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June 2010 Archives

June 7, 2010

The Struggling 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

As we approach summer 2010 there are signs indicting that the 2011 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend is losing the momentum it has enjoyed over the last decade.

Recent Marathon Weekend History

Back in May of 2002, for its 10th anniversary, the Walt Disney World Marathon capacity was increased from 13,500 to 16,000 participants. This race was so popular it reached capacity by mid-spring. Meanwhile, that same year, the Half Marathon with its 6,000 slots, reached capacity during the first few days of May. A total of 22,000 participants ran on Marathon Weekend 2003.

Moving ahead a few years we saw WDW race officials bump capacities again in 2005. The Full Marathon saw an increase of 2,000, while the Half Marathon, sporting a running distance that was becoming more popular every year, saw a boost of 3,000 for its capacity. (Note that in 2005 the Half Marathon reached capacity in late August while the Full Marathon closed registration in early September. WDW Marathon Weekend continued to enjoy tremendous popularity and success).

Jumping ahead two years we found that as early as March 2007 the 2008 Full Marathon registration was already at 50% and the 2008 Half Marathon was even further ahead already surpassing 60% capacity.
Despite the capacity ceilings both races were enjoying healthy registration rates.

Marathon Weekend 2010

This snowball was not to be stopped. This year some 55,000 participants ran during Marathon Weekend 2010 and there was no end in sight. There was even some consideration in early 2009 that perhaps there was a need to hold two WDW Half Marathons for the 2010 Marathon Weekend. That’s right. There was a plan that if registrations continued to grow as history had shown, that there would be a Half Marathon on both Friday and Saturday of Marathon Weekend. However, this decision would obviously have to be made relatively early in the year and as registrations slowed down, the two race plan was dropped, or at least on hold.

Following the 2010 WDW Marathon Weekend, there was no telling what the next threshold would be…but there are signs that the telling is becoming quite clear.

As of early June, the 2011 Half Marathon registrations moved to just over 50% capacity while the big brother Full Marathon had not approached 50% capacity status…at least that is the assumption.

Why the sudden drop? Perhaps there are several culprits who are responsible for this slowdown.

The Economy

First, we need to take into consideration that the economy serves as a major catalyst for a lot of things. If the economy is healthy and in full swing then we all benefit. If the economy slows down then it’s a no-brainer that the slowdown will impact many industries, especially the travel and vacation industry where disposable income tends to land.

The domino effect is quite apparent.

Airfare Hits the Stratosphere

Airfare has gone through the roof and that perhaps has many people hesitating about doing Marathon Weekend. Over the last five years or so I have seen the cost of airfare for me not quite doubling but coming close and it has caused me to rethink not just the frequency of trips, but length as well.

Obviously if it costs more to fly to WDW then the alternative is to take fewer trips but if possible, extend stay. This increase in airfare could easily be a factor in the low registration rate this year. Let’s say for instance that you take your family to WDW once or twice every year and also go down on Marathon weekend. With the cost of airfare so high now you may need to think about cutting back…do you eliminate one of those trips? Is Marathon Weekend a likely candidate?

High Registration Fees

Another issue for some potential participants may be the race registration fees.

Take a look. 


The fee for the Mickey Mile is $25.
The fee for the Disney Family Fun Run 5K is $45.
The fee for the Half Marathon is $135.
The fee for the Full Marathon is $135.
The fee for the Goofy is $310.
If you do the “Dopey” (5K and Goofy) the fee total is $355.

For first-time participants, the fees, plus the reminder that they could be swept, could serve as deterrents.

Other Contributing Factors

Let’s not forget that the cost of park admission has gone up, so if you bring the family for Marathon Weekend then you need to consider that cost, as well.

Another component goes back to what I had mentioned before. With the capacity of the races basically being as high as possible, it gets pretty crowded on those courses and for some people, too crowded.

I would estimate that there were 20-20% fewer participants in the Princess Half Marathon than the WDW Half Marathon in January and still there were portions of the course…TTC…Main Street USA…just leaving TMK…and parts of Floridian Way…that were very congested, and I found myself trying to avoid bumping or running into my fellow runners while trying to keep my pace.

Perhaps for a lot of runners this large field has hit its limit and maybe WDW race officials need to seriously reconsider their 2009 idea about holding two Half Marathons.

One other thought. With the WDW Endurance Series now holding three Half Marathons during the year we may be seeing runners making a choice.

Weather could be a factor, especially after this past January where my fellow runners and I walked to the corrals during a cold, windy, and sleeting morning in Orlando.

Running in late Feb./early March or late September or early October is more appealing, especially the latter where the Annual Walt Disney World International Food and Wine Festival is in full swing.

So mull on all those factors and think for yourself if one or a combination of those factors may be holding you back.

The Carrot?

Recently WDW Race officials announced what could be termed as a "carrot" to entice those on the fence to make the plunge and register for the marathon. This carrot is that those who participate in the 2011 WDW Full Marathon will be able to use their Marathon medal as a ticket to a Disney park on the following Monday. I don’t know if that is enough of an incentive to convince more people to register…and I mean register now.

The decision to offer marathon registrants a “park pass” in the form of a medal may bring with it some problems. It may not sit well with those who are doing the Half Marathon, who may feel slighted because the same carrot has not been extended to these participants. No medal for running 13.1 miles, I guess,...even though…and please, everyone pay attention…the fees for both the Half and the Full are the same!

I hope someone IS paying attention.

Maybe offering a discount on the 2012 races would have been a better, fairer carrot? We’ll see what happens as we move into the summer months.

For the record, I am registered for the Half Marathon…for now…and I will use my Annual Pass to enter one of the parks on Monday, thank you.

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Team AllEars NEWS

The 2011 AllEars Running Team continues to grow and as we move into the summer months and are within six months of Marathon Weekend 2011 decision time is quickly approaching.

We will be closing team registration by September 1st or when team membership reaches 100, whichever comes first. This is necessary to underscore the need for time for our fund raising commitment.

There are no plans to close registration for Team AllCheers.

So if you are planning to run the 5K, Half-Marathon, Full Marathon, Goofy, or Dopey next January and/or interested in cheering on the AllEars Running Team please email Team AllEars Co-Captain Michelle Scribner-MacLean at Michelle@AllEars.net with your request.

LIVE Podcast, June 28

Team AllEars® will be broadcasting LIVE on Monday, June 28th at 8 P.M. ET. AllEars Founder Deb Wills, Team AllEars® Running Co-Captains Michelle Scribner-MacLean and Mike Scopa will be welcoming Gordon Harvey from www.runtodisney.com to talk about Marathon Weekend 2011 and to answer your calls.

This broadcast will be heard LIVE on MouseWorldRadio and will be available later for download on AllEars.

Keep checking with AllEars for more information.

June 14, 2010

Team AllEars® 2011 - Live Podcast Announcement! - Disney Marathon

LIVE Podcast, June 28

Team AllEars® will be broadcasting LIVE on Monday, June 28th at 8 P.M. ET. AllEars Founder Deb Wills, Team AllEars® Running Co-Captains Michelle Scribner-MacLean and Mike Scopa will be welcoming Gordon Harvey from www.runtodisney.com to talk about Marathon Weekend 2011 and to answer your calls.

This broadcast will be heard LIVE on MouseWorldRadio and will be available later for download on AllEars.


Team AllEars® NEWS

The 2011 AllEars® Running Team continues to grow and as we move into the summer months and are within six months of Marathon Weekend 2011 decision time is quickly approaching.

We will be closing team registration by September 1st or when team membership reaches 100, whichever comes first. This is necessary to underscore the need for time for our fund raising commitment.

There are no plans to close registration for Team AllCheers.

So if you are planning to run the 5K, Half-Marathon, Full Marathon, Goofy, or Dopey next January and/or interested in cheering on the AllEars Running Team please email Team AllEars Co-Captain Michelle Scribner-MacLean at Michelle@AllEars.net with your request.


Keep checking with AllEars for more information.

June 16, 2010

Are You A Runner?

Note from Michelle and Mike: Recently someone in our Team AllEars discussion group started an interesting thread entitled Are You a Runner? This prompted a very spirited discussion about what it takes to be a runner and what it takes to finish a Disney race (or any race, for that matter).

One of our team members, Helen Dunn, is an alum from last year's Team AllEars, but more than that, she's a veteran runner who is known for her positive and supportive attitude. She's a wealth of knowledge and we're thrilled that she is back on the team this year.

Her response to this question -- Are you a runner? -- was so inspirational that we asked her to develop it into a blog.

Thanks, Helen, for being such a great team member and sharing your wisdom.

****************************


Hi, my name is Helen and I’ll confess: sometimes I don’t really feel like a runner.

Sometimes I feel too slow or too fat or too lazy to really believe that I’m a runner but guess what? I AM a runner and I’ve been one for a long, long time.

When I tell my story, I usually say that I got started in endurance sports in 2002 when I trained for and walked my first marathon. That’s not the whole story. The truth is that in the summer of 2000 I registered for the Disney half marathon with my sister. We planned to walk the 13.1 miles together in January of 2001. I went to Disney that January but I didn’t make it to the starting line of the race. It wasn’t because I was injured; I was just scared. I gave up on the idea because I convinced myself that I wasn’t the type of person who could do a 13.1 mile race. I didn’t believe in myself so I just stopped trying. My sister on the other hand, finished that first race and then went back the next year to run the marathon. She hasn’t looked back since.

It took until the spring of 2002 before I signed up for another race. This time it was a full marathon. I followed my training schedule to the letter; I raised money for charity and told everyone I knew that I was going to do it. Most people thought that I was crazy. The only person who believed that I could do it was my sister. She convinced me that I had it in me and somehow I started to believe that she was right. She was a regular person like me and she had done it, so why couldn’t I?

In November 2002 I finished my first marathon and now, 8 years and 17 marathons later, I’m still slow, I’m still fatter than I want to be, and I’m still pretty lazy. If I let those thoughts creep into my brain they start to make me think that I don’t deserve to call myself a runner.

But I AM a runner and I’ve been earning the title since 2000.

I gave up on a dream at first but then decided to do the work to make it come true. I have logged hours and hours of walking and running in heat, humidity, rain, snow and sleet to prove it. I have had blisters and chafe marks and sore knees and ankles. I have lost toenails. I have come back from a run with my face coated in dusty white dried sweat. I have spent alarming amounts of money on GPS devices, sneakers, running skirts and race entries. I have pushed myself to the point where I tossed my cookies at the finish line. I have spent seven hours on a marathon course helping my running partner make it to the end of her first Goofy challenge. I have coached friends to their first 5Ks and on to their first half-marathon. I have risen from bed at 3 AM to don a Hefty bag (to ward off cold) in order to make it to a starting line on time.

All those things are what make me a runner. I don't think size, shape, speed, distance, or any of that make people runners. It’s getting out there more often than not and doing the work - at whatever level you're at – that makes you a runner. Its being part of the community of runners - a group of people who all speak the same language of training, effort, struggle and joy.

If you have ever struggled through and finished a hard run without quitting, no matter if it was 10 minutes or 10 miles, you are a runner. If you’ve laced up your shoes when all you really wanted to do was watch TV, then you are a runner. If you have ever come home and slapped a bag of frozen peas on your throbbing knee, you are a runner. If you’ve ever been scared to death to head to the starting line but did it anyway, then you are a runner. If you have been happy for days because you crossed the finish line, then you are a runner.

Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking that long distances are the only distances that matter.

Don’t believe the ads that hint that it only counts if you run really fast.

You don’t have to be skinny to be a runner.

You don’t have to be fast to be a runner.

You don’t have to be a marathoner to be a runner.

All you have to do is run.

I've been active in running groups and training groups since 2002 and every spring I meet a new group of people who are hoping to finish a full or half marathon. I meet confident runners and people who can't even run for 5 minutes at a time. Every spring lots of people start the training and lots of people quit the program because they decide that they aren’t “real runners” or that they can’t do 26.2 miles.

Running a marathon is an awesome experience. So is running a half marathon. But they aren’t the most important distances or goals. What’s important is getting out there, getting healthy, feeling better about yourself, making friends and becoming a better athlete than you are today.

Nobody can finish a marathon until they decide on their own to do it. I think it’s like losing weight, or quitting smoking. People can encourage you to do it for your health, or for your family, or because everybody else is doing it. But if YOU don't want to do it for YOURSELF you'll never be able to stick with the training and the mental battles that are all along the path to the marathon. Accomplishing this goal is a difficult and very personal thing. It's incredibly rewarding and you can only do it on your own timeline.

But you can do it, I’m proof of that, and I keep on proving it every day that I run.

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June 21, 2010

Team AllEars® 2011 - Live Podcast Announcement! - Disney World Marathon

LIVE Podcast, June 28

Team AllEars® will be broadcasting LIVE on Monday, June 28th at 8 P.M. ET. AllEars Founder Deb Wills, Team AllEars® Running Co-Captains Michelle Scribner-MacLean and Mike Scopa will be welcoming Gordon Harvey from www.runtodisney.com to talk about Marathon Weekend 2011 and to answer your calls.

This broadcast will be heard LIVE on MouseWorldRadio and will be available later for download on AllEars.


Team AllEars® NEWS

The 2011 AllEars® Running Team continues to grow and as we move into the summer months and are within six months of Marathon Weekend 2011 decision time is quickly approaching.

We will be closing team registration by September 1st or when team membership reaches 100, whichever comes first. This is necessary to underscore the need for time for our fund raising commitment.

There are no plans to close registration for Team AllCheers.

So if you are planning to run the 5K, Half-Marathon, Full Marathon, Goofy, or Dopey next January and/or interested in cheering on the AllEars Running Team please email Team AllEars Co-Captain Michelle Scribner-MacLean at Michelle@AllEars.net with your request.


Keep checking with AllEars for more information.

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About June 2010

This page contains all entries posted to Team AllEars® Running Blog in June 2010. They are listed from oldest to newest.

April 2010 is the previous archive.

July 2010 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.