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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.