Lilo top was purchased at discount from Hot Topic, the leaf-skirt from Amazon, and the green leggings were leftover from a performance costume from 2004.
For the 10K I brought out my Vanellope costume again with a few little additions. The leggings were a new purchase from Society6 and the T-shirt was purchased (on sale) from Hot Topic and enhanced by me. Ed’s gold running shorts were from Amazon and his top was ordered off of Kawaiian Pizza Apparel on Etsy. The tiny crown (hardly visible though) came from Unique Vintage.
As you can see, the front of the shirt says ‘Slaughter Race’. I added words from Vanellope’s song in ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’ to the back as I felt they lent something to the spirit of the race.
My friend Tracie did an adorable Crickee (from ‘Mulan’) race costume for her very first 10K. Her shirt is from TeePublic and says ‘Blooms in Adversity’ which, I think, is absolutely perfect for a race shirt. She then made the running skirt and Crickee Mouse ears herself (there will be more on these ears in my next Blog post).
I wish I could show some more amazing pictures from these races but without the runners’ permissions, I don’t feel comfortable doing so. However, if you google ‘RunDisney Costumes’ there are some really wonderful pictures (and DIY instructions) of RunDisney oufits!
In putting together my own outfits, the number one goal is comfort. 13.1 miles is a lot and thus far, all of the races have been really warm, bordering on downright hot even though they were in February (Florida) and November (California). It’s why I always try to start with actual athletic gear such as running/golf/tennis skorts and tops (I’ve found these at TJMaxx, Marshalls, Poshmark, and Goodwill). Grabbing items from my own closet for these events isn’t that easy as I’ve really only begun amassing my collection of athletic gear. I will say that I’ve looked to online retailers that specialize in running gear (such as IGlowRunning, Fit4APrincess, and Main Street Bella) for a lot of my inspiration. As a result, this isn’t the most budget-friendly type of Bounding. I think, however, it comes down to comfort and I’m learning what works for me as I go along. The cotton t-shirts were fine for the 5K and 10K races, but I would probably want to wear real wicking fabric running shirts for the Half-Marathons...and again, I don’t recommend wearing knit hats in 90 degree weather while running 13.1 miles.
While there are some runners who use the RunDisney races as qualifiers for other races, most are in it for the fun and for the chance to run in something a little less ‘usual’. Sometimes runners might make a small effort with a little tiara and a sparkly skirt. Sometimes they go all out and wear a complete Tinkerbell costume with light-up wings (which look amazing when the races start and it’s still dark), a wig, and pom-poms on their running shoes. My favorite costume thus far was a woman dressed as Tomatoa (from ‘Moana’) who wore a homemade, solid-looking, gold and bejeweled backpack with glowing lights that looked so amazing in the pre-dawn darkness!
So, if you’re thinking of signing up for a RunDisney event or just want to add some pixie dust to your next race, remember that the options are endless. Color-blocking, as mentioned in the previous blog post, can be very effective, both for representing the character and for keeping costs down. Or if you want, you can go all out with a brand new running costume. Regardless of what you decide, indulging in some creativity and whimsy is just another way to add some fun to an already special event. The point is that every runner is there to support everyone else, whether you’re a beginner or more experienced. Wearing the outfits just really brings home the love of Disney and the magical community that even a hot, sweaty run cannot destroy.