Disneyland Half Marathon – 31 Aug 2014

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After running the Tinkerbell 10k this past January, and the Castaway Cay 5k later that same week, I felt like a half marathon was in my near future. I decided during the 10k that I was ready for the Disneyland Half Marathon, and maybe even the Dumbo Double Dare! But when registration opened up, I was a little late to get to a computer and the Dumbo was already sold out. So I settled with just the Half.

Last weekend we finally ran it! It was amazing! I was totally and completely unprepared, but I trekked on and made my way to the finish line.

No one knows how to throw an event like Disney. Just like the Tink10k, this felt like a big party. A big running party! 13.1 miles of partying haha.

IMG_0081(Tinkerbell 10k – January 2014)

The Expo
Our Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend started on Friday when we got our packets at the Expo at the Disneyland Hotel (usually opens Thursday to Saturday on marathon weekends). Downstairs in the parking garage, they set up booths where we got our bibs, a book of instructions, and our official runDisney pin for this event. You know us and our pin trading!

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In the Exhibit Hall, we got our shirts and a see-through runDisney bag that doubles as a bag you can check-in the day of the race. Companies also have booths set up showcasing fitness products for sale and speakers are scheduled for seminars throughout the day.

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(enlarge and zoom in to see runDisney events)

The Run
Sunday was The Day. A day that I wasn’t able to prepare for, unfortunately. Mentally, I was already thinking of the possibility of not finishing, but I tried to stay positive. I thought EJ was going to leave me too because he actually trained for it. Physically, I felt tight. I hydrated all of Saturday, but I completely forgot to stretch throughout the week. No pain anywhere though, which was a really really good thing.

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We were in Corral J, the very last corral. Corral A started off with a bang! Literally. We could see fireworks go off at the Start Line. We waited about an hour for the rest of the corrals to start. Corral J got to the Start Line at around 6:30am. There were people everywhere!

 

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When the run finally started, I started off slow to conserve energy for the next 13 miles. The first three miles were fun because they were mainly in the parks. Yes, INSIDE! We ran some parts in the Cast Member Only areas. Some floats were out playing the music from the parades. Many Cast Members that worked night shift were along the sidelines to cheer us on.

Local high schools sent their bands and dance teams out to cheer as well! EJ got very hyped when everyone offered him high-fives.

Many Character Meet and Greets were set up along the course! Those were fun! I really wanted to stop and take pictures with them, but some of those lines were super long! Especially the Darth Vader line! So we just took some quick selfies and went on.

Jafar with the Evil Queen, then Malificent

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Darth Vader with Storm Troopers, then Mater and Lightning McQueen

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Obligatory Castle and Mickey Fun Wheel Photo

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Once we got out of the parks, it was more comfortable because there was more space to spread out. A lot of people in the community were out to support. Some with fun and motivational signs, some with first aid kits and hydration. I thought that was very thoughtful.

I liked running the streets because that’s what I’m used to at home. I passed the time checking out everyone’s costumes. A lot of people dressed up and some were super creative! One of my favorite parts of a runDisney event.

Next exciting part of the run was going through Angel’s Stadium. The course was set up on the field and there were many, many people in the stand. I didn’t get to look much, but a lot of them seemed like they were from boy scout and girl scout troops. It was cute to see all the kids, but we ran on the dirt part of the field, and when we got out I noticed some of it went in my shoe. So we had to pull over to get it out.

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runDisney also did an amazing job at setting up hydration stations and first aid tents. Plenty of volunteers were available handing out cups so you wouldn’t have to stop.

By Mile 12, the course went back into the parks and there were crowds of people cheering and waiting for loved ones to finish.

The finish line was by the parking lot of the Disneyland Hotel and Mickey was there too! Volunteers were handing out medals as you crossed the finish and other volunteers were handing out cooling towels.

Everything ran very smooth. I can’t say I was impressed because this is just the standard that Disney goes by. Things are well thought out and excellent customer service is always their goal. This run definitely met my expectations. I have no doubt that I’ll do another runDisney event in the future!

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runDisney Bucket List

  • Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend
    • Rebel Challenge – Half + 10k
  • Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend
    • Half Marathon
  • Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend
    • Half Marathon
  • Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend
    • Goofy Race and a Half – Full + Half
    • Dopey Challenge – Full + Half + 10k + 5k
  • Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend
    • Dumbo Double Dare – Half + 10k

Completed runDisney events

  • Tinkerbell 10k – done January 2014
  • Disneyland Half Marathon – done August 2014

I have a long way to go! I wish I was able to take more pictures, but my main focus with this run was just to stay hydrated and finish. Maybe in the next run…

What’s your favorite part of a runDisney event? Which races have you done?

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