Friday, April 25, 2014

Races: Would you agree to these changes?

Since it's Friday, we're linking this Friday 5 post up with Courtney from Eat Pray Run DC. We didn't quite understand the theme this week, so I am sure we are probably a bit off topic, but it will be fun.


We haven't run many races that we've been disappointed in, but there are a lot of things that we've wondered about. If it was up to us, these are just a few of the changes we would make.


1. Have you ever ran a race series that offered a set of challenges? The Disney Glass Slipper?  The Dopey? The Goofy? The Runner's World Hat Trick?  J and A's Dolphin or Whale? Well, these "challenge" races are great. One weekend, multiple races, lots of bling.  If you are participating in a "challenge" inevitably you will be taking it easy on some races and maybe "racing" just one of them, or maybe you need to take it easy on all of them just to get through them ( that would be me). One thing we would like to see done differently with these challenges are the order in which the races are ran. Wouldn't it be great to get the marathons and half marathons done first so you can really do your best, and then do the 5k's and 10K's on the days afterwards so you can just run to have fun?  For Glass slipper challenge I would love to run the half on Friday, 10K on Saturday, and 5K on Sunday!

Also, along the same line with the challenges: So at Disney if you do the half and the full marathons it is called the Goofy Challenge and you get that third medal. What about the folks who are just starting out in their running career and want to do both the 5K and the 10K? Shouldn't there be a challenge for those folks too? Should they have the opportunity for a third medal for their accomplishments?  Those who are completing the Dopey challenge might not think running a 5K and 10K back to back is anything spectacular compared to what they are enduring with their challenge, but for someone just starting out as a runner, it IS a big deal. And hey, Disney could make more money off of it, right? You would think they would like that!


2. Registration is another thing we would like to change. As many of you know, Registration for the Disney World marathon opened this month.  Unless you are pregnant, who in the world knows exactly what you will be doing 9 months from now? Life happens, things change, but if you want even a chance of running a race that is a sure sell out, you need to register.  We would love to see the statistics on how many people register for Disney races but end up not being able to race. Yes, you may defer ( for a price) but there are no refunds. This is another great way for Disney ( and other races) to make more money. I wonder if they count on this?

3. Can we get a little something extra for finishing? This is something we actually talked about in a previous post but it fits here too! Since many races give medals to all the runners, a gesture of something a little extra for those who cross the finish line would not be too much to ask. Disney could easily give all finishers a free park pass. They would make more money in the long run because people would be spending money once they got inside the park ( and would also have to purchase a park ticket for their spouse or travel partner if they are not running).  If a park ticket is a no go, how about giving a voucher for a free breakfast somewhere on property? That could be easily doable.

4. We get that going to the race expo is all part of the experience of participating in a large race. We have been lucky enough to attend all the race expos in plenty of time, but with Disney increasing the amount of races on their schedule it is making it increasingly more difficult for people to get to the race expo a day earlier. For example, those running the Dopey Challenge will need to make sure they are on Disney property by Wednesday so they can get to the expo and get their race packets!  Wouldn't it be nice if there was a designated resort ( or 2) on Disney property that had after hours packet pick up?  Lets say the expo closes at 8pm. The designated resort could have late night packet pick up each night from 8pm-2am. Just a thought.

5. And one last thing, the merchandise. When will these races start planning accordingly. If you don't get to the expo the first day it opens, you can assume that a certain shirt or jacket in your size aren't going to be there. Things sell out too quickly. I'm not just talking about Disney here either. I heard the Boston Marathon jackets were sold out in certain sizes at the expo this week.  Maybe it wouldn't be a bad idea for all larger races to have a Pre-order section.  ( I know that some do already). 

Case in point, my sister and I decided to go ahead and pre-order the Disney marathon jackets when we registered this week. This was a very gutsy move on our part because we have NO IDEA what they look like. We've NEVER done anything like this before. We normally want to know exactly what we are getting for our money. Part of me wonders if this item IS going to be available at the expo, because if it is, we could have gotten 10% off by using our Disney visas to purchase it.  But since we are not doing the Dopey Challenge, ( meaning we are not going to be there on the first day of the expo) chances are that the jackets will be sold out by the time we get there.  So I guess we just bought an $80 grab bag from Disney and it will be a surprise to both of us!

So what do you think of the changes we would like to see made? Would you be on board with any of these? What changes would you make?





40 comments:

  1. I agree with all of your points. Evidently runDisney used to give marathon finishers a park pass for Monday after the race. Now that the $$$ are flying into their coffers, they do not need to give anything extra. Case in point, the registration is nearly full for all the January races! I think all finishers should get the medal and if they insist on giving those swept a medal, it should have a different ribbon...JMHO

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    1. Yes, we often those something along those lines too. There should be "finisher" medals and then there should be "participation" medals. Although i'm sure that would increase the price even more because now Disney would have to buy 2 different medals cus they have no way of knowing how many people might not finish!

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    2. The Marathon Monday was just in 2011, because race registration was down...hard to believe now, huh?

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  2. Gah! I just responded and when I hit publish it all disappeared?!?!?

    I didn't realize they had pre-order for jackets, is this new? They have to figure something out about the merch! I wanted a PHM jacket so badly and by Friday at 1pm they were gone. They are losing money not having enough available too.

    I wouldn't want the races turned around, I'm not sure I could do another race (even shorter) after pushing through a half. This way I can take it easy/have fun taking photos for the 10K and be ready to push for a PR during the half the next day!

    Nice post Meranda!

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    1. Thanks Karen! For every disney race, there is always a few items you can Pre-order at the time of registration. I know pins and necklaces are always on the list. I thought jackets were too, but I could be wrong. After the expo at PHM, I decided to go ahead and pre-order just to be safe. I can't wait to see what I bought! My sister ordered the necklace last year for her first marathon, so I went ahead and ordered it too.

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  3. I 200% agree with ALL of these. Also, I didn't pre-order the Dopey jacket and now I'm kind of regretting it. :0( I plan on getting there day 1 of the expo, though, so I am hoping I can still snag one.

    I would also like to add something to the list! Disney should give out different/more options for post-run snacks...like Mickey pretzels, or this Tonga toast everyone raves about (I need to try it), or Dole Whips!!

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    1. Tonga toast may be a little tricky to give out at the finish line, but a Dole whip would be excellent. Since you are getting to the Expo on day one, you should hopefully have a chance at getting the jacket in your size, if not than that is REALLY poor planning on Disney's end to have merchandise sell out on the first day. Don't forget that you can use your Disney Visa for a discount on that jacket too! Something we weren't able to do since we bought online.

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  4. #FridayFollow fun! I have always wanted to run a Disney race but haven't quite been able to fit it into my schedule. I have heard some of the these issues from friends. I'd still love to run it! I do think they should have enough merchandise available for all of those registered-perhaps order some things in advance to pick up at race weekend would help. Glad to be participating in Friday Follow
    Deborah @ Confessions of A Mother Runner

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    1. Thanks for visiting! Even with all the things we would like to change, Disney races truly are wonderful and I think every runners should experience one of them at least once!

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  5. I agree with the free ticket to Disney, I get asked that question all the time from family once I told them I have signed up for a Disney race. However, if they have 65,000 + getting tickets and then they include their family, that is a lot of people going into the park. I use to work at Disney and I worked in the summer when it was busy and they were always talking about the number of people in the park and not reaching a certain point because it would become unenjoyable as well as unsafe. So if you had people from the race + regular vacationers that would be a lot! I agree though we should get more, like maybe a free race photo! :)

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    1. I do understand how crowded that would be, especially if all the free tickets had to be used on the same day! It's a nice thought though.

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  6. I really like that first idea! I would want to get through the toughest race first.

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    1. Yes, those are our thoughts too. Get the big one out of the way, and then just have fun ( on tired legs). But once I experience the race change, maybe I wouldn't like it so much, who knows!

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  7. I've noticed some races have a separate store that has merchandise ready to go. Can't Disney do that? I feel like keeping the designs a secret adds a very unnecessary frenzy to the expo, and if they're not going to plan for the frenzy, why do it? If the stuff isn't ready to go, then have a pre-order so they know what needs to be filled. They can have a separate booth where people can pick up the stuff they've ordered.

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    1. I have noticed that some merchandise can be pre-ordered now. I haven't done it in the past though. This is the first race I ever ordered anything during the registration process!

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  8. Great points! I heard someone saying something similar about Disney challenges for people who didn't want to do the full marathon. One of the guys on a podcast I listen to did the 5k, 10k and the half and said he did the "Grumpy" since he didn't get an extra medal. It would be nice to have a fun challenge the January weekend for people who aren't quite ready for a full marathon.

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    1. Oh, I think calling that race the "Grumpy" would be perfect! I even heard some one mention that doing the 5K and 10K should be called "The Bashful". I think that's pretty clever!

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  9. I ran the marathon the one year disney gave a free park pass on monday after the race, and not gonna lie the parks were a crowded nightmare that we usuallydon't experience the monday after a race (most ppl go home sunday afternoon or monday) But, they used it as an incentive b/c they were having trouble filling up the marathon that year. Now that there are record sell outs, they don't need to offer it anymore. Would it be nice, absolutely, but supply and demand won't allow that to happen anymore. I also think it would ne nice to run the marathon or half first and then the 10k or 5k but they would never do that. 5k ppl run the 5k and 26,000 run the half, and a lot of ppl can't get off work to run a marathon on a thursday or a friday, and with the numbers o skewed ut doesn't make sense for them to flip it around, but it would be nice!

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    1. Yea, a lot of these things would be nice thoughts, but logistically speaking you are right. It would be a hassle for people to swap races, and if everyone had to use their free park ticket on the same day I am sure it would be very crowded and not much fun for people. Although, it may get people to stay one extra night, which would make Disney happy, if they are staying on property!

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  10. I love all of your points; definitely gave me something to think about. If I had any power, I'd totally hire you to be in charge!

    runDisney is it's own animal, but I am noticing the running stores in NYC have a lot of the bigger races official merchandise (ie TheBoston Jackets were in the running store I go to all the time and for NYCM they had a LOT of stuff that was being sold at the expo. The NYC Niketown also has Nike Women's apparel, as well as a bunch of running stores in DC) which makes it nice- if you know about it. Plus, Adidas and Nike both offer the merch online, so if I were ever to run Boston, you better believe I'm not waiting until the expo to get my jacket.

    I'm really interested to see what the Disney marathon jackets look like. It's a step in the right direction, but still not quite there yet.

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    1. Thank you for your vote of confidence Abby! I think it is So cool that the merchandise can be found in many of the stores in NYC. Do you think many non-runners buy that stuff too? Just curious. I think having it available to the public like that would be a great way for runner's to get some cool gifts! I would love to be able to walk in a store and buy my sister some Boston merchandise that she wasn't able to get at the expo!

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    1. Yea, I think there are plenty of races that could tweak a few things here and there. Not just Disney, right?

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  12. For race packet pick up they just need to extend the hours for people that can't get there at 8pm. Have it go till midnight. packing up the packets and moving them to another location takes time and logistics. could have expo (booths) open till 8pm but leave packet pick up open till midnight. easy peasy, lemon squeezy. :)

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    1. Yes, I would definitely agree with that! Especially if they don't know who is going to make it to the expo and who isn't it. Extended packet pick up would make much more sense than moving the bibs to a resort...haha. Although I'm sure transportation would might be an issue since they generally contract out to Mears.

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  13. I just read this on Twitter from Jeff Goins, writer: "The things that bother you are the things in this world you are meant to change." Okay, so maybe you can't change all that with Disney, but maybe if you write them about it they'll listen. You never know! I haven't done any Disney races, but I agree that there should be some challenge for people who are just starting out. I also love the pre-order idea!

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    1. Haha, That is a great saying! We are just having a little fun here on the blog today, but in all seriousness, Disney races are great. you should try at least one of them!

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  14. I think you speak for everyone on these changes! Where do I sign for a petition? :)
    I actually just looked to see if a day at Disney was included with the race...shocked to find out its not.

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    1. Nope, no park ticket. Although I've heard from people that one year they did give a ticket out to participants. I guess that caused some over crowding.

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  15. I would love to run the races in reverse order with the harder races first and the easier ones last! I think that would encourage more people to compete in challenges because it would be more fun to have the smaller races last. I am considering doing the Ultra Gasparilla Challenge next February and they do the 15k and then the 5k on Saturday with the Half followed by the 8k on Sunday. I am most worried about running the Half and then the 8k, especially in one day and you basically start the 8k right after you finish the Half is you are a slower runner.

    I also like your idea about extra swag! One of the best races I ran this year was a 10k that gave you a medal and a really nice stemless wine glass. I was really impressed by that!

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  16. Excellent points.

    I'm really hoping that with runDisney's new packet pick-up policy, that they will extend expo hours. It can be hard to make it there on time, especially in the winter months when weather can effect your flight schedule (something you can't know in advance and have no control over – even if you plan to leave a day early... you just never know).

    They should definitely have more merchandise in stock. I hate getting there and seeing something I really want, but am unable to purchase because my size (and I'm usually willing to go a size up if need be) is sold out, even just a few shorts hours after the opening.

    I think it would be great to get the marathon out of the way first, but not so sure I could run anything else afterwards haha. I definitely think for the other challenges, I'd prefer to do the 1/2, 10k, and then 5k last (I could manage to drag myself to the finish lines of those guys, I think). Obviously, these are just wish list items, as I understand why it's done the way it is... doesn't mean we don't dream about changes, right ;)

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  17. All great ideas! I'd also add that for runDisney races, I'd like to see better swag bags. I'm sure it comes down to money, but still, I bet a lot of their sponsors would love to give more samples in those bags. For the Gate River Run 15k we got awesome glass mugs with the race logo and the sponsor's logo on it. That was a special touch for a race that had a much cheaper entry fee.

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  18. I've never run Disney (and probably never will), but I totally agree on the extension of packet pick up options. Nike DC added some early pickups this year to help alleviate the craziness of packet pickup. Sure, the out of towners can't get there, but get the locals out of the way early and it's easier for everyone. It'll be interesting to see how tomorrow goes...

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  19. I've wondered too about the $80 Marathon weekend jackets. But I didn't want to take a leap there, since that should be up online and available for several months. In that time, surely they will post a photo of the jacket. There should actually be a separate link to pre-order, like they do for pins, necklaces, and Dooneys.

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  20. These are all great suggestions. I especially appreciate your challenge suggestion. I did the 10k and half in January, which if I were at Princess or Disneyland would have given me a third medal, but during Marathon Weekend did not. It would be nice if runDisney offered all multi race finishers an extra piece of bling.

    Your merchandise suggestion is right on the nose. Too bad there's people who want to round up all the merchandise and resell it online. It makes it difficult for the runners to make sure that they can get the merchandise that they want. I think I heard that runDisney is allowing preorders for jackets for Marathon Weekend. I hope they start doing this for all of the races.

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  21. It is SO hard with races that don't have day-of packet pickup, and although I understand why, it's very difficult for people who have to travel to get to race destinations in time for packet pickup day(s) prior.

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  22. Very interesting post!!!!!!!! I wonder if Disney has thought about these concerns!

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  23. I love brainstorming new ideas! The list y'all came up with is fun, but I for one would not want to do a challenge "backward" - I think it would feel anticlimatic ;) But that's just my .02!!

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