Posts Tagged by coast to coast challenge

2015 Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Info

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This is an inaugural race weekend that has been HIGHLY anticipated for years and it’s so exciting that it’s finally here!!  Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend kicks off in just a few days and to say that I’m jealous of everyone participating is an understatement.  However, I will living vicariously through all of you and anxiously awaiting photos of these amazing medals to begin flooding my social media streams!

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This race weekend is jam packed with Star Wars goodness, so let’s get to the details!  (I apologize in advance for a few of the images and diagrams from runDisney that are not very clear.)

Health & Fitness Expo

Your galactic journey will begin with the Health & Fitness Expo at the Disneyland Hotel and the hours are as follows:

  • Thursday, January 15th: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
  • Friday, January 16th: 9:00 am – 8:00 pm
  • Saturday, January 17th: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm

All race participants MUST attend the expo to turn in signed waivers (click here to print your waiver) and pick up race packets, which include your race bib with B-Tag timing devices, race shirt(s), and gEAR bag. The gEAR bag also doubles as the bag to use for bag check during the race.  This is also where you will receive any commemorative items you may have purchased during registration, like this AMAZING Dooney & Bourke bag.  Who wants to pick one up for me?!?  Seriously…look at this thing!

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When you arrive at the expo, your first stop will be the Lower Exhibit Hall for Packet Pick Up.  Remember that you can no longer have someone pick up your packet for you.  Everyone MUST turn in a waiver, show ID and pick up their own packet.

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You will then proceed to the Upper Exhibit Hall to pick up your race shirt(s) and gEAR bag, visit with vendors, listen to the speaker series, and spend all your money on runDisney merchandise.  I’m sure this merch will be amazing so break open those piggy banks now!

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Resort Transportation

If you are staying at one of the Disneyland Resorts, you will simply be able to walk to the both the Expo and the Starting Line for each race.

If you are staying at a Good Neighbor hotel, there will be complimentary Anaheim Transportation Network (ART) shuttles for the entire weekend for runners and spectators.  This doesn’t just include during race time…it is COMPLIMENTARY ALL WEEKEND, January 15-18.  Make sure to get a pass from one of the drivers…this is a BIG bonus and will save you a lot of time and money!  The shuttles make stops around every 20 minutes, so plan your trip accordingly.  The schedule will be extended to the following times:

  • Thursday, January 15th: 8:20 am – 12:30 am 
  • Friday, January 16th: 3:30 am – 12:30 am
  • Saturday, January 17th: 3:30 am – 12:30 am
  • Sunday, January 18th: 3:30 am – 12:30 am

Here is a map of the Good Neighbor Hotel locations:

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Driving Directions

Parking will be available in the Mickey & Friends Parking Structure located on Disneyland Drive and Ball Road for all weekend events.  Standard parking rates will apply and there are no discounts for runners. Roads will be closing beginning at 5:00 am on race days and there will be numerous detours that will be set up.  Make sure to leave enough time for traffic delays!

Costumes

I’ve seen some great Star Wars costumes during Disney races, but these are sure to be over the top and amazing!  I can’t wait to see how creative everyone will get!  Who could forget Darth Goofy from the 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon?!

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Please note that runners are NOT allowed to wear a face mask of any kind and will be removed from the course if this is violated.  So who are you dressing up as??

Bag Check

Participants MUST use the clear bag provided at the expo to check any belongings during the race and affix the label with their  bib number on the outside.  Bag check will be located in the Lilo Parking Lot/Family Reunion Area.  Bags must be checked by 5:15 am for ALL races prior to heading into the start corrals.  Bags must be picked up by 7:15 am for the 5K, 8:15 for the 10K and 11:00 am for the half marathon at the same location.

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Start Corrals

The start corrals are located on Disneyland Drive between Mickey Way and Paradise Way.  For each race, your corral will be listed on your race bib and you will only be granted access to that corral or the one behind you.  You can find your corral placement by printing you waiver and finding the corresponding corral for your bib number.  Corral placement for the 5K will be available at packet pick-up.

Star Wars 5K

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Star Wars 10K

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Star Wars Half Marathon & Rebel Challenge

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Starting Times

All races will begin at 5:30 am.  The wheelchair start for the half marathon will be at 5:29 am on Sunday, January 18th.  Runners are encouraged to arrive to the staging area no later than one hour prior to the race start time and be in your assigned corrals no later than 30 minutes prior.

Race Bibs

Bibs must be centered on the front of your shirt.  Safety pins will be provided in your race packet at the expo.  Do not bend or fold your bib as the Chrono Track B-tag will be affixed to the back of the bib which will be used to track your time.  If your bib is not properly centered, damaged or covered, your time may not be recorded properly, or more importantly you won’t get any photos!

If you are competing in the Rebel Challenge, you will have one race bib for both the 10K and the Half Marathon, so make sure to take good care of it!

Pacing Requirements

Remember that you must keep a minimum pace of 16-minutes per mile throughout the race or you will run the risk of being picked up and brought to the finish line. Pace cyclists and the dreaded balloon ladies will be on the course to let you know if you have fallen behind.  Keep this in mind if you are planning to stop for character photos.  Those lines can get long and it’s easy to lose track of time.

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Rebel Challenge Participants

If you are participating in this challenge, you will receive a wristband after finishing the Star Wars 10K on Saturday.  This must be worn while running the Star Wars Half Marathon.  After completing the Star Wars Half Marathon, you will need to present this wristband at the Rebel Challenge tent to receive your medal.

Coast to Coast Challenge Participants

If you are participating in this challenge, you will receive a wristband when you pick up your bib at the Health & Fitness Expo.  A runDisney official will put this on for you and it can not be taken off until you complete the Star Wars Half Marathon.  After completing the race, you will need to present this wristband at the Coast to Coast tent to receive your medal.

Course Maps

This Disneyland race weekend is the first to start down Disneyland Drive in a different direction.  I’ll be interested to see what people think of this new course route!

Star Wars 5K

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Star Wars 10K

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Star Wars Half Marathon

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Greg over at Why I runDisney has put together some great posts that give an in-depth look at the Star Wars Half Marathon course.  So if you are interested on what your race will look like, definitely check these out:

More information on other events like the Kids Races and the Wookie Welcome Party is available on the runDisney website and in the Official Event Guide for the weekend.  Also, check out some of my packing tips as you get ready to travel.

Finally, if you will be out in Disneyland, I am still looking for some contributors to cover the events of the weekend.  Here is a list of some ideas for posts and how to contact me.  Also, please tag me in your photos from the weekend on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram…I will cry over them share them all weekend.

MAY THE COURSE BE WITH YOU!

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Coming From Australia to Get Her Coast to Coast! Part 1 – The Wine & Dine Half Marathon

I am SO excited about this two-part series!!  Ashleigh contacted me about doing a guest post on her runDisney experience and when I found out that she was traveling all the way from Australia to run both the Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend AND the Avengers Half Marathon Weekend to complete the Coast to Coast Challenge, I couldn’t wait to hear all about it!!  Here’s Part 1 of Ashleigh’s adventure!

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Hello everybody! Sarah kindly asked if I would blog about my experience running Disney as an Australian having travelled over to the States for Wine and Dine and Avengers. I will be writing a two part series, talking about my trip as a whole and the excitement of Disney and the runDisney races.

Deciding to travel half way across the world for a couple of races was not as easy decision. I am not what you would call a natural runner, I am about as far from a natural runner as you can imagine. I began running in July 2011 when I signed up for a 5k with my mum in support of a friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer.

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My mum and I after my first 5k!

After that I was hooked- I signed up for another 5k and another and another, then a 10k and finally a half marathon a year and a bit later. I found out about runDisney when I saw it mentioned on Facebook, and after doing some research I began following Jeff Galloway’s run-walk program, which is what gave me the confidence to sign up for more races after my first 5k. As someone who has always struggled with running and I had some pretty bad experiences with sport in school (not so supportive physical education teachers), the idea that someone who had run marathons at Olympic level was telling me it was okay to take short walk breaks when I ran was amazing.

So that brought me to the idea of runDisney- I liked everything it stood for, running for the fun of it, running not be the best but to be the best me and hello…Disney characters on course!?! Photo opportunities!?! Wear my medals around at the park the next day and have people stop and congratulate me!?! YES PLEASE!!!

I love living in Australia, but the running culture here is very different. We don’t have runDisney or Rock n Roll or Diva running events. Everything feels a lot more serious, and there are a lot less races. The fields are smaller, but the quality of runners is higher, so there are still quick finishing times, but at my home state of Victoria’s big half marathon (The Melbourne half marathon), I was at the back of the pack with a 2:41:57 finish.

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My first half marathon finish!

I mean right at the back, which is fine with me- but the idea of being able to run a race where there are other runners just like me- people running for fun and to better themselves even though they might not be the speediest runners, really appealed to me. So runDisney was officially on my radar. But how does one justify flights, accommodation and an international trip for a race? With great difficulty!

After finishing university and settling into work I got some hard news that a very dear friend had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. It was really hard to wrap my head around the fact that a friend only a few years older than me had suddenly been told that he had an incurable disease that would essentially affect the rest of his life. The reasons I had chosen not to do runDisney were stupid. Money. Work. The difficulty in planning. They were not good reasons to miss out on something that I was so passionate about. Life is short and if we don’t take opportunities when they come up, we might end up missing out on them altogether.

So when registration opened for Wine and Dine 2014 I took the plunge- the race was on my birthday, and I took that as a sign. I followed that with registration for Avengers (and registration for Dopey but more on that another time). I was registered and I was over the moon- then came the training. I actually had my strongest training block ever, even though it was actually Dopey training, so I left Australia feeling excited, because I knew I was ready.

After a lot of flying-Maningrida-Darwin, Darwin-Melbourne, Melbourne-Sydney, Sydney-Dallas Fort Worth, Dallas Fort Worth- Orlando, I finally arrived at Walt Disney World with my boyfriend who joined me for the trip and acted as support crew for the runs. We hit up the parks everyday and when we went to the expo I went crazy!

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My expo purchases! A very successful day in my book!

KT tape sells for $30 a roll in Austrailia and was 2 for $30 at the expo. Dr Kool- doesn’t exist in Australia? Cindy shoes- tick. Goofy shoes-tick. Pins- tick. Tumbler- tick. I did it shirt- tick. Tech shirt- tick. You get the idea. I loved the energy at the expo, it was a little crazy but really well organized so even as a first time runDisney participant, I found it really easy to navigate my way around and find everything I needed.

When I saw my bib for the first time I couldn’t believe it. Me. Ashleigh. I was running in a runDisney race. It was amazing. On Saturday we woke up and went to Animal Kingdom for a few hours before returning to the room at about 2. I used this time to nap, relax, re read the participant info booklet, and double/triple/quadruple check I had everything ready for the race. I went with a simple wonder woman themed costume, and even though temps were set to be around 55-65 degrees, I opted to run in just a t-shirt and running skirt as I find I overheat very quickly and I didn’t want to be stripping off during the run.

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Simple Wonder Woman inspired costume. It was super comfy to run in!

I jumped on the bus at Port Orleans French Quarter at around 7, and I arrived at the race by about 7:20. When I arrived at the race I quickly jumped in line for a photo with Chef Mickey- which proved to be a smart choice because by the time I had my photo taken the line had about doubled (and I ended up being in line for approx ½ hour).

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Chef Mickey and I. I love this photo!

I decided to skip the other character photos and instead take some time to sit down and relax before the start. Some very friendly runners chatted with me while we waited for the corrals to open, and at about 9:00 I made my way into the corral.

Corral G! I was really happy with my corral placement- it was an excellent fit!

Corral G! I was really happy with my corral placement- it was an excellent fit!

A gentleman in the corral kindly gave me a garbage bag as it started to rain almost as soon as we stepped into the corral and this ended up continuing for almost the whole race. Thank you to that mystery man- it was VERY MUCH appreciated! As I stood at the start line watching the fireworks go off, I was overcome by a sense of gratefulness. I was grateful for everything, the ability to run, the chance to be there, the opportunities that I had allowed myself.

The start line was amazing!

The start line was amazing!

I stripped off my garbage bag and bounded off as soon the fireworks went off for my corral.

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The fireworks were even more amazing. I can’t think of a better way to start a race!

I had decided to run 4:1 intervals and stop for as many photo stops as I liked, because it is not everyday you get to run at Disney! I stopped at every mile marker for a selfie, and I stopped for photos with the fairies, Timone, the Animal Kingdom tree, Buzz and Woody, the Incredibles back drop, the Osbourne lights and Captain Jack Sparrow. I also saw photo ops (but didn’t stop) for King Louie, a Star Wars character (sorry I am not a big Star Wars fan) and Country Bears.

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I could be forgetting a couple, the race was a bit of a whirlwind. I heard the green army men yelling at people but I don’t remember seeing them, I kept thinking I was about to run past them but it never happened- they may have been on the other side of the road. As for the actual running part, it may have been raining, but I was having a ball. I run in km in Australia so I just imagined that every mile marker was a km marker, so it felt like the race was only 13km!

Of course I stopped with the Australian mile marker!

Of course I stopped with the Australian mile marker!

The course was really interesting as it began at ESPN, then through Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios before finishing in Epcot. As someone who wasn’t overly familiar with the Disney World property it was actually a great way to tour around and see the parks. Although there were some huge puddles, there were lots of cast members and volunteers pointing them out, the aid stations were well organized and the medical tents and staff were amazing. I really enjoyed running through the parks because there was just so much to look at. I honestly remembered feeling disappointed at the 6 mile mark because I was sad it was half way over. I was hi fiving cast members left, right and centre and I loved the way random runners would strike up conversation for a couple of minutes. While many people complained about the weather, nothing was going to rain on my parade on Saturday night!

Still feeling awesome at mile 9!

Still feeling awesome at mile 9!

As we ran along the Boardwalk I was just so excited to see that finish line, and once I saw Spaceship Earth, I knew I was almost there. As I had run so conservatively the whole race, I had heaps of gas left in the tank and basically sprinted toward Mickey, hi fived him and then leapt across the finish line. I was given a finishers medal, wrapped in a space blanket and lead down the chute. I had my photo taken before being given some food.

I was lucky enough to have my lovely boyfriend waiting in Epcot with dry clothes so I could skip Gear Check, and I skipped grabbing a drink because the lines were just too hectic. I am a super impatient person so having all those people around and lines barely moving equals a very grumpy Ashleigh. I decided it would be best for my sanity if I just skipped the drink and moved straight through to the after party where I could have some breathing room- and show off my awesome medal! I met my boyfriend at the Australia (of course!) pavilion in Epcot and changed into some nice dry clothes and got some photos with my medal.

Very happy to have my medal and be in dry clothes!

Very happy to have my medal and be in dry clothes!

We ended up finding Dopey and Snow White and Pinocchio- I was disappointed that I had just missed Donald (my favorite). I was starving so we went to Italy, Morocco and Brazil and that satisfied my post run hunger. We decided to leave at around 3:15, but unfortunately our bus had a huuuuge waiting line, so I think we waited around ½ hour before we managed to get on the bus, and by this time the rain had started to get heavier. We arrived back at French Quarter and I had a quick shower before settling into bed at around 4:15am.

A Disney race wouldn’t be complete without post race, park touring with my medal. I had heard some horror stories about people’s medals breaking and people losing the spinner middle from the medal, so I decided to play it safe and only wear the medal in photos. The rest of the day it was tucked safely into my pocket. Even though I was a little disappointed I couldn’t wear my medal, I would have been devastated if it had have broken, so I think I made a good choice to just use it for photo ops. I loved showing off my medals at the parks and it was awesome having total strangers come up to me and congratulate me!

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My Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend trip was a blast, and as I write this I am getting ready to race Avengers in California and get my coast to coast. I had an awesome experience running Disney and I am already planning my next runDisney trip!

Ash J

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Stay tuned for Part 2 of Ashleigh’s runDisney adventure at the Avengers Half Marathon coming up tomorrow!

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!!

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Running Coast to Coast with Jes Stern

I’m super excited to be starting a new series here on Running at Disney called Running Coast to Coast!! Last month when I was looking for contributors for Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, I had an overwhelming number of people want to write about their Coast to Coast experience.  So instead of limiting it to one story for that race weekend, I thought it would be great to hear from everyone since I’m sure all stories are very different.

Today Jes is here to kick things off with her Coast to Coast journey from Princess to Disneyland!  Not only does she have a fun story, but her costumes for all of the races are AMAZING!  Check it out…

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Running-Coast-to-Coast

My journey to the coveted Coast to Coast medal began before I even knew it existed in July 2013 when I signed up to be one of St. Jude’s Heroes and run the Inaugural Glass Slipper Challenge. I signed up on a whim, having no worldly proof that I could run a 10k, much less a half marathon and raise $1800. At the time, I had only been training for 5ks, but this was just the motivation I needed to take my training to the next level.

Having never run a Disney race or anything longer than a 5k, I immediately began to do research online and found a bunch of great blogs like Running at Disney. While I was reading every blog I could find about runDisney races, I quickly learned about the upcoming Inaugural Dumbo Double Dare and the Coast to Coast Challenge and just knew I had to add these to my list of goals for 2014. With proper training, I knew I would be able to complete the challenge. When registration opened for Dumbo in January, I still hadn’t run the Glass Slipper Challenge yet but knew I had to sign up right away because it would sell out, so I did!

In February I headed down to Walt Disney World to run the first leg of my Coast to Coast. Growing up, my grandparents lived in Florida, so Walt Disney World was a place I got to visit quite often and I was no stranger to the heat and humidity that Florida has to offer. However, after training through one of the coldest winters I can remember in the north east, the heat and humidity really did a number on me, and I threw any time goals I had for myself out the window. My only goal now was to finish.

I got through the 10k, dressed as a St. Jude Hero version of Rapunzel and moved on to the half marathon dressed as Snow White (with a St. Jude cape, of course).

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I did it, I survived, my first half marathon was complete, and boy was I sore. I couldn’t believe I had signed up to do this again. Eventually the soreness went away and I was pumped to tackle another challenge and make my first trip to Disneyland.

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Fast forward through a couple more half marathons and triathlons to August and I was on my way to Disneyland. Also at this point, I found myself smack dab in the middle of training for the New York City Marathon, and the Disneyland Half Marathon had a very specific time range for me to meet for my training.

We arrived in Disneyland on Thursday morning and had somewhat of a less-than-magical experience, but we pressed on and headed next door to the Expo. Once we made our way downstairs at the Disneyland Hotel, I found my packet pick up spot; it was the only one without a line! Finally something was going smoothly for the day! That’s when I realized there was no slot in the book for my Coast to Coast wrist band! I asked the volunteer what to do about this and she flagged down a runDisney employee. He asked me if I was sure that I had done a race in Disney World and if I had marked off on my registration that I was participating in the Coast to Coast Challenge. I said yes, and he sent me off to wait in a line at the Runner’s Relations booth. When I made it to the front of the line, the woman at the booth asked for my identification and which race I participated in. She then looked me up in the official results and strapped that green Coast to Coast Challenge bracelet on my wrist. PHEW!

Apparently it is quite common for there to be mistakes with the Coast to Coast Challenge wristbands. If there are any mistakes from one registration to another, such as a new address, a change in name, or in my case, my birthday was a day off on one of my registrations, it won’t sync up right in the system. So if you know you’re supposed to be earning your Coast to Coast, don’t be afraid to ask if they don’t have you marked down for a wristband on packet pick up day!

We spent all day Friday in the parks and had a plan to take the 10k slow, have fun with it, and stop for pictures and then focus on a PR on Sunday at the Half Marathon.

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Everything was going according to plan, and we were about to hit the 5k pad in California Adventure.

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Right in front of Carthay Circle Restaurant, I looked down and saw the trolley tracks. I told myself “DON’T TRIP ON THOSE TRACKS!” as; I have a habit of falling down running. The next thing I knew, my foot was caught, and I was going down hard. I twisted my ankle and slammed to the ground. It seemed like slow motion as my iPhone and water bottle flew out of my hands. My arm was bleeding, my ankle was throbbing, and I sprung up from the ground. A few runners gathered around me to make sure I was okay; one told me that I had a great recovery. Two or three Disney workers tried to escort me off the course to a nurse’s station, and I refused. I wasn’t about to give up my Stitch or Dumbo medals, so I pressed on. I hobbled/jogged/walked to my worst 10k finish time ever, but I did it.

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When I got back to my hotel room, I realized my arm was in pretty bad shape, but my ankle seemed okay enough for a day in the parks, but probably not well enough to attempt that half marathon PR, so once again I was throwing my time goals out the window. Luckily, it’s a runDisney race, so even without a PR I knew I could still have a good time and get that Coast to Coast medal.

On Sunday morning I woke up bright and early and got dressed for the race.

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My leg that I had gotten stuck in the trolley tracks was doing some weird muscle spasm thing that I never had before. I’m sure it was some combination of falling, spending all day in the parks and dehydration. I made sure to fuel throughout the race and take as much water and PowerAde as possible. I loved that at the Disneyland Half there were so many spectators handing out food to the runners. It was nice to have an orange slice, red vine and a pretzel instead of just ShotBloks and water.

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I started the race out slow and got faster bit by bit. My leg wasn’t feeling the best and the muscle spasms continued, but I just kept thinking of that Coast to Coast medal waiting for me at the finish line. Then finally there it was the finish! I crossed the line just three seconds slower than at the Princess Half Marathon and collected my Disneyland Half Marathon Medal, Dumbo Double Dare Medal and most importantly the Coast to Coast Medal!

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My super speedy friend Matt had finished nearly an hour ahead of me, and my boyfriend Tim was stuck on the other side of the course with spectators, so we all agreed to meet up at the hotel room. I hobbled back to the Paradise Pier Hotel alone with my leg cramping up. I was nearly in tears from the pain, but people walking by me kept congratulating me on my Coast to Coast and that kept the tears at bay.

When I got back to the room, I took a shower and my legs was cramping up worse and worse. I downed a bottle of water with Nuun and took some Aleve and a nap. When I woke up it was time to head over to the Big Thunder Ranch BBQ for all you can eat ribs and chicken.

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Later on, we headed back to California Adventure and I did a dramatic reenactment of tripping on the trolley tracks.

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Overall, the Coast to Coast Challenge was a great experience despite a few minor set-backs. Running through Disney World and Disneyland have a lot of differences and I’m glad that I got to experience both. I can’t wait to do it again next year to earn my pink medal when I take on The Glass Slipper Challenge and The Pixie Dust Challenge!

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Jes is a full time engineer, part time toy maker and runner in training living in Maryland. She began running in 2013 after making a deal with her Dad that if she lost 30 pounds, he would get his long overdue colonoscopy. Her first half marathon was the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February 2014. Since her running journey began, she has run five half marathons, three 10ks, completed two sprint triathlons and numerous 5ks. She is currently training for the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon and Goofy Race and a Half Challenge. Follow along with her journey at runsandcrafts.com or on Instagram @epictoychest.

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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!!

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New Medals for 2014 Tinker Bell and Princess Half Marathon Weekends Revealed!

Ever since the Glass Slipper Challenge was announced last spring, we have been eagerly awaiting the reveal of the medals.  Well, they are finally here!

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I have to say, I am a BIG fan of the blue on the Princess medal and the pumpkin coach on the Enchanted 10K medal is adorable!  I love how the medals have the sparkle every Princess deserves, but are simple and understated.  Here’s a closer look:

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Also with the announcement of the new Tinker Bell 10K, we expected new medals for that weekend as well.  These are super cute!

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Of course if you run both of these races, you will get the brand new pink Coast to Coast medal!

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Princess is my favorite race weekend since it was my first half marathon, so I’m really looking forward to taking on the Glass Slipper Challenge and getting those sparkly new medals!

So what do you think?  Will you be getting any of these medals in 2014?

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