This is part 4 of our series on the Runner’s World Challenge during the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. For previous parts, see Runner’s World Challenge Overview, as well as Runner’s World Challenge Issues and Concerns, and Runner’s World Challenge Experience.
UPDATE: Beginning in 2015, Runner’s World Challenge is only available for the Dopey Challenge. It does not include the resort package as it did in 2013.
For 2014, runDisney announced a new challenge for Marathon Weekend. The Dopey Challenge incorporates the 5K run, (new) 10K race, half marathon and marathon, resulting in 48.6 miles over a 4 day period. The result? 6 shirts and 6 medals!
The details regarding the 2016 Runner’s World Challenge have also been released. In order to help you decide if the Runner’s World Challenge is the right fit for you we have listed out the pros and cons of our experience accompanied by a price breakdown of the 2016 Runner’s World Package. To wrap things up, we’ve listed several questions to think about when making your decision and a few of our final thoughts about Runner’s World Challenge.
Details of 2016 Runner’s World Challenge during the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend:
Runner’s World Challenge participants will receive:*
- A membership in a 16-20 week training plan designed by The Runner’s World Experts, and Chief Running Officer Bart Yasso, who has coached hundreds of elites, celebs, and everyday runners (celebrity/VIP appearances subject to change or cancellation without notice)**
- Weekly emails leading up to the Event from Runner’s World Chief Running Officer Bart Yasso with training, nutrition, and health tips for the upcoming weeks workouts “training.”
- Direct online access to Runner’s World experts on training, nutrition, and injuries for one year during the 16-20 week Event training plan
- Access to private RW Challenge online training forum to connect with other runners training for Disney and other marathons and half marathons
- A copy of The Runner’s World Complete Book of Running
- Runner’s World Challenge tech shirt in time for your training to start
- A four-month premium membership to Runner’s World Personal Trainer, our interactive training log
- Private packet pick-up for Runner’s World Challenge participants at the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo
- Pre-race course strategy session with the Runner’s World experts and editors (TBD)
- Entry to the Pasta in the Park Party on Thursday night at Epcot® where the Runner’s World VIPs & editors will be in attendance (party includes buffet pasta dinner, live DJ, Disney characters and viewing of the fireworks spectacular Illuminations: Reflections of Earth at Epcot®)
- Exclusive pre-race walkout to corrals for Runner’s World Challenge participants.
o Corral placement will be determined based on proof of time that all runners must submit by October 6, 2015.
- Entry to the Race Retreat on Saturday and Sunday
o Pre-race amenities include hot and cold beverages with fruit and bagels, dedicated stretching area, and private portalets & bag check
o Post-race amenities include a nutritious buffet, massage, private portalet & bag pick up, and live results
- Entry into the Walt Disney World® Marathon Weekend Breakfast in the Family Reunion Area after the 5K and 10K
*Note: There is NO Ultimate Runner’s World Challenge for 2016. There is also no shake out run (most likely do to logistics).
- Shortcut to the race start was amazing. It’s truly hard to put a dollar value on this perk.
- Runner’s World staff was tremendously knowledgeable and supportive. There was always a Runner’s World editor or staff member available at each event to answer questions and direct participants. Event staff were extremely organized and prepared throughout the entire weekend.
- Separate bag check was easy and seamless. Runner’s World team staffed private bag check during entire event.
- Race Retreat was very nice and definitely worth the extra cost – especially with the weather conditions. Runner’s World Challenge area inside Race Retreat had private seating and private TV. Family members who purchased Race Retreat/Platinum ChEAR Squad were also allowed inside private Runner’s World area inside Race Retreat.
- Opportunity to meet other amazing runners and interact with Runner’s World editors and Bart Yasso throughout the weekend was fabulous!
- No lines during private packet pickup
- Course Strategy Session provided useful information to veterans and new runDisney runners since it was adapted to the current extreme weather issues and discussed the new marathon course challenges
- Pasta in the Park was average and we would not purchase separately
- Didn’t need the training plan due to having a coach or existing training plan in place prior to purchasing
- Must purchase additional Platinum ChEAR Squad or Pasta in the Park tickets for family members to join you. (You also need to pick up these tickets/packages in the main area of the Health & Fitness Expo. Since these extras are not part of Runner’s World Challenge, they will NOT be available in the private packet pickup area for the Challenge.)
- It is a lot of money to put down months in advance.
Below we have included the pricing breakdown for the 2016 Runner’s World Challenge. We have priced out the runDisney related events as they could be purchased separately. The price difference includes special experiences that you can not purchase separately such as: Runner’s World Training Plans for Dopey, Course Strategy Session, Private Packet Pick-up at Expo, short-cut to race start, private Runner’s World bag check and seating area inside Race Retreat.
Runner’s World Challenge Price – $1100
Price of Individual Events (if purchased seperately)
$550 (Race) + $230 (Race Retreat) + $54 (Pasta) + $40 (5K Breakfast) + $40 (10K Breakfast) = $914
Difference – $186
*Note: All pricing breakdowns are estimates and do not include taxes or Active.com fees.
The main cost difference is that it includes a Runner’s World Training Plan specific to those events, which cannot be purchased separately. At the time of posting, these training plans are only offered to those participating in Runner’s World Challenge.
Questions to Consider:
- Am I interested in attending Pasta in the Park, Race Retreat or the 5K and 10K breakfasts for the Dopey Challenge?
- Am I running with a large group or another runner who is interested in participating in Runner’s World Challenge?
- Do I need the training plans, or do I already have a coach/training plan in place?
- Would I need to purchase extra tickets to the breakfasts/Pasta in the Park or Platinum ChEAR Squad for my spouse/family members? If I wouldn’t purchase the separate tickets, would I use each component in the package to justify the full value of the experience included in the package?
- If I purchase events separately, would I be willing to possibly pay a higher price than the Runner’s World Challenge by paying numerous Active.com fees for each individual event? (At the time of posting, it has not been indicated how participants will register for Runner’s World Challenge.)
- Am I able to put down the full amount of the Runner’s World Challenge at the time of registration? (Race Retreat and Pasta in the Park usually do not sell out as fast as race registrations.)
- Would I prefer to make one purchase to insure that I have admission to all events?
- Is there something special I am celebrating (first race, birthday, anniversary, completion of an event) and would like a VIP/one-of-a-kind experience?
Final Thoughts Would we do this again? Would we recommend this package?
Many readers who have been following these posts may be looking for a “yes” or “no” answer. However, this is a very difficult question to answer directly. Our main issues with the Runner’s World Challenge in 2013 was due to runDisney resort restrictions and not the Runner’s World Challenge portion of the package. This restriction has been eliminated with the option to book your resort separately from the outset of registration this year. Additionally, we both felt that Runner’s World editors and staff were much more familiar with the package offerings and able to provide more guidance during Marathon weekend than the runDisney staff that we encountered during race weekend. We suspect this will change this year since it’s not the 20th anniversary of the Walt Disney World Marathon and it’s the second time for runDisney to offer this package. In our experience with most runDisney events, the kinks are almost completely worked out by the second time an event is offered.
Many have inquired about the training plan designed by Runner’s World experts. There are various training plans offered, including plans specific to the Dopey Challenge. Each training plan includes various levels, from beginner to a time goal. These training plans can be uploaded to the Runner’s World Personal Trainer, which allows you to track your training progress. You also have access to forums specific to the Runner’s World Challenge, which include categories such as nutrition, injury prevention and even a category for those participating in Marathon Weekend at Disney. Since we did not utilize these plans, here is a recap from another blogger who did for the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon.
Another consideration, Runner’s World Challenge participants were able to register by calling into Disney Sports Travel last year and were exempt from Active.com fees associated with runDisney registration. The registration link for 2016 is through Active.com, which means additional fees will most likely be included.
Breakfasts after the 5K and 10K events have been added, which contributes to a higher price. This also creates two additional tickets you will need to purchase for family members if they wish to join you. If you are planning on making this event a family affair, there is extra cost associated with the Runner’s World Challenge for your entire family to enjoy the events together. We hope that if Runner World Challenge offers a discount for family members this year, it will be offered early in the registration season as opposed to only a week prior as it was last year.
Did we feel that there was value associated with the Runner’s World Challenge? Absolutely! We did enjoy the added perks for a special event such as the 20th Anniversary of the Walt Disney World Marathon and the Runner’s World staff is extraordinary. At this time, we haven’t decided if we will participate in the Runner’s World Challenge in the future, especially since it is only offered for the Dopey Challenge. We do feel that the package has been streamlined for 2016 and all of our issues with the package during our experience have been resolved. Our main hesitation is the steep cost at the time of registration. While we would definitely purchase Race Retreat for the both races, we can’t decide if it’s worth the coming up with such a high enrollment fee this early in the race season. It’s also unlikely that we would attend Pasta in the Park and we wouldn’t purchase additional breakfast tickets for our spouses for the 5K or 10K and would be less likely to attend those breakfasts while family members were outside then venue or back at the resort.
Our biggest piece of advice is to really look at the entire package (along with all its components) and determine if the added value is worth it to you. By laying out the price breakdowns, questions to consider and our thoughts, we hope that we have given you plenty of information in order to make an informed decision. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us! We will answer your questions via email, on our Facebook page or even create another post if needed.
Registration for Runner’s World Challenge for 2016 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend opens on Tuesday, April 14.
Disclosure: The authors purchased the Ultimate Runner’s World Challenge package and were not compensated for this review. All opinions are our own.