Posts Tagged by 10k

Inaugural Star Wars Dark Side 10K

I’m excited to welcome Krissy to RAD today to give us a recap of the Inaugural Star Wars Dark Side 10K! Krissy and I are kindred spirits…we are both new moms, we are HUGE Disney fans and we both have an obsession with cupcakes.  She’s a runDisney veteran and still loves every magical mile.  Let’s take a trip to the Dark Side with her!

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When runDisney announced a new race weekend to their Walt Disney World line-up, with the Dark Side Half Marathon Weekend, I knew I had to get involved! As a longtime Star Wars fan, runDisney junkie, and Florida resident, it really was a no-brainer…however, there was just one problem – I was six-months pregnant at the time, and was not sure how my post-partum recovery would go.

Still, I knew I wanted to be involved, so I did the sensible thing and registered for the inaugural 10K – a bit more challenging than the 5K, but not as intimidating as a half marathon – and here, seven months later, I am so glad that I took that chance!

For this race weekend, we were guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (DAKL). As a larger race weekend, all Walt Disney World Resort hotels were hosts, and as usual, my experience was smooth and efficient. Although I planned to wake up around 3 AM to catch a 4 AM shuttle, my dear infant daughter had other plans, so I ended up out the door, and on the first bus around 3:15 AM.  Special bonus? I ran into Connie, a friend of mine, and so we sat together on the way over to the race start.

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Like many other WDW races, this starting area was staged in the Epcot parking lot, and once we arrived, we started the walk to the action! There was the standard stage/DJ/music, concession booth, portapotties, and several long lines (would it be Disney without some lines?), which turned out to be character greeting lines of various Star Wars characters, including: a Boba Fett, Jabba the Hutt, Captain Phasma, Darth Vader, and even a backdrop of Han Solo in carbonite.

The weather was pretty much perfect – cool, although a little humid – and, true to the race’s name – still very dark (in fact, the sun didn’t rise until I boarded my bus back to the resort post-race). This darkness made the slow slog of the masses to corrals feel a bit more ominous at 4:45 AM!

For this race, I was seeded in Corral A, and I noticed that the corrals felt a bit more crowded than I had anticipated. Since I had been able to get back to training sooner than I had planned, but was certainly not as speedy as I may have been in the past, I set up camp around 2/3 of the way from the front of the corral, and waited out the start.

Before I knew it (really: I think the Star Wars clips really helped the wait!), the wheelchairs were off, and then, Corral A! We were off for 6.2 miles of intergalactic awesomeness!

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Now, going into this race, I had not yet decided if I was going to straight run, or stop for characters that morning. However, that call was quickly made right before Mile 1 approached, as R2D2 appeared as the first stop of the run, right outside of the cast entrance to Epcot! The line was about 15 runners long, but it moved quickly – probably took 3-4 minutes, tops.

From there, the race moved through the front of Epcot’s World Showcase – through the Mexico gate, past the Showcase Plaza area, Canada, the United Kingdom, then out through the International Gateway, where I definitely had to stop again to meet Chewie!

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The next part of the race took the Boardwalk Path past the resort, then onto the path leading to Hollywood Studios. The path was a bit narrow, and unfortunately, I encountered a few runners who were not heeding to the “no more than two runners abreast” bit of runners etiquette.

Once we reached the gates of Disney’s Hollywood Studios (DHS), I was excited to “run into” Darth Vader! It was somewhat of an unofficial run stop (no Photopass photographer) but it was cool, nevertheless!

Running through DHS was pretty fun! I always enjoy running past iconic landmarks, and truth be told, I had not stepped foot in that park in years, so it was especially cool…there’s just something magical about running through an (almost) empty park! Another favorite moment in DHS? I got to take a “screaming” photo in front of the Hollywood Tower of Terror, right before hitting the 5K mark!

In no time, we were back onto the streets, and we were on our way to the Wide World of Sports. Although this may have typically been a less interesting part of the course, I actually liked the winding uphill overpass, and the straightaway – it kept my mind occupied!

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Turning into the last portion of the “road” portion at Mile 5, there was a big screen that showed forest scenes, a cool transition into the “cross country” portion of the race that I had last run during the late Happy Haunted 5K and Tower of Terror 10-Mile races. The softer terrain was comfy under my feet, and I enjoyed that stretch before making my way into the concrete jungle of ESPN’s Wide World of Sports (ESPN WWoS).

Running past the soccer fields (which were brightly lit – a sight for sore eyes after the previous dark miles!) and I was happy to see my friend Rick. I picked it up a little and caught up with him, which was a great treat after 5+ solo miles!

As we rounded the last turn out toward the parking area, we could see the finish line straight away, and I felt like we were floating! I looked up at the official clock, and was delighted to see we’d be crossing the finish right around 1:20 – not too shabby for character stops, and walking through each water station!

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Making our way through the finisher’s chute, it began to sprinkle – talk about great timing! I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face from the fun race – and I was thoroughly impressed with the finisher’s medal.

After bidding Rick goodbye (and “see you later!” since we were going to meet at the Magic Kingdom later) I was able to board my bus back to my resort without any fuss, and due to the vicinity of ESPN WWoS to DAKL being quite close!

I was very satisfied with my overall race experience with the Inaugural Star Wars Dark Side 10K, and have to say – I was extremely grateful that it was the only race I was registered for that weekend – there is something to be said about taking each race for what its worth and not going overboard with a race challenge once in a while 😉

So, will I be back for another Star Wars race? I have to say – I’ll likely give in to the Dark Side once again – after all – they have bling!

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Krissy is a 14-time marathoner, RRCA-certified Running Coach, Disney Vacation Club Member, and mommy to one sweet girl and two rambunctious pups. She has been participating in runDisney events since 2008.
Visit Krissy at Shiawase Life and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest!

A Look at the Inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend – The Dark Side Medals

The highly anticipated Inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend – The Dark Side is only a few short weeks away and runDisney has released a look at the amazing medals.  I think these might be the coolest ones yet!

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Let’s look at the detail…

Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side

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Super cool spinner featuring Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine.

Star Wars 10K

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Dark Side Challenge

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Received for completing the 10K & Half Marathon.

Kessel Run Challenge

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Received for those who completed this race and the Star Wars Half Marathon – The Light Side in Disneyland back in January.

Star Wars 5K

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Star Wars Kids Races

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Dare I say that I am siding with The Empire and prefer these medals to the The Light Side Weekend??  And can you believe the GIANT Millennium Falcon you will receive for the Kessel Run Challenge?!  That is definitely a goal of mine for the future…how about you?

Which medals do you prefer, The Dark Side or The Light Side??

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Preview of the 2016 Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Merchandise

It’s hard to believe that Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend starts TODAY after all of the craziness surrounding Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend only a few days ago.  But it is here and runDisney has released a preview of some of the gear you will find at the Expo to prove it!  Right off the bat, I’m in love with the retro design on everything…super cool!  Let’s take a look:

Star Wars Half Marathon Gear

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Star Wars 5K, 10K & Rebel Challenge Gear

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Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Gear

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I would like ALL of the drinkware please.  They really did a knock out job with these designs!

2016 Star Wars Half Marathon Dooney & Bourke Bags

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I have to say I’m not in love with the white background for these bags.  I’m still kicking myself that I didn’t get one of the 2015 bags, but you live and learn.  My only hope is that they will come out with a darker design for the Dark Side Weekend in May.  Fingers crossed.

Remember, if you are headed to the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Health & Fitness Expo, make sure to arrive early if you have your heart set on a particular item.  Interested in snagging a pair of the new 2016 New Balance runDisney shoes, including the Ariel Vazee Pace?  Don’t forget to sign up for the Virtual Queue in order to get your pair.

Well I’m certainly jealous of everyone running this weekend and getting this gear!  The Expo opens today at the Disneyland Hotel at 10:00 am PST and will be open through Saturday to pick up this merch, visit with numerous other vendors and hear the great runDisney Speaker Series.

What are you looking forward to getting?

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Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Announced for Walt Disney World!

For those of us on the East Coast, our wishes have been answered!!  Today runDisney has announced that a second Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend will be coming to Walt Disney World on April 14-17, 2016!

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This weekend is called “The Dark Side” and will feature all of the dark forces in the galaxy.  Along with the Half Marathon, there will be a 5K, 10K and Kids Races.  There will also be a challenge called the Dark Side Challenge, the counter to the Rebel Challenge in Disneyland, for those taking on the 10K and Half Marathon.  This will feature a special Death Star medal…say wha?!?!?

Better yet for those taking on the Kessel Run Challenge, running the Star Wars “Coast to Coast” in one year, will receive a Millennium Falcon inspired medal…O.M.G!!!  This is a huge incentive for those already registered for the Star Wars Half in Disneyland to add another race to their schedule.  I simply can’t wait to see these medals!

The race weekend will go on sale September 22nd, with possible DVC and Passholder advanced registration a week or 2 earlier.  Stay tuned for updates.

Here is the official press release:

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL (Aug. 25, 2015) – runDisney is summoning the Force today to announce another Star Wars-inspired intergalactic journey, this time to the dark side.

The “Star Wars Half Marathon – the Dark Side” enters the galaxy April 14-17, 2016, at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and pays homage to the dark side forces of the Star Wars universe. This new race follows the debut of the popular Star Wars-themed race at Disneyland Resort, which will return in January as the “Star Wars Half Marathon – the Light Side”.

“Ever since we launched the Star Wars race at Disneyland Resort, runners have been clamoring for more, so we’re thrilled to bring the Star Wars franchise together with the runDisney brand to Walt Disney World Resort,’’ said Maribeth Bisienere, senior vice president of Disney Sports Enterprises. “If the inaugural Star Wars race at Disneyland Resort is any indication, this new running adventure to the dark side is sure to be the out-of-this-world experience that runners have come to expect at runDisney events.’’

The new Star Wars race at Walt Disney World Resort will be a journey of personal achievement all its own, involving kids’ races, a 5K and a 10K in addition to the half marathon, plus a variety of Star Wars experiences, medals, events and merchandise inspired by a galaxy far, far away. Among its many features will be a unique 13.1-mile course that propels runners through Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios and finishes at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. There will also be a Star Wars Dark Side Challenge — running the 10K and the half marathon on consecutive days – that offers each finisher a Death Star-themed medal.

Jedi and Sith Lords who dare to experience both Star Wars races will have the chance to take on the Kessel Run Challenge — completing the Star Wars half marathon missions on both coasts. Kessel Run Challenge runners can earn a commemorative “Coast to Coast” medal inspired by the Millennium Falcon starship. Race registration opens Sept. 22 at www.runDisney.com.

The addition of this second Star Wars race continues the recent wave of significant growth and popularity of runDisney events domestically and internationally. This is the second new runDisney race announced for 2016, joining the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Weekend (Sept. 23-25 at Disneyland Paris), and the fourth addition to the runDisney series in the last two years (Star Wars Half Marathon at Disneyland Jan. 2015 and Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend Nov. 2014).

Each year more than 200,000 runners sign up for runDisney events, which often sell out in record time.

“We are committed to creating extraordinary experiences and events that appeal to runners of all ages and attract even more fans of our various brands and franchises to the sport of running, creating opportunities for them to live a healthier and more active lifestyle,’’ said Bisienere.

Will you be going to the Dark Side next year?  Are you as excited as I am?!

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Traveling From Australia for a Dopey 50th Birthday

When Andrew first contacted me and told me about the adventure he had planned for his 50th birthday, I was beyond excited to share his experience here on RAD.  Andrew and his family traveled halfway around the world as he took on the Dopey Challenge.  He might have recruited them to run a bit with him as well.

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How best might a runner celebrate a ‘big’ birthday and have the family join in as well?  The Dopey Challenge provided the answer!

Exactly one year ago (and the date of the 2014 WDW marathon) I set the challenge for me and my family: I’m going to run this event next year for my 50th birthday and you’re invited to come with me, but there’s a catch – you have to join me in at least one leg of the Challenge each!

And with that, baited by the idea of an overseas trip (and not really understanding the 3:30 am wake-up times!) the Dopey Challenge for 2015 became a year-long family adventure. From planning the rest of the trip, raising the funds, making the bookings – and training – it was a step up for each family member. But the running was where the big steps were required;

  • for the 14 year old who had never run longer than 10k to run a half,
  • the daughter who isn’t into running to run a 10k,
  • the 16 year old to get out of bed at 3:30am!,
  • the wife to go from 0 kilometers as a runner to a full marathon in exactly 12 months.

Now the other challenge was traveling half way round the world. From Australia to Orlando. From summer to winter. From time zone to who knows what time zone it is! We joked that jet lag might actually help!!

After a white Christmas we hit Orlando and thought it was just as cold! We stayed in a family room at the All Star Resort and it was just the right size and space. We bought 6 day tickets and had marathon Sunday ‘off’. The four events made an incredibly memorable birthday experience that lasted for four days!

The Family 5K was first – and it should have featured Elsa on the medal and not Pluto… it was a truly Frozen event!

These guys had great costumes …. And at least some warmth!

These guys had great costumes …. And at least some warmth!

Despite the cold we had great fun. We started in Corral A which helped get the race over with faster and we dressed up as Peter Pan and Captain Hook. We met a fellow runner whose surname was ‘Hook’ and he even asked to have a photo with us! We got lots of comments about how strange it was for Peter and Hook to be doing something together to which we assured them this was a once-off!

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How hard is it to order a drink around here!!

The 10K was a heat wave by comparison!

After a day at Hollywood Studios – and the last sighting of Mickey’s hat – we got up for the 10K.  Tinker Bell joined me this time and boy was she glad she didn’t have that costume on the day earlier!

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A highlight was the cheerers chanting “Pan and Tink! Pan and Tink!” That really lifted us over the finish line! Another highlight was my 16 year old son racing – and winning – his age group and coming 11th overall 🙂

Magic Kingdom here we come …..

The Half Marathon was a long day!   Not only because of the 3:30am start but because we started in Corral P, the last corral (because one of us didn’t have a qualifying time).

Again it was very cold but there was a lovely warm camaraderie in the very last group. Running with my two super guys was terrific fun as Captain America, Mr. Incredible and Hercules. Once the cold thawed out we got into the run but the lines for character photos were SO long by this stage we pushed on, most of the time on the grass to go around the walkers. No one complained though, they all just enjoyed the experience. For some pretty fast teenagers, this shows how the crowd experience at runDisney events is bigger than individuals.

Sharing my sons first official half marathons was a great feeling for a Dad!

Sharing my sons first official half marathons was a great feeling for a Dad!

Epcot here we come!

Epcot here we come!

Marathon day was amazing.

For this one I was worried about the crowds but the Disney organization really shined. We had so many character photo opportunities, often just running straight into the front of the line. Everything was well spaced and, compared to Corral P, the experience was much more pleasant.

I really enjoyed some of the different experiences – like the Speedway and Wide World of Sports (the track and the baseball ground).

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A light sprinkling of rain at Hollywood Studios was refreshing rather than wet (especially compared to the next day’s thunderstorm). My wife and I ran as Jasmine and Aladdin and two of our favorite photos were with the ‘Aladdin’ characters because of the over-the-top welcome we received!

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Taking along you own personal cheer squad really helps!

And then before you know it, Donald and Pluto greet you at the finish line and you’re wearing 6 medals around your neck and you’re officially “Dopey”. That last kilometer is really a bit of a blur!

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So how do you capture the four days (and year’s journey) in words? I got the kids to wear costumes! I captured it all with (maybe) a million photos! I got to run and experience their running ‘firsts’ as well. We wore medals and enjoyed the Parks together. I still can’t think of another experience where we could do all these things as a family together.  A great birthday overall with a ripper celebration dinner on marathon night at Downtown Disney.

I’ve been disappointed with some posts I’ve been following where runDisney is criticized for many things. Apparently some people think it’s possible to create a perfect Disney experience with 30,000 runners. The logistics were great, any question was answered happily, lots of goodies, great bling. In fact the next running event is going to be hard to match up to this one.

My key bits of advice:

  • Get a time registered or beware of ending up in Corral P. OK if you’re a walker or slow, but if you’re anything of a runner it makes a long hard slog of an event.
  • Make a dinner reservation for the night to make it pleasurable and not like some who wandered around fruitlessly.
  • Get the photo pack – and take in as many opportunities as you can.

The 51st birthday celebrations are going to seem a little low key compared to this!!

 

 

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