Posts Tagged by disney california adventure

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend Info

Tink-Half-Marathon-Logo

Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend in Disneyland takes flight tomorrow!  This women-centered race weekend is taking place over Mother’s Day Weekend this year and is going to be full of fairy mischief and fun.

Tink-Half-Liliane-Send of by Tinkerbell

This race weekend is jam packed with events, 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 weekend will begin with a trip to the Health & Fitness Expo at the Disneyland Hotel and the hours are as follows:

  • Thursday, May 7th: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
  • Friday, May 8th: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
  • Saturday, May 9th: 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 Dooney & Bourke bags.  Have you seen the new Tink designs for 2015??

Tink Dooney

 

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.

2015-Tinker-Bell-Expo-Lower

 

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.  If you haven’t heard, Margaret Kelly, the woman behind the pixie dust of Tinker Bell, will be presenting during the speaker series.  That is not to be missed!

 

2015-Tinker-Bell-Expo-Upper

 

If you are hoping to get a pair of the exclusive shoes from the New Balance runDisney collection, including the new Tinker Bell Fresh Foam Boracay, make sure to sign up the morning of the Expo at NBvirtualqueue.com.

TinkerBellBoracay_RAD

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, May 7-10.  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, May 7th: 8:20 am – 9:30 pm 
  • Friday, May 8th: 3:00 am – 12:30 am
  • Saturday, May 9th: 3:30 am – 12:30 am
  • Sunday, May 10th: 3:30 am – 12:30 am

Here is a map of the Good Neighbor Hotel locations:

2015-Tinker-Bell-Good Neighbor-Shuttle

2015-Tinker-Bell-Good-Neighbor-Hotels

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

Wings, wings and more wings!  Get ready for the fairies to descend upon Disneyland.  I love to see all the fun costumes so make sure to share yours.  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.  The bag check tents are located in the Family Reunion Area in the Simba parking lot.  All bags must be checked by 5:15 am prior to the 10K and half marathon before heading to your corrals.  Bags can be picked up at the same location following the race.  Your bib number is your “claim ticket.”

2015-Tinker-Bell-Family-Reunion-Area

For the 5K, bag check will be in the picnic area outside of the entrance to Disneyland Park.  All bags must be checked by 4:45 am prior to the race.

Start Corrals

The start corrals for the 10K and half marathon are located on Disneyland Drive adjacent to the Simba lot and near Paradise Pier Hotel.  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 & 10K will be available at packet pick-up.

Tinker Bell 10K

2015-Tinker-Bell-10K-Corrals

 

Tinker Bell Half Marathon & Pixie Dust Challenge

2015-Pixie-Dust-Challenge-Corral-Assignments 2015-Tinker-Bell-Half-Corral-Assignments 2015-Tinker-Bell-Half-Corrals

Starting Times

The Never Land 5K will begin at 5:00 and the Tinker Bell 10K and Half Marathon will begin at 5:30 am.  The wheelchair start for the half marathon will be at 5:29 am on Sunday, May 10th.  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 Pixie Dust Challenge, you will have one race bib for both the 10K and the Half Marathon, so make sure to take good care of it!

Tink-Half-Liliane-With bib at EXPO

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.

Pixie Dust Challenge Participants

If you are participating in this challenge, you will receive a wristband after finishing the Tinker Bell 10K on Saturday at the Pixie Dust Challenge tent.  This must be worn while running the Tinker Bell Half Marathon.  After completing the Tinker Bell Half Marathon on Sunday, you will need to present this wristband at the same 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 Tinker Bell Half Marathon.  After completing the race, you will need to present this wristband at the Coast to Coast tent to receive your medal.

If you ran the Princess Half Marathon in February at Walt Disney World, you will receive the special PINK Coast to Coast medal!

Coast to Coast Medals

Course Maps

From what I hear since I’ve never participated in this race weekend, these are the best courses of all the races held in Disneyland.  What do you think?

Never Land 5K

2015-Tinker-Bell-5K

Tinker Bell 10K

2015-Tinker-Bell-10K

Tinker Bell Half Marathon

2015-Tinker-Bell-Half

More information on other events like the Kids Races and the Pasta in the Park 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.  Race recaps, spectator stories, Expo coverage, other weekend events, you name it…I want to hear about it!  Email me at sarah@runningatdisney.com if you are interested.  Also, please tag me in your photos from the weekend on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram…I will share them all weekend.

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The Inaugural Star Wars Rebel Challenge

Well if I wasn’t jealous about not being at Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend prior to the race, I’m SURELY jealous now.  At first it was due to the killer medals for the races, but after seeing all the characters, costumes and fun…the whole weekend was just too cool!  Kallen ran the Inaugural Rebel Challenge and did it in some amazing costumes.  So come along and be jealous with me of her super rad time!

***

I just got back last night from an amazing runDisney event, the Inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend.

Photo 1-Star Wars 10K-Kallen

After running the Tinker Bell Half Marathon last year, I knew I wanted to do another runDisney race, but it wasn’t until they announced the Star Wars event in late May that my hubby and I knew which one we had to do.

With such a great theme, I took the plunge and registered for my first challenge event.

The Rebel Challenge— never has an event inspired so much foreboding. During many training runs, I thought, “I have a bad feeling about this.”

But fear is the path to the Dark Side. Come race weekend, finishing the challenge was not a matter of trying, but doing. Or do not.

For me, the best way of overcoming pre-race nerves is to watch a runDisney event.

 

— Kallen Dewey Kentner (@KallenKentner) January 16, 2015

My hubby and I enjoyed spectating the 5K, where the short distance means the costumes are outrageously fun. 

We loved seeing the StarSpeeder 3000 from Star Tours during the race and spotted him again after the race in the Family Reunion Area

We loved seeing the StarSpeeder 3000 from Star Tours during the race and spotted him again after the race in the Family Reunion Area

The Expo is another amazing way to get excited. I love listening to the speaker series. I attended the expo two days, Thursday and Saturday. Arriving about noon on Thursday, I found packet pick-up extremely well organized with minimal wait. 

What an epic entrance to packet pick-up!

What an epic entrance to packet pick-up!

For recognition purposes, all Rebel Challenge participants had their photo taken at the expo after picking up their packet. This system replaces the wristbands they’ve used at previous challenge events. Even though I didn’t wait for the mad merchandise rush at opening, the official merchandise line was a short wait and well stocked. I managed to score a really nice Rebel Challenge Jacket, which later sold out. However, even by the last day of the expo I saw plenty of Dooney and Burke purses left, which tells me that runDisney is working hard on their supply-and-demand models.

Pictured are the three race shirts that come with Rebel Challenge registration, the Rebel Challenge jacket, pins, Star Wars Half Marathon shirt, my bib, runDisney Vinylmation and the event guide. Between us, Hubby and I had quite a lot of stuff after leaving the expo.

Pictured are the three race shirts that come with Rebel Challenge registration, the Rebel Challenge jacket, pins, Star Wars Half Marathon shirt, my bib, runDisney Vinylmation and the event guide. Between us, Hubby and I had quite a lot of stuff after leaving the expo.

I was up bright and early Saturday with the alarm going off at 3:30. I donned my Star Tours running costume and headed to the race. Running a runDisney race solo for the first time, I was a bit bored in the corrals, but soon enough they were playing clips from the original Star Wars trilogy. 

There's nothing like AT-ATs at 5 a.m.

There’s nothing like AT-ATs at 5 a.m.

After a Darth Vader cameo, a visit from C-3PO, R2-D2, and an opening crawl, the race started. All of a sudden, it was B Corral’s turn and we were off! I loved the way the course was set up. Because we ran down Disneyland Drive, up Ball Road before turning onto Harbor to head to the parks, runners had a chance to spread out on the wide roads (including the incline on Ball Rd) before turning into the parks. As expected, there were plenty of aid stations along the course. Excitement will do you in every time so I did a really stupid thing for a challenge event. I ran my heart out in the 10K. I just felt so amazing and it was so wonderful being in the parks that I just ran.

Outside the Animation Academy in California Adventure

Outside the Animation Academy in California Adventure

By the time I got to many of the character stops, a long line had formed. I skipped Chewbacca (who had the longest line by far), Darth Vader and some of the Jedi, but I had to stop for a quick photo with Boba Fett. 

I'm suspicious of this bounty hunter.

I’m suspicious of this bounty hunter.

I was surprised that only Star Wars characters were on the course. I would have liked to see a few Disney characters thrown into the mix. 

Every mile marker was different for the 10K, which was really cool.

Every mile marker was different for the 10K, which was really cool.

As we ran past the Disneyland Hotel toward the finish, I could feel an incredible grin on my face in response to the cheering crowd. Stormtroopers watched as runners crossed the finish line. First part of the challenge, done! 

Snapped right after crossing the finish line, you can see the euphoria on my face.

Snapped right after crossing the finish line, you can see the euphoria on my face.

It was over too fast and I had a brief moment of sadness before remembering I was going to do it again the next day! Wait. I was going to run again the next day? Maybe running so fast wasn’t a good idea. After breakfast at La Brea Bakery and a quick clothing change, I went to the Expo for a second time. I mostly came for the speaker series so I didn’t wander around the expo too much. I also made sure to put on my compression socks and take it easy. After all, the half marathon was the next day. Although I went to bed around 7:30 p.m, that 3:30 alarm was still an unwelcome sound… that is, until I remembered that I was going to Disneyland!

I had the privilege of running the half marathon with my mom. We did the run-walk method with about a minute of walking to a minute of running. Because of the crowds, sometimes we missed the bell, but we did our best. 

The required corral selfie.

The required corral selfie.

My hubby also ran the half, but as he was in A Corral, I didn’t see much of him. He also got a better view of the video screen. 

Every race had a slightly different opening crawl but I wasn't close enough to read the one for the half marathon.

Every race had a slightly different opening crawl but I wasn’t close enough to read the one for the half marathon.

In the middle of C corral, we couldn’t see much of the video screen, but the fireworks during the national anthem were fantastic. After a bit of waiting, C Corral was off! For the first 2 miles, I could feel the effect of the 10K, especially on the walking portion where my hip flexors were so tight I couldn’t powerwalk effectively. It was pretty crowded, especially once we entered the backstage areas, so we couldn’t do much running. Going into Disneyland, we had to stop by some Jedi, who asked “What planet are you from?” It was the first of many references to our Pigs in Space costumes. “Koozebane” I cheerily threw out before we kept running. 

Jedi were stationed in numerous places along the course for both the 10K and Half, encouraging the runners.

Jedi were stationed in numerous places along the course for both the 10K and Half, encouraging the runners.

We waited in line for Luke and Leia, who were stationed in front of an illuminated Mark Twain. While in line, I saw a text message from runner tracking: hubby had already passed the 5K point a while ago. Because he is so much faster, Jason was able to fully enjoy the lights of California Adventure. The sun was already coming up by the time we got there. 

Mickey's Fun Wheel dominates the view at Paradise Pier and looked amazing at night.

Mickey’s Fun Wheel dominates the view at Paradise Pier and looked amazing at night.

As in the 10K, running through fantasyland was one of my favorite parts. Some of the rides were going, and the cheerful sounds of the Mad Tea Party kept us going. All too soon, we were leaving Disneyland and heading to California Adventure. I was very excited to spot the very piglike Gammorean Guard on Hollywood Blvd. We had to stop for a photo.

— Kallen Dewey Kentner (@KallenKentner) January 18, 2015

We left Disney property around mile 4. I dreaded the long straightaway, but I shouldn’t have. Fans and spectators were out in force and we were never too far from the next band.

The 501st was a special treat and worth stopping for photos. We stopped for a photo with C-3PO and had a better character interaction than inside the parks.

"Oh my, could this be Pigs in Space?"

“Oh my, could this be Pigs in Space?”

We even crossed Newhope St and plenty of people were stopping for pictures.
I was still feeling good around Mile 10, although feet were a bit sore from two days of running. But after mile 10, there’s only a 5K left, which is a huge boost for me. I know I can do a 5K.

When it was still dark, the lightsabers on these mile markers were lit up.

When it was still dark, the lightsabers on these mile markers were lit up.

A shout out to Mouse Planet and other people who were handing out Redvines to runners. It made me so happy!

Nearing the finish, I caught my first glimpse of Disney characters on the course —Jedi Mickey, Leia Minnie, Darth Goofy, and Chip & Dale Ewoks. I wish I could have stopped for a photo, but right at the finish, I would have caused a pile-up.

After crossing the finish line and receiving the beautiful Star Wars Half medal, there was a short and fast moving line to receive the Rebel Challenge medal. They very quickly looked up my bib number and then gave me my medal.

Photo 16-StarWarsHalf-Kallen

I had completed the Rebel Challenge!

runDisney does a great job organizing such a large event. Add the amazing fans and runners and this is an event I hope I’ll do again.

*****

Kallen is the content and marketing manager for GeekyLibrary and calls herself a half-hearted runner but a full-fledged geek. She blogs about her running at KallenInMotion.wordpress.com. Follow her adventures on Twitter or check out her running boards on Pinterest.

2015 Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Info

Star-Wars-Half-Marathon-Weekend-Logo

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!

Inaugural-Star-Wars-Medals

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!

2015-Star-Wars-Half-Marathon-Weekend-Dooney-Satchel

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.

2015-Star-Wars-Half-Marathon-Weekend-Packet-Pick-Up

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!

2015-Star-Wars-Half-Marathon-Weekend-Expo

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:

2015-Star-Wars-Half-Marathon-Weekend-Hotels2015-Star-Wars-Half-Marathon-Weekend-Hotels-2

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?!

045 DLHalf-Darth-Goofy

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.

2015-Star-Wars-Half-Marathon-Weekend-Family-Reunion

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

2015-Star-Wars-Half-Marathon-Weekend-5K-Corrals

Star Wars 10K

2015-Star-Wars-Half-Marathon-Weekend-10K-Corrals 2015-Star-Wars-Half-Marathon-Weekend-10K-Corrals

Star Wars Half Marathon & Rebel Challenge

2015-Star-Wars-Half-Marathon-Corrals 2015-Star-Wars-Half-Marathon-Weekend-Rebel-Challenge-Corrals 2015-Star-Wars-Half-Marathon-Weekend-Half-Corrals

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.

darth-2014-Disneyland-Half-Marathon

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

2015-Star-Wars-Half-Marathon-Weekend-5K-Map

Star Wars 10K

2015-Star-Wars-Half-Marathon-Weekend-10K-Map

Star Wars Half Marathon

2015-Star-Wars-Half-Marathon-Weekend-Half-Map

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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Contributors Needed for Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend

 

Contributors Needed for

To say I’m jealous of everyone participating in Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend is an understatement! This race weekend is a dream come true for this Star Wars and Disney geek…talk about worlds colliding!

Since I’m not able to make it to Disneyland next week, if you are running one (or all) of the races over Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend next week, or if you will be at the Disneyland resort as a spectator I need YOU!

I’m looking for runners, walkers, spectators, Disney enthusiasts and Star Wars geeks of all kinds to cover the variety of events over that weekend!  Here are the some ideas for posts:

  • Race Recaps
    • Star Wars 5K
    • Star Wars 10K
    • Star Wars Half Marathon
    • Rebel Challenge
    • Kids Races
  • Wookie Welcome Party
  • Unique Star Wars Photo Ops
  • A Spectator’s Point of View
  • Health & Fitness Expo
  • runDisney Speaker Series
  • First Time Disney Runners
  • Race Weekend Dining
  • New runDisney New Balance Running Shoes
  • And anything else you can think of…

Choice of topic will come on a first serve basis, so email me at sarah@runningatdisney.com if you are interested in covering one or many aspects of Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend for Running at Disney…the more the merrier!!

Best of luck to everyone running and I can’t wait to hear from you!

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A Cast Member’s Recap of The Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

We all know that Disney Cast Members are one of the main reasons that make every visit to any Disney Park so special.  That’s because most of them love the parks just as much as we (the fans) do!  And like us fans, they also love to runDisney!  Christina is a Disneyland cast member and today she is here to share her experience running the Inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon in her home away from home 🙂

***

Have you ever dreamed of being a superhero? I sure have! That’s just one of the reasons I signed up to run the Inaugural Avengers Half Marathon.

Being a cast member, my journey into the running world started a long time before I laced up my first pair of running shoes. I worked every runDisney event in some capacity and when 2014 started, I added running a half marathon to my list of resolutions. By the time I finally got over the butterflies about taking on such a big race though, I had missed the deadline for the Disneyland Half Marathon. Through the runDisney website I found Team Muscle Makers for UCMD and started my fundraising campaign. Not even two months later, runDisney announced the Avengers Half and I signed up with Team Muscle Makers for that race as well.

Fast forward 6 months, probably the fastest 6 months of my life, and it was Avengers Half Marathon Weekend!! I spent both Friday and Saturday attending the expo, hanging out with my teammates, and visiting with my fellow cast members who were working the event. I have to say one of the best parts about running as a cast member is the encouragement from my cast before, during, and after the race. It was like I had my own personal cheering squad!

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Race day started bright and early (ok maybe not bright! Lol) and I set my alarms probably far earlier than I needed to. During the Disneyland Half I had stayed at a Good Neighbor hotel but this time I was coming from my house and I had no idea what kind of time I would need to park and walk to the gear check. After double checking my gear multiple times and putting on my Captain America costume, I added the final touch which was my Team Muscle Makers wristband. The kids we were running in honor of made us all wristbands to wear during the race. I ran for Joe.

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The drive and parking went quickly and left me with plenty of time to check out the stage by the family reunion area. I snapped some pictures with the Agents of SHIELD, who decided I am Hydra because I can’t Macerena. I also saw more friends from my work locations who despite my nervousness were quick to tell me how awesome they knew I would be and wish me luck!

The cast photo was scheduled for 4:15 am and we quickly assembled in front of the stage. 80 cast members ran in the first ver Avengers Half Marathon. As we were lining up, the announcer said something about missing a few people and naturally we all started looking around for the missing people. Right then out came the Avengers!! The cast members were as excited as the kids we make the magic for as Hawkeyes, Black Widow, Thor, and Captain America took the stage. Once the photo was finished, it was time to head to the corrals! I met back up with Team Muscle Makers for a quick team photo and off to the corrals we went.

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I was the only one in Corral H from the team and so I had to quickly split off from the group. At this point, the nerves were starting to kick in and I decided to people watch. There are no shortage of things to see in a runDisney race and there are truly no limits to the costumes. I saw all the Avengers, some lesser known Marvel characters, and even one guy dressed as an LA King in full hockey gear! Just as I settled into the corrals, I realized I never checked my sunglasses with my gear but was far enough in I decided to run with them since I didn’t want to give up my spot. With more than an hour ahead of me in the corrals, I made small talk with other runners until race time.. One couple was running their first west coast race going for their Coast to Coast medal and another woman was running her first half. Time flies when you are having fun and race time was quickly upon us.

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Corral H was a very large corral and race start was crowded with lots of people straying on to the sidewalks to go around the packs of walkers. The course was quite different than my last race and we headed into California Adventure right away via backstage and into CarsLand. CarsLand was beautiful all decorated for the holidays and Mile 1 was there before I knew it. We headed towards Condor Flats, passing Grizzly River Run and I spotted my first character. Hawkeye was standing by Soarin’ Over California but had a huge line. I waited just a second until someone stepped away and took a quick picture of him. I’m a slower runner and I wanted every last second to make sure I didn’t get swept.

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Exiting Disney’s California Adventure and entering Disneyland via backstage, I spotted our Main Street Vehicles cast members waving and encouraging the runners along. Continuing backstage, we entered the park through Splash Gate and into Critter Country. This is the part of the course I was most excited about (second being Angel Stadium) because it’s my second home. I’ve been a cast member for a long time and I’ve been part of New Orleans Critter Country (NOCC) Attractions since 2008. We passed Splash and Pooh quickly and came upon a SHIELD agent warning us of the hill leading up towards the Haunted Mansion. I snapped a quick selfie with the gate of my house.. Yes, my house lol. I think I spend more time there than I do at home and once again debunked the rumor of death certificates as I ran by.

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Mile 2 and Black Widow was in front of the Golden Horseshoe but her line had already been cut off due to how long it was. Through Fantasyland and out through the castle was next, and I saw a big group of our third shift Custodial with a big sign that read “Third Shift Custodial Welcomes You” as well the the beginning of the chEAR squads. My favorite sign read “You look MARVELous!” I noticed there weren’t very many signs compared to last time but continued running down Main Street and out of Disneyland.

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The cast members pointing the way to Harbor Blvd had a ton of energy and were cheering us on all the way. As I moved down Harbor I saw mile maker #3 and that was the last one I saw for awhile. Right after I passed #3, I saw some of my Team Muscle Maker teammates with some signs and I stopped for a quick picture.

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Crossing Katella, I quickly noticed one big change. The WIND. It was blowing so strong that cones, markers, fencing and signs were blowing around the course! Dirt off the nearby construction zone had runners stopping in their tracks. Remember those sunglasses I forget to check? Boy was I grateful I had them!!!

Turning down Chapman made the wind seem worse bc now you were running straight into the wind. Runners were losing costume pieces, hats, and debris was flying at us. I made the comment (not knowing how loud I was – thanks headphones!) about “not realizing this was an obstacle course” which was met with cheers from the runners around me. We headed into The parking lot of the church (formerly Crystal Cathedral) and the volunteers were soaking wet from the water flying everywhere. Huge shoutout to them for sticking with us despite the crazy weather. I never saw the next couple mile markers because they had been destroyed or blown over by the wind. There was a huge hill just before the Santa Ana River Trail and I quickly snapped a view of the runners behind me.

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The river trail was a nice long straightaway that started with some gorgeous Avengers art on the wall. Along that stretch I met a runner who had done all the runDisney races this year and saw Ramiro (who was the inspiration behind my running shirt for this race). Also along this stretch was some of the best cosplay I have ever seen. My favorite was Loki!

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Leaving the river trail, we headed into Angel Stadium with a huge tailwind. I probably wasn’t but there were a few times I thought I was airborne! With the help of another runner I got a few pictures of myself on the field (including the photobomb I didn’t notice until after the race!). If I wasn’t being timed, I would have hung around the stadium all day. Leaving the stadium, I came across the WWII military set up. They represented very branch of the military and I was told that some of them were veterans!

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The wind was really bad at this point and had really slowed down a lot of people but with little to look at Mile 10 came up quickly. Just as I went under the freeway at

Disney Way, someone came running through yelling about the people sweeping. Everyone took off and seemed a lot like the stampede in the Lion King! I did see the bike guys as I crossed Anaheim Blvd but checking my watch I knew I was well above the pace. Double checking, they told me I was fine. From that point until we hit Harbor Blvd again was probably my least favorite part of the course. It was tight with lots of people and the cars were still traveling next to us and seemed to pay more attention to the runners than the road.

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Just before I entered backstage at Disneyland again, I saw cast members I worked with and they really pushed me to pick up my pace. At this point,

I saw the official runDisney 16min/mile walkers (aka the ballon ladies) and I realized how much time that tight stretch on Clementine had cost me. I picked it up all the way to Disneyland Drive when all out fatigue and hip pain hit me. I was so close!!

As I came into the Simba parking lot, there was a local high school chanting “Hail Hydra!” I laughed so hard, it shook me out of my momentary funk and pushed me forward. Just past the Paradise Pier, I saw Rhoda (another NOCC cast member) and I ran over for hug. Everything hurt and she just looked at me and said “You are at 12.9! Keep going! You got this!!” It was seriously just the thing and I pushed forward through to the finish line! Waiting there was one of my closest friends, Laura, who greeted me with a huge hug and walked with me to get my medal.

There is no doubt that “runner’s high” is a real thing because there is nothing like having that medal around your neck!

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I quickly grabbed my gear and headed towards Downtown Disney because the Fmaily Reunion Area had been closed due to the extremely high winds. There I met up with MaryJane (one of my moms closest friends since high school) who came out to see me finish the race.

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Despite the crazy wind, the Avengers Half Marthon was one of the most fun races I’ve been a part of. And the best part? I set a personal record!! I finished in 3:39 almost 7 minutes faster than my DL Half time!

I want to say a huge thank you to all the cast members and volunteers who came out to the race to make it a reality! Laura, Rhoda, Jessica, Michael and all the cast members who cheering me on before, during, and after the race – thank you! Thank you to my husband and boys who were waiting at home with huge hugs – thank you! And Team Muscle Makers for UCMD thank you for letting me be a part of your amazing team.

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