Why the New Half Marathon PR Matters to Me

My running experiment began back in 2012. I’ve already devoted an entire post to my running journey. So, I won’t get too in-depth here. However, back in january 2012, the experiment began with a 5K race. When I ran in the Inaugural Neverland 5K race, I wondered what it would be like to run the Tinker Bell Half Marathon. So, when the time came for registration to open up for that race, I was there. Even though I was under trained, at the nudging of my wife, I started and completed the 2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon!


My finish time was faster than I thought it would be. I had hoped to avoid being swept and finish in 3 hours 30 minutes. However, I ended up finishing in 3 hours, 11 minutes, 22 seconds! It was a day and a race that would change my life. I felt different. My running experiment was turning into an obsession. Two days after finishing my first half marathon, I was signing up for my second…the Disneyland Half Marathon. All I could think about was how much faster I could finish if I actually trained for a half marathon. 

It was at this point where I began looking for others who had this same runDisney enthusiasm. I found blogs of runners and even joined a Facebook group of them. After reading race reports of various runners who had run in the Walt Disney World Marathon, I began thinking about a full marathon. Then, I found this movie on Netflix…

Talk about inspirational. I began looking into the logistics of participating in BOTH the Disneyland Half Marathon and the Walt Disney World Marathon. I looked at the training plans on the runDisney web site for the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon and the 2012 Disneyland Half Marathon. While there was some overlap in the training schedules, it looked doable. So, on the first day of registration for the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon, I was there signing up. Yikes! With ONE half marathon in my legs, I was signing up for my first full marathon. It felt crazy, but workable. I didn’t know how it was all going to work out. However, I knew that I just had to try.

The training plan for the 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon began in the last week of April/first week of May. 18 weeks to prepare for my second half marathon. In Spirit of the Marathon, I noticed that they ran in a half marathon around the mid way point of their training for the full marathon. So, I scheduled a 10K in the mid way point of my training for the 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon


and another half marathon around the mid way point of my training between the 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon and the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon.


As my training went along, I refined my time goal from 2 hours, 40 minutes to 2 hours, 50 minutes for the Disneyland Half Marathon. That’s where my times were leading towards. So, by the time Labor Day came, I felt like I should cross the finish line in 2 hours, 50 minutes. That didn’t happen.


I still set a new half marathon PR at 3 hours even (besting my Tinker Bell Half Marathon time by 11 minutes, 22 seconds!). I even got to high-five Mickey Mouse at the end of the race! However, I wasn’t as happy as I should have been. Even though, I did take more than 10 minutes off my Tinker Bell Half Marathon time, I was aiming at taking 20 minutes off that time. During the Disneyland Half Marathon, I was seeded in the last corral…Corral G. When you’re in the last corral, it’s not as much fun. You have to stand around and watch all the other corrals go off before you get to start (I started approx. 49 minutes after the official start of the race).  There is overcrowding of the course you have to deal with. Want those fun pictures with the Disney characters on the race course? Forget it. A cool picture in front of the Castle? Nope, not gonna happen. The lines for these photo ops are so long by the time the last corral gets to them. In the Disneyland Half Marathon, you also get to deal with blinding sun going up Ball Road that the earlier corrals either didn’t have to deal with at all or dealt with less. So, even though you can still have a fun race, it’s not as fun as it could be. Plus, in the last corral, there is a greater danger of being swept. At the Disneyland Half Marathon this past year, this is how the corrals were assigned…


Since my Tinker Bell Half Marathon time was greater than 3 hours, I was in the last group. If my current half marathon PR was the time I could have used, I would have been in corral D. I still would have had to wait, but not as long and would have been on the road with the sun in a lower position on Ball Road.

So, as I shifted from getting ready for the Disneyland Half Marathon to the Walt Disney World full Marathon, the Rock n Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon was always in my thoughts. After all, it came a little less than half way into my training for the full marathon. Also, in September, I learned how vital it was to get fast times in the non-Disney races for placement at the Disney races. The Rock n Roll Los Angeles Half Marathon was originally put in my plans as a measuring stick of my training for the full…just like in Spirit of the Marathon. However, because of my slower time at the Disneyland Half Marathon, my finish time became extremely important. Let me illustrate.

Here is what the seeding at the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon looked like…


When I registered for the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon, my only half marathon time I could use as a “proof of time” was 3 hours, 11 minutes, 22 seconds. That translates to an estimated finish time of 6 hours, 38 minutes, 59 seconds for the full marathon, according to the Runner’s World estimate, placing me in the last corral. Now, if I put in the Disneyland Half Marathon finish time of 3 hours even, my estimated finish for the full marathon changes to 6 hours, 15 minutes, 17 seconds and still in the last corral. However, my new half marathon PR of 2 hours, 43 minutes, 25 seconds places me with an estimated finish of 5 hours, 40 minutes, 43 seconds and up to corral G…one ahead of the last corral. Of course, this is all based on the previous year’s seedings. The folks at runDisney have announced that they are changing things up and have more corrals for their upcoming races. From the race reports I read, it looks like the expansion of corrals helped reduce crowding in the Tower of Terror 10 Miler in October. Here’s what the seeding looks like for the 2013 Wine and Dine Half Marathon.


As you can see, there are more corrals and smaller time differences between each corral. The seeding is something that will probably always be changing. However, looking at the previous year gives you some sort of gauge of what times you should be aiming at when you run those non-Disney races. From what I’ve read, the seeding is really based on those who have registered. They try to even out the corrals according to speed as much as they can. So, the Wine and Dine Half Marathon seeding will probably look different from the Walt Disney World Half Marathon seeding or the Tinker Bell Half Marathon seeding. Unfortunately, you will never know for sure until closer to the actual race, when the bib numbers and corral assignments are given, what corral will be the one you’ve been assigned.

So, why was last Sunday’s race so big for me? It improved my seeding at the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon. I’m still in the process of deciding how much I want to target a time at the Walt Disney World Marathon. I do know that 7 hours is the max time given from the last runner to start the race.  Even though I’ll hopefully avoid the last corral, I would like to beat that time because 7 hours is a long time to be out on the road.  However, this is a runDisney race and I will get to go through all 4 theme parks. So, I want to have some fun along the way and get lots of photos. I’d really like to get a few photos with the Disney characters on the course. For now, I’m just satisfied with the proof of time I have and earned this past weekend. It will make a difference (no matter how slight) in January.

3 thoughts on “Why the New Half Marathon PR Matters to Me

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