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A look at Disney’s 2012 Princess Half Marathon – World’s largest women’s sporting event

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More than 19,000 women raced in this morning’s Princess Half Marathon at Walt Disney World, making it the world’s largest women’s sporting event. This was the fourth year of the race, and it has grown tremendously. The inaugural run had 8,000 participants.


This view of the staging area gives an idea of how large the event is.


We have a highlight video of the event here. What follows in this article are additional details.

Run along in Disney's Princess Half Marathon 2012 at Walt Disney World

Many of the women dress in costume for the race.


The entire course is lined with entertainment and visual distractions like this hot air balloon in the middle of World Drive.


A highlight of the race is rounding the turn in Town Square and seeing Cinderella Castle in the distance.

Family and friends of the runners line the street and cheer the princesses on.

As you reach the hub of the park you can spot the carousel glowing through the castle portal.


Not everyone runs the marathon. In fact, thousands upon thousands walk the entire 13.1 miles. Or follow a runDisney.com web site training suggestion to do a run-walk, where you run a short distance, walk an equally short distance, and repeat.

Walking the course is fun, and gives a unique perspective of the size of the Walt Disney World Resort.


A major appeal of the race is posing with Disney characters along the way. You can bring your own camera, or many of the characters also have an official photographer so that you can buy a professional picture online after the race.


An interesting fact about the Princess Half Marathon is that four years ago it was the first time they closed both sides of World Drive for a running event. Note there are no cars seen here, except the police vehicle stationed at the Epcot entrance ramp.


The monorail continually shuttles spectators between the Magic Kingdom resort area and Epcot.


The final stretch of the race is down the middle of Epcot, to World Showcase and back, and then to the finish in the Epcot parking lot.


Men can also enter the Princess Half Marathon. Four years ago, there were 300 men, this year there were approximately 1,400. However, this race is about the ladies. Men start with a delay, from Corral C, meaning they start in the third wave, in the third start. The people lined up at the fence here are in the front of Corral D. There are eight corrals or starts, A through H. The bridge seen here is the one that connects the Key West resort area and Epcot backstage.

 Nearly all men start in Corral C. However, the Fairy Godmother has asked a few trusted knights to be ambassadors for the event, and help the princesses achieve their dreams. This knight is part of the Clif Bar pacing team, and is there to help princesses finish a 1:50 half marathon. You can tell from his mylar finisher blanket (with Mickeys) that he often does Walt Disney World races.

Here’s the royal knight, surrounded by princesses who are about to run through Cinderella Castle.


This is this year’s first place male from the Corral C start, approaching the Contemporary Resort.

This is the second place male from the Corral C start, just after leaving Frontierland.


Men also have fun and dress in costume for the race. Here’s a man dressed as, ah, Chip and Dale …


Rapunzel, following a man who is pretty in pink.

This man is wearing the official race shirt from two years ago. A change in the event this year is that they now offer shirt sizes for men. Note how this older race shirt is sculpted for a lady.


Here’s some of the nice-looking logos for other shirts sold at the race expo.


We also have a music video here with highlights of the Tangled 5K race through Epcot. The 3.1 mile fun run ran through the park just after dawn.

"Tangled" Royal Family 5K 2012 for Princess Half Marathon weekend at Disney World

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