Chunking the Walt Disney World Marathon

So a marathon can seem like an overwhelming feat – I mean it is traveling over 26 miles by foot!

One of the best things about the Walt Disney World Marathon is that there is always something to look forward to!  No matter what part of the race you’re at, there’s either another park, attraction or eventually the finish line coming up!

The thought of the overall marathon distance becomes much easier to swallow when you break it down in to smaller (more digestible!) bite size pieces – i.e. “chunk” it!

Chunking is actually a reading strategy that my sister used to use in school that helps students to organize and process information – so let’s “chunk” the Walt Disney World Marathon!


Chunk #1 – Start to Mile 6

Chunk #1 of the Walt Disney World Marathon takes you from the starting line through the Magic Kingdom!  The first few miles are mostly highway running, but focus on the reward towards the end of this leg – running down Main Street U.S.A towards Cinderella Castle!

Chunk #2 – Miles 6 to 8

The next chunk is only a few miles as you leave the Magic Kingdom and look forward to the Walt Disney World Speedway!  While the Speedway isn’t terribly exciting, it is something different than just highway running and hopefully they’ll have some of the celebri-cars from Cars out there this year!

Full Speedway

Chunk #3 – Miles 9 to 13

As you leave the Speedway, your next goal is Animal Kingdom!  Keep your sights set on the Tree of Life and Everest – plus on your way out you’ll be passing the halfway point of the marathon!  (See, didn’t that go faster in “chunks”?!)

Animal Kingdom Collage

Chunk #4 – Miles 13 to 20

Chunk #4 is the longest and arguably the most difficult of the race, so be ready, but don’t get discouraged!  Once you leave Animal Kingdom there’s about 4 miles between you and the highlight of the next “chunk”, but once you enter the ESPN Wide World of Sports they somehow managed to twist, turn and loop you through it for almost 3 miles – good news is when you come out on the other side you’ll be at mile 20!

ESPN Collage

**See the sponge tucked in to my shirt in the picture above? They were giving them out at mile 17.  TIP – if it’s a hot day KEEP THE SPONGE! You’ll be happy you have it later!**

Chunk #5 – Miles 20 to 24

This is your last long stretch – YOU GOT THIS!  Just a few miles of highway (and what’s a few miles – think of all the “few mile” runs you did in training!) and you’re in park #3 of 4 – Hollywood Studios!  Enjoy running down New York street and Hollywood Boulevard because by the time you exit Hollywood Studios there’s less than a 5k standing between you and the finish line!

Full Pushups

**And don’t forget to Stop, Drop & Pushup with the Green Army Men!  If you do be sure to send or tag me on the picture!**

Chunk #6 – Miles 24-26.2

THIS IS IT, the home stretch!  Ok, so it’s a bit long for a true “home stretch”, but every year when I exit Hollywood Studios is when I really feel like the finish line is in reach!  You’ll run down the boardwalk in front of the Yacht & Beach Club resorts and there will be plenty of spectators at this point cheering you on!

You’ll enter Epcot through the International Gateway with 1 mile to go and run an incredible victory lap around the World Showcase…

Full World Showcase Pics

…past the mile 26 choir…

Mile 26 Choir

…and to the finish line!


So, if you start to get overwhelmed by the thought of running 26.2 miles, think of it as having to get through 6 parts (each with a fun goal or destination at the end!) , not 26 – much more manageable!   



19 thoughts on “Chunking the Walt Disney World Marathon

  1. So, you clearly wrote this post for me because I’m OBVIOUSLY the only one of your readers have a panic attack hourly over their first FULL MARATHON! And hopefully the sarcasm in that was easy to detect…

    … Except that it is kinda for me even though it’s not FOR ME. We’ll give this chunking a try on Sunday. In the meantime, it’s time for my next panic attack! AHHHHHHHHHHHHH! 🙂

  2. Love chunking! That’s totally how I see this course, too–attraction to attraction! BTW, is it crazy that the petting zoo animals are my fave??? Get some more snaps of them for me. Have fun!

    • Haha, I love seeing the animals too! I especially loved that last year one of them had a race bib on, it was so cute! I’ll try to get some pics for you this year!

  3. I like to break halves into miles 1-5, 6-9 and the long finish. In a full I think it through 1-13, 14-17, 18-22, and the long finish. I try to not even think about racing for the first half of the race, it helps with nerves. I just do the best I can, and push through to the end.

  4. This was exactly my strategy going to into Chicago…really keeps you in the race mentally. And I love all of your pictures along the race course…Disney looks like a fun marathon to do!! Good luck!

  5. Reading this made me really happy. WDW was my first full marathon last year and I ran every step of it alongside my dad. We had a fantastic time. As this year’s race has been approaching, I’ve been getting super nostalgic and sad that we won’t be down there this year.. I’m looking forward to living vicariously through your pics and posts — have an amazing time!!

  6. This is sooo awesome! Good luck! I soooo wanted to do the Dopey Challenge this year, it’s just so pricey paired with traveling, hotel and finding care for the kiddos…. one day… I can’t wait to read all about it!

  7. This is great advice and something I’ve been doing and is such a big help mentally! The Disneyworld marathon was one of my favorite races, I ran it last year. Your post brought back so many good memories 🙂

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