Thankfully, I met many friends through this blog who pointed me in the right direction. For example Team Run Disney, which I have talked about here before. A group of great people that are Disney fans and can (and will) help you answering the questions you may have and supporting you every step of the way. If you think this Run Disney "thing" is something you will be doing, I highly recommend you join them on Facebook.
The other resource I found extremely helpful was the book we are talking about today, Magical Miles: The Runner's Guide to Walt Disney World, written by Megan Biller and with contributions by Krista Albrecht. I bought a copy of this book back in 2013 and I can say without hesitation that running shoes aside, this is the most important investment I made for Marathon Weekend.
I'm gonna try really hard to not sound like I was paid to say this (and I wasn't by the way, this is my honest opinion) but objectively, there is no other guide like this one out there and it covers every possible question you could ever conceive regarding any of the races held at Disney World or Disneyland (and Paris is coming in the near future I hear...) Accommodations (both on-site and off), meals, where to eat (runner focused), registration, what to bring, what happens on race day, what happens if you can't make it... it's all covered in an easy to understand way. It is also a great reference. If you are totally new to the world of Run Disney, you can pick up this book and read it cover to cover or if you have a little more experience or simply want some information on a particular matter, you can jump straight to that section with no problem.
Without going into the details -I would rather you get those straight from Megan and Krista- I will tell you the two things that I appreciate the most from this guide:
1. It is truly objective. This is not an "Official" Disney guide and the research for this book was done by going to these races and paying for them just like anybody else. When they give you the rundown on why something is worth it for you or not, it's because they tried it and are giving you first hand knowledge. Megan in fact is a Dopey Challenge finisher along with her many, many other pieces of Disney bling.
2. They work hard. Every year. Back when I bought my first copy, there was no Dopey Challenge. No Star Wars or Avengers Half Marathon. Therefore the guide didn't include it. Well, now it does. As Run Disney continues to grow, so does the guide. You can bet that if you get the most recent edition, you will have the most up to date information (at the time of publishing) in your hands.
So there you have it. A complete guide to the oftentimes crazy world of RunDisney written by runners who are Disney fans. What else could you ask for?
Oh, you could ask for more huh? What, you want it free? You do? Well ask and you shall receive!
To celebrate my return to Marathon Weekend in January and to pay it forward since this guide helped me so much, I'm hoping it can help others I'm going to give away two copies of this guide's latest edition (2016). All you gotta do is this:
1. Leave a comment here. Come on, don't be shy. You can just let me know how bad you want this book or say hi but leave a comment
2. Follow this link to enter: https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/7ece1ae025102dd4
3. Once there it will ask you to follow me on Twitter so if you have not already done so...
And that's it! Easy. The entry deadline is December 7th so an entire week but don't wait. Enter and win. If you don't win, I still recommend this book so head on over to Amazon.com and grab a copy. All your questions will be answered. At least those regarding runDisney.