Skip to content

Disney World Half Marathon Corral Assignments

Loved this marathon! (about: 2017)
Course: 5 Organization: 5 Fans: 4
C. K. from Kalamazoo, MI (1/21/17)
6-10 previous marathons | 1 Disney World Marathon

This was my 8th marathon, and first time doing a runDisney event. I was signed up for the Dopey Challenge (5K-10K-Half-Full), but the half was cancelled due to possible lightning on course. Like lots of other runners, I did go ahead and run 13.1 miles at my hotel and it was great fun to see spontaneous spectators, water stops and runners out with their bibs on.

Now for the marathon:

Positive: You will never run a course with so much entertainment anywhere else. In addition to four theme parks, there are probably a dozen character stops, bands, some areas with good spectators and all sorts of other entertainment on course. Not to mention the many, many people in very fun costumes. The bling - I went home with 6 of the nicest medals (for Dopey) and 5 awesome long sleeve tech shirts. I thought the organization was good for so many runners going through all those theme parks. Tons of porta potties, tons of water/gatorade stops, 2 banana stops, 2 gu stops and a chocolate stop (although weird to get the chocolate with no water for quite a while after). Lots of medical support out on course. Busing to/from resorts was easy albeit early. Corrals reduced crowding and were efficiently released. Definitely submit a proof of time so that you end up in the right one.

Also, while we were disappointed that the half was cancelled, I think runDisney was incredibly generous with refunds and trying to get people into the full if they wanted to do that. I can only imagine how difficult the decision to cancel must have been for the organizers.

Negative: It's expensive. But honestly, totally worth it. The other runners were great, almost without exception. Yes, there are a ton of walk/run folks on course, but the only time this was really a problem for us was when my partner and I got caught in the pace group right near the castle bottleneck in the Magic Kingdom. There were just SO many walk/runners that we couldn't help but get stuck behind them for awhile. But really, the vast majority were polite and we didn't run into problems with 5-6 abreast as others have mentioned. We left in Corral F, so maybe that helped. Early starts. We actually did fine with this, but we had to be on the buses by 3:30 (and it was the fourth day of early for us) and yes, there is an incredibly long walk from where the buses drop you to the corrals. Over a mile walk, but we just looked at this as a nice warm up. And a welcome one, because it was COLD in 2017 - 30s at the start. We wore throwaway sweats over cold weather running gear and we were fine, but kind of astonished to see people at the start waiting for over an hour in short sleeves or shorts. BRR. The communication is often complained about - I was actually fine with the communication, with one exception. The website said we would be getting frequent emails as the race approached (weekly maybe?) and I wasn't getting any. I started to worry that maybe I wasn't actually registered or something, finally checked in on a discussion board and realized that indeed, it wasn't an issue with me, runDisney just wasn't actually sending emails. The Expo is a total zoo and a ton of walking to get to the check in, etc. We didn't even try to get into the main exhibitor area because the line was easily a quarter to half a mile long (not kidding). Also, we kind of hated the part of the course that goes through Wide World of Sports. Lots of turns, we were tired by then, and my partner and I aren't into sports (except running!). But every marathon course has some parts that aren't great, so not really a huge deal.

Overall, this race is just a ton of fun - magical even! I'd definitely rank it among my favorite marathons. I think if we had been serious about a PR instead of doing the Dopey and enjoying the parks with family, I don't think anything would have really prevented going for it. With the corrals, the crowding was no worse than any other major marathon, the course if flat and the cold weather was actually pretty great for running, just not for waiting to run. There are very few marathons I'd consider running twice, but this is definitely one of them.

I was thinking back to where I was a year ago, getting geared up for my first race (a local Turkey Trot 10k) in over a decade, and freaking out about my crazy goal of running the Princess Half Marathon.  I do not deal well with uncertainty and tend to over-research things in advance so I know what to expect.

So, I spent untold hours last year scouring the internet for tips, recaps and explanations about how runDisney races work.  I’ve found that runDisney is a lot like Disney.  You can just show up and have a great time.  Or, you can do a little extra planning and research and have an even better time.

So for anyone who is sitting where I was a year ago, ready to do a runDisney race but a little apprehensive and anxious about all the runDisney details, I am putting together a series called runDisney Basics to outline all the things that were a mystery to me last year.  I hope this helps!

Today’s topic is Corrals.  I still laugh a little whenever I have to discuss my corral with anyone who is unfamiliar with racing because it makes me feel like livestock.  And, honestly, the name is pretty appropriate, as you’ll soon see.

In a small local race, everyone just lines up wherever they want.  Typically the speedsters are at the front and the slower folks are at the back but it is not enforced (and newer racers may not even understand that it is supposed to work that way), so you often end up with a lot of chaos at the start while people settle into their correct paces and places in the first half mile or so.

In larger races, they often have informal corrals, with signs indicating different paces.  They encourage runners to line up near the sign that indicates their pace.  And the biggest races enforce corrals that are monitored and that you have to qualify for.  As you can imagine with over 26,000 runners at some runDisney races it wouldn’t be safe or fun to have people just start wherever they wanted to.

Here are the questions I had a year ago that took some digging to answer at the time.

  • What is a Corral?
    • Corrals are groups of runners, generally set based on projected race pace.  For runDisney they are lettered A (first corral), B (second corral), C (third corral), D (fourth corral), and so on.
  • How are Corrals assigned?
    • When you register you are asked to an estimated finish time.  You must provide proof of time from a recent race to support any estimated finish time less than 3:15 for the half marathon distance.
  • How do you get proof of time?
    • The race must be a 10k or longer and must have been run within about two years of the race date.
    • The runDisney website says it has to be a certified race, but they have (so far) accepted any official race that has time results posted on the internet.
    • You cannot give them unofficial results, such as a Garmin report from a training run, it has to be an actual race.
    • You have to put the following on your registration:
      • Name of Race
      • Distance
      • City
      • State
      • Date
      • Finish time
  • What if I haven’t run a 10k or longer when I register but plan to do so prior to the race?
    • You should register with a estimated finish time of 3:15 or more.
    • Note the corral change deadline listed on the runDisney website.  For Princess Half 2014, the deadline to make changes is December 1, 2013.  You used to be able to update your corral at the Expo, but that has been discontinued starting with the 2014 races.
    • If you run a 10k or longer prior to the deadline for your race, you can submit the information above online at runDisney.  Look for your event and then search under Runner Info or Registration for Proof-of-Time to find the link.
    • If you have any questions about your proof of time, contact
  • Why is corral placement important?
    • The closer to the front you can get, the less crowded the course will be.
    • Running or walking with others who are going the same pace as you is a much better experience than either having to weave around thousands (literally) of people going slower than you or having thousands (literally) of runners blowing past you while you try to stay out of their way.
    • If everyone is in their proper corral for their realistic pace, the race is much safer.  No one wants to twist an ankle hopping on the grass to avoid someone else or to cause someone to fall because their paces are so different.
  • When and how will I know what corral I’m in?
    • runDisney releases the waivers 4-6 weeks prior to the race online.  When you print your waiver, it will have a bib number on it.
      • The lower the bib number, the higher the corral.
    • Around the same time, generally a few days later,runDisney will publish the corral chart that shows the ranges of bib numbers assigned to each corral.
    • When you get your bib at the Expo, it will have your corral letter printed on it at the top.
  • What if my friend/spouse/child/parent is assigned to a different corral but we want to run together?
    • You can always drop back to run in a later corral but you cannot move up to an earlier corral.  So if you’re in corral A and your friend is in corral F, you can both run in F but you cannot run together in A (or in any corral higher than F in this example).
  • Are the corrals really monitored?  Can’t I just start wherever I want to?
    • The entrances to the corrals (especially the earlier corrals) are monitored.  Some people will jump the fences to get in an earlier corral but I wouldn’t do it (I’m a rules follower).
    • As the corrals are getting smaller, I suspect the monitoring will be closer.
  • How will I find my corral?
    • runDisney has signs directing you to the corral entrances, and then when you get closer to the start area, you’ll see large lit up balloon type things with letters on them.  Just head towards your letter.
  • Where should I line up once I’m in my corral?
    • For the Princess Half in 2013, I was in Corral B, but I just barely squeaked in based on my 10k time.  So, I chose not to line up at the very start of the corral, but somewhere behind the halfway spot.   If you’re expecting to be running faster than the corral you’re placed in, feel free to line up at the very front.  If you’re injured or sick and expect to be going slower, it might be a good idea to line up towards the back and towards the side.
  • Do the corrals all start at once or is the start staggered?
    • The corrals start separately at predetermined times which are usually listed in the race program.  For the Princess Half in 2013, they did fireworks and a whole start ceremony for every corral.  For 2014, there are a lot more corrals and they are smaller and start closer together, so I’m not sure if they’ll have time to do fireworks for each corral, but I hope they do.
    • For Wine & Dine, the corral start times are:
      • 9:58 p.m. – Wheelchair Start
      • 10:00 p.m. – Corral A Start
      • 10:02 p.m. – Corral B Start
      • 10:04 p.m. – Corral C Start
      • 10:06 p.m. – Corral D Start
      • 10:09 p.m. – Corral E Start
      • 10:12 p.m. – Corral F Start
      • 10:15 p.m. – Corral G Start
      • 10:19 p.m. – Corral H Start
      • 10:23 p.m. – Corral I Start
      • 10:28 p.m. – Corral J Start
      • 10:33 p.m. – Corral K Start
      • 10:40 p.m. – Corral L Start

Hope this was helpful.  If you have any other corral questions, just ask!

Posted inRunDisney, runDisney Basicspermalink