Posts Tagged by angels stadium

Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon: A Race Course of History, Heritage, and Legacy

In the three years that I have been writing Running at Disney, I’ve found that one of the best things about this experience has been getting to know my fellow Disney runners and reading their stories.  I’ve had the privilege of getting to know John this year when he stared writing Anaheim Antics for RAD and it has been wonderful to follow along in his journey towards his first half marathon.  I’m so proud of what he’s accomplished (wait until you see his time!!) and lucky to call him a friend.  I can’t wait to see where his legs take him next, but for now here is the the big race!

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When I first signed up for the Avengers Half Marathon, I knew I would want to write about the experience for RAD. What I didn’t know was that my actual race experience would differ from my expectations, and not for any reason that had to do with training, fitness, or endurance. In this case, it was the course itself. Winding through several Orange County sites of interest, the course was a personal. Many of the sites on the route were places that held personal and fond memories for me, and numerous other runners.

The start of the race was, of course, on Disneyland Drive, which was once known as West Street. West Street, along with North Street, South Street, and East Street, mark the borders of the original 1857 settlers’ colony of 200 arches, which became the City of Anaheim. Today, few people know the history of these four Anaheim streets, despite crossing them every day.

The starting line, looking north on Disneyland Drive

The starting line, looking north on Disneyland Drive

After winding through the Parks, the course continued down Harbor Blvd, and then turned right on Chapman Avenue. Chapman Avenue is named in honor of Alfred Chapman, who served as Los Angeles City Attorney and Los Angeles County District Attorney. But he is most known as the real estate businessman who, with partner Andrew Glassell, founded the City of Orange in 1888 (Anaheim borders Orange just east of Disneyland). I had the privilege of growing up in the City of Orange, and previously worked at Orange City Hall, so this bit of heritage was rather personal to me.

A beautiful but blustery sunrise on Chapman Avenue

A beautiful but blustery sunrise on Chapman Avenue

The course then wound through a site that was even more personal, and more famous: Christ Cathedral. Previously known as the Crystal Cathedral, it was the home base of Possibility Thinking preacher Rev. Dr. Robert Schuller. Dr. Schuller founded the church (originally known as Garden Grove Community Church) in 1955, the same year Disneyland opened, and built the Cathedral 25 years later to accommodate a growing congregation. Many will recognize the church’s Welcoming Center as Starfleet Headquarters from Star Trek: Into Darkness. On the church’s south side is a decorative display of gold bells, which was donated by Disney Cast Members attending the church in the 1960’s. In its heyday, the church had arguably more of Cast Members in its congregation of any other church in the area. After Dr. Schuller retired, a series of poor management decisions forced the congregation into bankruptcy. The property is now owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, and known as Christ Cathedral. The former Crystal Cathedral congregation renamed itself the Shepherd’s Grove congregation, and moved to a new location just down the street: Our next stop on the course.

Sunrise at Starfleet Headquarters, aka, Christ Cathedral

Sunrise at Starfleet Headquarters, aka, Christ Cathedral

The course continued south on Lewis Street, passing the current home of the Shepherd’s Grove congregation. Many will recognize it as the home of the nationally televised “Hour of Power” television program, the longest running religious television broadcast on the air today. This is also my church home, where serve as director of the Shepherd’s Grove Handbell Ensemble.   It was very heartwarming to see members of the congregation line the route to cheer the runners on as we passed by, especially at 6:30am.

Shepherd’s Grove, home of the “Hour of Power”

Shepherd’s Grove, home of the “Hour of Power”

The course then continued down Garden Grove Blvd, then up the Santa Ana River Trail, and then through Angel Stadium. Angel Stadium is home to the Angels Major League Baseball team, which Disney owned controlling interest from 1996 until the team was sold to Arte Moreno in 2003. Under Disney’s leadership, Angel Stadium underwent a $118 million renovation, turning it into a state of the art facility. Many OC residents like me have grown up here, spending countless weekends in the stadium seats rooting for our Halos. The treat for the runners this day was being able to run through the Stadium itself, running the track around the field. One could easily imagine the good old days of Walt Disney sitting with original team owner Gene Autry in the suites overlooking the field.

Angel Stadium

Angel Stadium

The final leg of the race headed back to the Park, with the Matterhorn straight ahead. Several friends warned me about hitting the wall around mile 11, but it never happened. Perhaps it was the sight of the Matterhorn, or perhaps I was just in good form. I regained some of the speed I lost around mile 7, when encountering brutal wind gusts. The most grueling part of the course was just prior to mile 13. It was a straight shot up the Downtown Disney access road to the finish line, but for some reason, time seemed to pass very slowly. As the crowds got louder, and the finish line came in sight, it seemed like forever until my feet crossed that line. But when I did, it was such an insatiable feeling, as though could run 100 miles more.

Seeing the Matterhorn said the finish was just 2 miles away

Seeing the Matterhorn said the finish was just 2 miles away

Needless to say, I’m a huge fan of this half marathon course. It’s mostly flat, easy to traverse, runner-friendly, and with plenty of points of interest to keep you interested. I truly hope they use this same course for upcoming Disney half marathons. Local residents will no doubt fine many personal touchstones along the route, and out-of-town runners will discover new gems in the jewel that is Orange County’s Resort District.

Oh, and how could I forget to mention my own achievement?   This was my first ever half marathon. My final time was 2 hours, 6minutes, 47 seconds, for a pace of 9 mins 40 seconds per mile. That pace put me 1060th out of 10463 runners. Now it’s on to the Star Wars Half Marathon weekend, where I will be participating in the Rebel Challenge!!

Next Up: The Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend!

Next Up: The Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend!

RADically yours,

John

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John grew up in the Orange County area of California, always living in the shadow of the Disneyland Resort.  Known as the consummate storyteller to his friends, he has had an admiration of Disney since childhood, and is most interested in the Company’s history and heritage.  His favorite memory to date is setting foot in Walt’s apartment over the Main Street Firehouse.  John lives by what he calls the three F’s: faith, fun, and fitness.   Being healthy isn’t about adding years to your life; it’s about adding life to your years.  Nothing sums that up more than making Disney races a goal in every fitness plan.

Running Coast to Coast with Joe Quattrocchi

It’s time for the second installment of Running Coast to Coast!  This month Joe is here to share his experience as a new Disney runner, a first time marathoner and of course a first time Coast to Coaster!  Congrats on an awesome finish!

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Hey guys. My name is Joe Quattrocchi and I wanted to share with everyone my experience with completing the 2014 runDisney Coast to Coast challenge.

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This was my first year “Running at Disney” and the reason why I decided to start running at the Disney theme parks was to become a healthier person. I am a reformed cigarette smoker and quit smoking about four years ago. When I quit smoking, like most people who quit smoking, I gained some weight (about 25 pounds or so). I did not feel good about myself and for the first time in my life, I hit the 200 pound mark. This is when I decided to make a lifestyle change for the better and as someone who grew up going to Walt Disney World twice a year, what better place to sign up for a marathon and to get in shape and lose the weight than at Walt Disney World! So I decided to take the plunge, sign up, and start training for the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon. Not only did my journey to better health begin there, but also my passion for runDisney began.

I started my 19 week marathon training program that would lead me up to the WDW Marathon. Before I knew it, January 2014 was here, I was twenty five pounds lighter, and in the best shape I have been in a long time. I was ready. I had studied the course map, read every runDisney blog imaginable (Thanks RAD!), ordered books on Disney Marathons, listened to the Mickey Miles Podcast (Thanks Mike and Michelle!) for tips on Marathon weekend etc. I then arrived in Orlando and was ready to hit the expo. I was excited to pick up my race materials, marathon bib, take photos, and walk around the expo and take in all that marathon weekend had to offer. When I arrived at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, a feeling of excitement had overcome me that I had not experienced ever. I felt elite, like I was part of an exclusive club that I was going to have the privilege and honor of running in the Walt Disney World Marathon. This was a race that sells out so quickly and I was going to be a part of it. At the same time, immense jealousy plagued me as I saw the booths at the expo for the “Dopey” and “Coast to Coast” challenges. Thinking about how excited I was, I thought to myself, oh I got to do that next time!

Marathon morning came and you could not ask for better weather! It was a nice and cool 55 degrees with little humidity. I was in corral “E” and ready to take on 26.2 miles of magic that were in front of me. The countdown for the race started and one by one, each corral was released with a spectacular fireworks display. For lack of a better phrase, it was awesome, and I got Goosebumps as my corral was released. The miles ticked away quickly and before I knew it, I had arrived at the TTC and the first real sign of spectators. Then, we headed past the Contemporary Resort and hit the Magic Kingdom and Main Street U.S.A. Main Street was packed with spectators and as a Disney fan, it was everything you could imagine it could be.

The miles ticked away as we passed the Grand Floridian, Polynesian (where I got my picture with Lilo and Stitch), and headed to the rear of the Animal Kingdom. Running through Animal Kingdom was pretty cool and I was very tempted to jump on Expedition Everest for a quick ride, but decided against it! However, I did see a few runners take advantage of this perk! At this point, we were at the half marathon point (about 2 hours or so) and the crowds started to build everywhere. We then headed down Osceola Parkway which was probably the worst part of the race. This road was just extremely straight and just boring, but once we hit ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, I knew we were starting to make some head way towards the finish. A few miles in ESPN and back out to the roads and headed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This was another favorite part of the race for me as by the time we hit the studios, it was open to the public for the day. It was amazing to run through the park as it was functioning at the same time. Some of my fondest memories of that race day was random guests cheering my name telling me to “keep going” and that “You (I) could do it!” Just amazing!

Lastly, we exited the studios, ran past the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts and entered EPCOT where we were down the home stretch. Many things were going through my mind at this time. I could not believe that I actually made it this far and that I was about to cross that finish line and complete a marathon. Secondly, I couldn’t believe that something that I had thought about as a kid, thinking it would be cool to run the Walt Disney World Marathon and not knowing anything about long distance running at all, was actually going to happen. Lastly, I didn’t want this journey to end. It was a year long journey from deciding to run the race, to signing up for the race, to training for the race, and then actually running the race. I didn’t want my runDisney journey to end.

Well, I finally saw Spaceship Earth and made that right turn and crossed the finish line in 4:56:19. It was an awesome feeling having that marathon medal put around my neck knowing I completed a goal I had set for myself. I wore that medal proudly for the rest of my trip. When I returned home, there was one thought I could not get out of my mind. That thought was, “I gotta go Coast to Coast!”

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I made my decision to sign up for the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend and the Dumbo Double Dare. (Actually signed up for the Disneyland 5K too!) As someone who had never been to Disneyland before, this was going to be exciting not only visiting the “Happiest place on Earth” for the first time, but also to get my coast to coast medal.  It was a long trip across the country (from New Jersey) to Anaheim but it was totally worth it. Arriving at the Disneyland Hotel and entering the convention center, the excitement which I experienced in January was present again. I picked up my Dumbo race packet and got my Coast to Coast Challenge wristband, I was ready to go. I then proceeded upstairs to the expo and began to wait online for official race merchandise. While standing in line, I began to strike up conversations with others who were also attempting to complete their coast to coast challenge. Everyone started to share stories of which race they completed in Florida and how that experience was. It was almost a bonding experience you were sharing with other runners that you just met but running the coast to coast challenge, it felt like you were on a different level as a Disney fan!

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The next few days passed very quickly as I completed the 5K on Friday and then the 10K race on Saturday. These races were a lot of fun, but I was looking forward to the Disneyland Half Marathon where I would not only complete my Coast to Coast Challenge, but also the Dumbo Double Dare as well.

Race day was finally here and I was all set to go. I started in the B Corral and was waiting for the start of the race. The command was given and we were off! One thing I was disappointed in was that there was no fireworks shot off at the start of the race ( I am sure it was because the hotel and neighborhoods are so close to the starting line). However, runDisney made up for it with lots of lights and lasers and goodies like that. The crowds were fairly good at the start and unlike Walt Disney World, we saw spectators right from the start of the race which was really a nice touch. We raced past the outer perimeter of the Disneyland and Paradise Pier Hotels and made a left hand turn into Disney’s California Adventure Park.   Like Walt Disney World races, you get a lot of backstage time in the theme parks and Disneyland was no different. We entered the rear of DCA and then ended up in “Cars Land” which was probably one of the hi-lights of the race.

Now, unlike a Walt Disney World race experience where essentially you are running completely on the property and are surrounded by areas where characters and entertainment are set up for you, in Disneyland, about mile 4.5 or so, you exit and hit the streets of Anaheim and head towards the Honda Center and Angels Stadium. Even though you are not in the parks and are not seeing any character stops for 8 miles or so, Disney has done a great job of organizing local car clubs, ethnic group performers, cheerleaders, and local bands to help entertain you while you run outside of the Disneyland property. Its not quite the same experience as Walt Disney World, but Disneyland does the best they can with what they have. This is one of the main reasons I think that there is and won’t be a full marathon at Disneyland. Just not enough room. As the end of the race approached, it was a real treat to run through Angels stadium and see literally thousands of people that were outside and inside the stadium and to watch yourself on the jumbotron of a Major League Baseball stadium was pretty cool. In Walt Disney World for the marathon, you also run through the baseball stadium at Wide World of Sports, but this was just way better.

Coming to the finish, we ran around the parking lot of the Disneyland Hotel and finished beside the hotel. The finish was good but not as good as the finish in Walt Disney World where you see Spaceship earth and hang a right hand turn and head home with large grandstands on both sides of you. But don’t get me wrong, every finish at a runDisney race is Magical!

Finally, heading through the finisher corral and getting that Coast to Coast medal was an amazing feeling. After just completing the half marathon and Dumbo Double Dare, I wasn’t even looking forward to those medals. The one that I had my eyes on was that beautiful Black and Gold medal depicting the partners statue.

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After receiving that medal, walking around the parks all day and striking up conversations not only with other Coast to Coast finishers but with other park guests in general comparing stories was a lot of fun. This experience is something that I definitely plan on doing again in the future and I hope that runDisney continues to grow this program!

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Joe Quattrocchi is from Riverdale, NJ and is a proud member of the Essex Running Club.  He has been visiting Walt Disney World for much of his life and has taken over 30 trips to the resort.  Having recently caught the runDisney bug, Joe is the running correspondent for the ResortLoop.com Podcast and has recently joined the Mickey Milers.  He is now registered for the 2015 Dopey Challenge and you can follow along with his racing adventures on Twitter and Instagram!

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Have you completed the runDisney Coast to Coast Challenge?  Want to share your experience?  Send me an email to sarah@runningatdisney.com to be featured on an upcoming Running Coast to Coast!!

RAD Signature 100x75

First Time Running Disney at the 2014 Disneyland Half Marathon

Your first race is something you will never forget.  Your first runDisney race is a memory of a lifetime!  I remember every second of mine like it was yesterday.  This year, Celissa’s first half marathon AND runDisney race was the Disneyland Half Marathon.  Just look at all the fun she had!

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It never crossed my mind that I would one day run a half marathon. I never pictured myself running such a long distance and saying that I am a runner. But today, I am extremely proud to say that I am a half marathoner!! Not only did I complete a half marathon; I completed a runDisney half marathon!!

I signed up for the Disneyland Half Marathon under heavy medication after having my wisdom teeth pulled out. I disliked running but I have always wanted to participate in a runDisney event. A couple of weeks after signing up and after my little sister pushing me, I downloaded the training plan by Jeff Galloway and started my new running road to complete the half marathon in once piece.

Well August came fast and it was time to head to Disneyland to attend the Disneyland Half Marathon Expo. I had read that the expo had been chaotic in the past, but it was such a breeze. I was so excited to get my bib and t-shirt!! Words cannot express the emotions going through my body at the time. This non-runner was going to try to complete a half marathon.

After my mom, sister, and I picked up my bib, we headed to the expo. WOW! We were completely overwhelmed by how many vendors there were. We were able to visit the KT tape table who graciously retaped my shins since they were giving me problems throughout my training. We were also able to see Sean Astin from The Goonies and Lord Of The Rings speak about his experience as a runner. He is such a great speaker and gave us great advice on keeping positive throughout our runs.

kt tape-2014-Disneyland-Half-Marathon

jeff galloway-2014-Disneyland-Half-Marathon

sean astin-2014-Disneyland-Half-Marathon

The next morning, we were up at 3:10 a.m. on race day. I stayed calm as I put on my Goofy costume, but the excitement was creeping up.

goofy mirror-2014-Disneyland-Half-Marathon

As I packed my last Gu in my running belt, all I could think of was what if I was picked up by the sweepers? What if I overheated? Is that possible? Then before I knew it, we were walking towards the Disneyland Hotel and trying to find our way to the corrals. As we followed every runner that was headed the same direction, I started to calm down and enjoy the positive energy that was radiating throughout Downtown Disney. Everyone had a smile on their face amidst the humidity that was starting. We finally made it to the corrals and I had to part with my family since they were not running.

family run-2014-Disneyland-Half-Marathon

I was on my own. I was placed in corral J since I had never ran before and did not submit a running time. Once I reached my corral, corrals A and B were off and the song “Let It Go” from the movie Frozen started playing. Then corrals C and D were off. And then corral E. F. G. H. I. As we started to move closer to the starting line, I had noticed that we had been standing in the same place for close to an hour. Even before my feet realized that they were hurting, we were off! Here we go!!

We reached Mile 1, which seemed to be right around the corner. Mile 2 was filled with school marching bands, color guards and drumlines. They cheered everyone on as we passed by.

incredibles babsy-2014-Disneyland-Half-Marathon

We had finally entered California Adventure and immediately ran into the Green Army men from Toy Story. I continued running and finally hit Paradise Pier! It was so neat seeing all the colors coming from Mickey’s Fun Wheel.

feris wheel-2014-Disneyland-Half-Marathon

carsland-2014-Disneyland-Half-Marathon

I continued running and before I knew it, I was out of California Adventure and into Downtown Disney. While running towards Disneyland, I was able to see my mom and sister waving and gave them high fives as I ran by. Running into Disneyland was AMAZING! Somehow the feeling doesn’t compare to that of just walking in. I ran onto Main Street and saw the drummers from the Soundsational Parade. They totally kept the atmosphere positive and upbeat.

drummers-2014-Disneyland-Half-Marathon

As I headed down Main Street, I was able to stop and took a picture with the Three Caballeros (minus Donald).

birds and me-2014-Disneyland-Half-Marathon

The course took us in front of the partners statue and into Frontierland, having us pass Thunder Mountain and into Fantasyland. I had just missed Dumbo flying in the air when I took my picture, but there wasn’t a line so I asked the cast member to take a picture.

dumbo-2014-Disneyland-Half-Marathon

All the cast members were so helpful and never hesitated to take pictures. I passed the carousel and heard Cinderella’s step sisters yelling at us from the horses. I continued the course and ran into Sleeping Beauty’s castle!!! This is one of the highlights of the entire race and it was fantastic to hear music coming from the castle!

castle-2014-Disneyland-Half-Marathon

me and castle-2014-Disneyland-Half-Marathon

We ran out of the castle and into Tomorrowland where I was able to take a picture with Darth Vadar!

darth-2014-Disneyland-Half-Marathon

The course went from Tomorrowland then between the Matterhorn and Finding Nemo. As we were running to ToonTown, we saw Jafar and Maleficent out for pictures as well as Dr.Facilier and Cruella De Ville. I ran into Toon Town and got a picture with the Army Men from Toy Story. I thought it was so neat to begin and end the course throughout the parks with the green army men.

army men-2014-Disneyland-Half-Marathon

We headed out of Disneyland and into the backlot where we were greeted by the custodial staff and the beautiful Clydesdale horses.

horse-2014-Disneyland-Half-Marathon

From then on was all highway. There were plenty of water and Powerade stations to refuel yourself along the way. So many marching bands and cheerleaders, florklorico dancers, Polynesian dancers, and rows and rows of classic cars entertained us.  Thank you spectators for getting up so early to cheer us on!!

dancers-2014-Disneyland-Half-Marathon

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I headed towards the Honda Center, which I had never seen before, and then the course lead us onto the Santa Ana trail which was dry but gorgeous. And hot! The sun had decided to peak his head out and join us for a 13.1 mile run.

honda center-2014-Disneyland-Half-Marathon

trail-2014-Disneyland-Half-Marathon

We continued running and finally saw the Anaheim Angles Stadium! Oh. My. Goodness! Running into the stadium was amazing!  Everyone in the stands made us feel like rockstars! It ended too soon, but that meant that we were close to the finish line!

angels-2014-Disneyland-Half-Marathon

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Miles 10 to 12 became extremely blurry since I had pulled a muscle and was running with a little bit of pain, but I was still determined on finishing strong and upright. We passed some more encouraging cheerleaders who were yelling that we were almost there.  And there it was…the back of the Hollywood Tower Hotel! Next came mile 12 and I could hear the cheering getting louder!

mile 12-2014-Disneyland-Half-Marathon

We passed the back of California Adventure and rounded the corner that lead us to the Disneyland Hotel. I saw it! Mile 13! I felt my smile getting wider and my eyes get teary because I, the non runner, made it to mile 13.

mile 13-2014-Disneyland-Half-Marathon

I saw my little sister close to the finish line and I heard her yell “You’re almost there! Take a selfie” WHAT!?! I turned and almost fell and thought GEEZE that would have been awful to be feet away from the finish line and fall!

running to finish-2014-Disneyland-Half-Marathon

finish-2014-Disneyland-Half-Marathon

I ran to the right to give Minnie a high-five and crossed the finish line SMILING!! I turned to see my sister and she was cheering her head off. My sister is my inspiration for running! I ran this race for her! She is the runner in our family, but sadly, she was attacked by dog and injured one of the discs in her lower back. I ran this race because right now she can’t. I also ran this race because I wanted to prove to myself that I could! And Disney made it more magical. I received my medal and just couldn’t stop staring at it. I met up with my family and the waterworks started! 13.1 miles! Not a lot of people can say that they ran a half marathon!

finish yay-2014-Disneyland-Half-Marathon

with medal-2014-Disneyland-Half-Marathon

I am now a half marathoner and I am so happy that runDisney was my first! It was such an amazing event! All the soreness and pain that is caused by training is so worth it at the end. I wanted to pick my favorite part of the race but the whole race was my favorite part. From start to finish. If you think you can’t do, you CAN! And once you cross that finish line and receive your medal, you will be so happy that you signed up!

I have signed up for the Avenger Half Marathon in November and I can happily say that I have become obsessed with running. I feel the strength in my legs and lungs. I will continue to run and train until I can cross that finish line with my sister.

medal--2014-Disneyland-Half-Marathon

I am a runner!! Yup, I said it.  See you all at the starting line!

i did it-2014-Disneyland-Half-Marathon

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Celissa has been a lover of Disney since she first kicked in her mothers tummy 29 years ago. She now enjoys running and hopes to run along side her sister in the 2018 Walt Disney World Marathon. She hopes to one day work for the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank,Ca. She has amazing support from her mom, dad, sister and husband.

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Course Maps and Corral Placement

All the details for Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend are being released and I am getting SO excited!!  I can’t believe it’s right around the corner….oh how time flies!  The course maps have been released for all of the races, along with corral placements.  Let’s take a look!

Course Maps

Disneyland Half Marathon Course Map

Disneyland Half Marathon Course Map

This course is basically unchanged from past years, with what looks to be a slight change to the entrance to Angels Stadium.  I am really looking forward to that part of the course!

Disneyland 10K and 5K Course Map

Disneyland 10K and 5K Course Map

I LOVE that the majority of the 10K is run through the parks.  This is going to be such a fun race!!  Having never been to Disneyland, this is going to be a wonderful way to experience both parks!

Corral Assignments

Corral assignments are based on the proof of time that you provided during registration.  You can find your bib number by going here and downloading your waiver.  You will find your bib number at the bottom of the waiver form.  My bib for Dumbo Double Dare is 23983.  Here are the corral assignments for the Disneyland 10K, Disneyland Half Marathon and Dumbo Double Dare based on your bib number:

CorralAssignmentsD10K

CorralAssignmentsDLHM

CorralAssignmentsDDD

So it looks like I’m in corral E.  I can deal with that 🙂

Runner tracking is also available for spectators and those cheering us on virtually…you all are the BEST!!  Go here and enter the last name of the person you are looking to track.  You can also send out updates via Twitter and Facebook.

Final race instructions for each race and the Official Race Program are also now available along with a ton of information on the runDisney event page under Runner Info.

What is your favorite part of each course?  What corral are you in?