Recently, the biggest question asked by runDisney fans on Twitter & FaceBook groups has been:
Will there be a Princess Half Marathon runDisney Meet-Up?
For long-time fans of runDisney, earning a coveted invitation to these pre-race meet-ups has been pure magic. For those who have yet to attend a meet-up hosted by runDisney, the goal of earning an invitation has become a bit of an obsession.
Organized by runDisney, meet-ups the past were announced on the Disney Parks Blog a couple of weeks before race weekend. The link to the blog post was then immediately tweeted out by runDisney, DisneySports & DisneyParks, and all hopefuls were to quickly email an RSVP (as per the post instructions) in an attempt to secure a spot. The number of spots was limited and varied per meet-up.
If selected, you then received confirmation emails with details as to when and where to meet. The meet-ups were truly fun, extraordinary experiences where I met some of the people I am still friends with to this day. We enjoyed a short run through a closed park, ate a small (or sometimes BIG breakfast), took photos with some of our favorite Disney characters, listened to great health and running advice from running legends, collected sweet swag, and sometimes met celebrities running the same races as us. The meet-ups were a fabulous way to kick-off the main event.
So, what about Princess Half Marathon? Will there be a Princess Half Meet-Up in 2014? Alas, no. The answer was provided by runDisney, via the Moms Panel last week. No meet-up is planned at this time. (Just as meet-ups were not planned for 2014 WDW Marathon Weekend & TInker Bell Half Marathon Weekend.)
What does that mean about the future of the runDisney meet-ups? Some eagle-eyed runDisney fans noticed this new "Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Welcome Event Featuring Runners World" event being offered, for a price, during the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend this year. To join in, you simply have to register and pay $89. In fact, many people did, because the Welcome Event is now sold out.
Based on what we've seen with this new event opening up during the Disneyland Half Marathon registration period, it appears as though runDisney is moving in the direction of paid "Welcome Events" in the future. However, one cannot predict what the future will hold. The fan base for runDisney races continues to grow and as the brand struggles to grow with the demand, things will be constantly evolving.
What I DO I know is that I enjoyed every single meet-up I was able to attend. I relished every moment and every mile. I made friends that I cherish, and who have inspired and motivated me to be a stronger runner. I never took these meet-ups for granted, nor did I expect them at every race or feel that we, as runners, are entitled to them. Although it was a nice perk, runDisney is not required to host these events, nor should we feel as if they owe them to us.
I was thankful for each and every meet-up, and the priceless memories of those experiences are mine forever. If you read my Princess Half Meet-Up Recap from 2012, you'll notice there is not a moment I spent in EPCOT that morning that I didn't appreciate.
Click here (or the excerpt above) for my full 2012 Princess Half Meet-Up Recap.
Because there isn't an official runDisney meet-up for Princess Half, I've toyed with idea of organizing an "un"meet-up of social media moms, dads, friends and fans at the EPCOT Starbucks during race weekend. We all love coffee. We all love Disney. Why not put the 2 together? All you have to bring is your best #DisneySide! Details to follow.
Below are links to other runDisney meet-ups I've been fortunate to attend. I look back at these recaps with a smile on my face, still very thankful to runDisney for these magic memories.
This post is part of a Princess Half Marathon Blog Hop. Please click the image below to see other posts related to this fabulous race weekend!