Racing Across the World – runDisney Travels to Paris

Next stop. Paris.

runDisney holds multiple races at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World every year and has even run events on Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island destination for the cruise line.  But now they’ve crossed the ocean to offer running fans a Disney race in Paris.  Disneyland Paris played host to runDisney’s first international race in September of 2016 to the joy of many Disney athletes.  We talked with Tina Trybus, Manager of Disney Sports and Youth Programs about the race and to find out what might be in store for the future of runDisney races.

At the starting line for runDisney Paris! © Disney / As to Disney properties

I asked Tina what enticed them to try hopping across the pond.  Was it runner interest or something they wanted to try?  “A little of both,” she replied.  “runDisney has expanded and been successful with other events and we wanted to see if it can work in France with the audience they appeal to.  The potential was very appealing.  We hoped to entice international runners to come try a Disney vacation, to not only run in an event but to turn that into something for the whole family.  It was very interesting trying to blend the European view of running with the domestic experience of guests.”

Running through the French countryside offers an unique look at the beautiful surroundings. © Disney / As to Disney properties

Some of those differences were logistical.  The age parameters for distance running is not the same in Europe as it is in America and you have to be medically cleared by a doctor to run.  It was also a question of how to address the destination and the brand in a different country.  One interesting fact about the race – 40% of registrants came from the US!  One of the hopes of hosting the race was to generate interest among European runners to come and try running a race in the states (which may still happen), but they found they captured the imagination of US runners to come try their legs in Paris.  Because there isn’t as much Disney property like there is in Orlando, part of the half marathon was run in the French countryside.  That must have been beautiful.  Tina did mention that there was even a Castle to Chateau medal and since they are adding a 10K to the race itinerary this year a challenge medal will be added, and with this being the 25th anniversary of the park, that too will be “woven into the inspiration for the medals and athlete amenities for the event in 2017.”  Can’t wait!

I asked her if there were plans to have a race in every Disney theme park.  “No plans specifically,” Tina shared. “Long term we would love a race through every castle around the globe.  Hong Kong has some experience with races and they have an appetite for it, but right now we’re just having conversations about it.”  Well, knowing the runDisney team and the great job they do in hosting a race, that might very well come to pass.  Can’t wait to see what they do next!

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