The last part of my Princess weekend recap is the Kids Races. For the 2014 Princess Half, the Kids Races were offered on Friday and Saturday. We picked Saturday since I was doing the 10k already on Saturday morning, I figured it would give us Thursday and Friday in the parks without any official race events to conflict. I think it worked out really well, we were able to make rope drop (which Erik calls “egg drop” or “pants drop” because he is a comedian) both days which let us ride everything we wanted to without problems.
After the 10k on Saturday, I headed back to POP, roused up the slug-a-beds and we got back on the bus and went back to EPCOT. We probably got there a little too early, but last year we got there at the last minute and were in the very back of the corral which meant Eli got a bit overwhelmed by the crush and refused to run.
This year, we were in the very front of the corral and it didn’t really fill up until a few minutes before the race started. The first kids race they do is the 1 mile, which takes about 25 minutes or so from start to finish. You’re able to see the kids round the corner to the finish from the corrals while you wait, so that’s pretty entertaining. I’d love to do the one mile with Eli but not just yet. He turned three in December, so we were still in the 100 Meter group which was the next to go after the mile finished.
Eli was pretty patient while we waited, but he was ready to run!
Once it was our turn, they let people start to leave the corral to head to the starting area. Despite being at the very front of the corral, somehow people managed to push their way in front of us during this process so we were at least five rows back from the front of the start line. We did get to go in the first wave (they let smaller groups go in waves by threading a rope in between the people), but I was hoping that getting there so early would have us in the very front. Oh well, these things happen at Disney, we still had a great time.
Eli told us he wanted to run by himself without holding any hands and that’s exactly what happened. He is a bit of a brute (being the baby of the family, he’s not so good at being gentle and his hugs to other kids often end with both of them on the ground), so our pre-race pep talk went like this: “OK, Eli, when they say go, you’re going to run fast, but not too fast and you may NOT touch other children and you may NOT push other children and you must be careful and gentle.” I was a bit worried because they were running on pretty rough parking lot asphalt and while we were waiting he just kind of knelt down and ended up with a mild abrasion on his knee, so a fall while running would really tear their knees and hands up.
Luckily, everything went great and he did his run as fast as he could while being careful not to run into or over anyone else. There was some sideways running to accomplish this, but that’s pretty normal for a race at runDisney! He was so very proud to get his medal at the end and he said “I ran the race and I beat all those other kids!” A competitive child after my own heart!
The medal is adorable and the race is affordable. I love that it gives kids some racing experience with positive memories. I did hear some negative stories about parents or kids overrunning other kids resulting in some scraped knees and hard feelings. I can totally see that happening due to the crowds. I think runDisney ought to spread out the races even more, with much smaller waves going more often (like the smaller corrals for the halfs!). Maybe just 5-10 kids at a time. It’s in the parking lot so there’s really no time constraint and having a safe and fun experience is really important for little ones.
We had a great experience and will do it again. The biggest negative is that it takes away a bit of the precious morning park time, but it was well worth it for Eli to feel like a real runner. He is still talking about his race and loves to show off his medal.