What are the differences between marathon weekend and other race weekends?

Discussion in 'runDisney' started by madalex, Jan 10, 2018.

  1. madalex

    madalex DIS Veteran

    Feb 24, 2004
    Having run my first rD event (the half marathon on Saturday), I'm hooked and want to participate in future races at WDW. I'm currently thinking the Wine & Dine events in November (although, on the rD site, it appears that the Star Wars Dark Side races aren't fully sold out, so I may convince myself to sign up for one of those).

    What differences regarding other race weekends compared to Marathon Weekend should I be aware of? I believe the other races aren't quite as crowded as the Marathon Weekend races; does that make the race itself or the logistics (bib pick up, buses to the races, etc.) any easier? Are those other races as "magical" as the Marathon Weekend races?
  2. Ariel484

    Ariel484 DIS Veteran

    Dec 27, 2011
    Marathon Weekend is 1 day longer with the marathon at the end - so the expo starts on Thursday instead of Wednesday
    The half marathons on the other weekends are the marquee events, so those are on Sunday.
    The challenge option is 10K + half marathon
    The themes are different obviously
    The courses are different (Princess course is the same as the one you just did)
    I *think* the expo is smaller
    The weather is really different for Dark Side (warmer) vs. January
    Dark Side I think you have Flower & Garden Festival going on
    Wine & Dine you have Food & Wine Festival going on, normally the last week for that, which affects the crowds (also normally Veteran's Day Weekend)

    etc. :)
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  4. Nole95

    Nole95 DIS Veteran

    Apr 8, 2007
    Dark Side is pretty cool as you have lots of people running in Star Wars costumes and all the themes are centered around Star Wars. Big screens set up on the course showing Star Wars clips, characters with great backdrops, etc. I only did the first Dark Side, but it looks like last years course was much better, and definitely better than the half marathon course this past weekend.

    As for W&D, we only did that one when it was still a night race. That was fun because you finished up in Epcot and got to stay in the park until about 4am. An overall fun night. I am not sure how it is now that the after party is hours after the race ends. However, the course is still better than the January half marathon. Being there during Food & Wine was definitely a fun time.
  5. FlashAM7

    FlashAM7 Mouseketeer

    Dec 21, 2017
    Dark Side is awesome as @Nole95 said, it's all centered around Star Wars. If you enjoy Star Wars even a little bit you will love these races. These also tend to be the hottest races though, as they are at the end of April.

    Wine & Dine is great too. The biggest draw for me is the after party they have at Epcot on Sunday night (it goes from 9-1am) for the half-marathon runners. They shut down the park and there are unique character photo ops, short lines for all rides, live DJ, etc.
  6. Greatfalls

    Greatfalls Mouseketeer

    Jan 24, 2008
    The 2016 Wine and Dine had 12,000 finishers, while last week's half and full had 20,000 each.
  7. GreatLakes

    GreatLakes DIS Veteran

    Aug 6, 2015
    The most obvious difference is the themes of the weekend. The January event is more a generic Disney Running theme using the traditional characters while the other weekends have a more dialed in theme. I haven't done them all but the biggest difference besides that is the size. There are more runners and more events in January. It is also the original event weekend and those two things combine to make it feel more runner focused. Everywhere you go you see people in race shirts (Disney or otherwise) and each park has a noticeable runner presence. That is less obvious at other race weekends in my experience.

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