Disney offers several options for the ChEAR Squad - bronze, silver, gold and platinum. These offer different levels of cheering support. Bronze is FREE (woo!) and includes an electronic newsletter with spectating tips. Silver includes the newsletter and some gear (blanket, clappers and t-shirt). Gold includes all of the silver items plus a 1 day park ticket, reserved areas and entry into the finish line grandstand. Platinum includes all of the items in the gold package plus the Race Retreat at WDW events or breakfast and parking at Disneyland events.
|Great signage around the Polynesian!|
Armed with our signs and pompoms, we walked to the other side of the Polynesian to watch the runners come down Floridian Way around mile 7.7. My Dad mentioned it was much more crowded than the half - I guess the marathon is the main event! We were easily able to find a spot along the mesh fence for good people watching. The crowd just flew by - it was narrow on this spot on the course which made it a bit challenging for seeing your friends and family. The pace groups always included a very dense crowd - I only hoped Mom wasn't near one! And just like at TTC, while watching for Mom, I spotted some running buddies - Lisa, Katherine, Jenn, Megan, and Scott. After yelling and screaming (yet again) for Mom, we were off to our next spot.
And soon the fun began - I started seeing people I know. I watched Leah come through and then I recognized one of two women in matching outfits - our buddy Tara, runDisney's diet diva! I was excited to recognize her in the crowd and happily yelled some cheers for her. She was smiling and practically skipping through EPCOT - you could tell she was having a blast. I couldn't get my phone out fast enough to photograph her, so you can barely see her in this photo.
After a little while, we started really focusing on the passing crowd as we knew Mom would be coming soon. But we started a bit too late...amazingly Dad spotted her as she was passing us. We yelled her name and I ran to catch up and caught a quick shot of her passing by. She looked strong and seemed happy - awesome.
Overall, it was very easy to spectate and with all of the tools available, saw a lot of people we knew along the course (but sadly missed Corral G!). A little pre-planning certainly helped and we had a good idea of our runner's pace, which made figuring out her arrival at each location a bit simpler. If you're spectating a runDisney race, there are some great resources for you:
- The spectators tab on the runDisney website
- Great signs at the resorts near the race path
- Runner tracking which is offered free of charge. This includes text, email, facebook or twitter alerts. This is great if you're moving around the course to calculate the time to see your runner.
- Interactive Spectator Tool