When Kate first contacted me about covering the Star Wars Half Marathon weekend and told me that she had a cat named after a Star Wars character, I knew she was perfect for the job! She took on the Inaugural Rebel Challenge and took on half of the challenge with her 10 year old son…how fun! I love when parents make runDisney events a family affair. Here is their journey to a galaxy far, far away.
I’m a Disney race veteran – starting with the Inaugural Tower of Terror 13K, the 2010 WDW Half (Disney’s Marathon on Ice!), and 2012 Princess and Disneyland for my Coast to Coast. My older son, Russell, started running 5Ks with me a few years ago, so he was a bit disappointed with his Disneyland Kids Race. (“Mom. It’s a quarter mile. That’s only one lap around the track!”)
So when the Star Wars race weekend was announced, I gave him the option of the 5K or 10K. Child: “Which one has a real medal?” We signed up for the 10K. All about the bling, at only ten. I’ve created a monster. (Says the mom registered for the Rebel Challenge for the extra bling!)
The costume decision was pretty easy – I ordered R2D2 and C3PO shirts off Amazon and had Lori (my Disney race companion) grab the mouse ears in WDW – although there were plenty at the Expo. Unfortunately, the Artoo shirt only came in men’s sizes, so it was a bit big on Russell, and mine came with sleeves, which I hate and therefore cut off.
I made the rainbow sparkle skirt (Sparkle Skirt DIY Info) for a previous race, and we couldn’t convince the boy to wear Lori’s blue sparkle skirt. Because he is no fun.
The boy was a bit grouchy about getting up at 3:30 am, but he gamely made faces at the cameras.
We watched some of the preshow, did our force push to save the hosts from Darth Vader, and headed to the corrals.
Star Wars font makes everything seem awesome, even the fact that there’s a million people between you and the start line! We all started in D with Russell, the lowest ‘seed’ of our trio.
See, a million people. Though they didn’t have the fireworks of a WDW race, the start line was still full of energy and bright lights.
Russell got a somewhat shocked shout-out from Rudy as we crossed the start line – yay for being one of the youngest runners!
Knowing there was only one corral behind us, we expected a lot of walkers, but we figured we could dodge them and get moving. That never really happened – there was such a mass of people that it was impossible to weave through. But pretty much everyone was dressed as a Star Wars character, so you can’t get mad at a guy on a tauntaun.
The beginning of the race was on roads leading along the edge of the parking lots and parks, but we were back in the parks in under two miles, and either in park or backstage for the rest of the race.
Seriously. Park your cars elsewhere.
Which is awesome – both for regular runners and young runners. Russell was thrilled by seeing parts of the Matterhorn in refurb and all the other random backstage things. I was in the College Program at WDW, so backstage isn’t really new to me, but it made me smile to see him see these things for the first time.
Disney kept things interesting by having Darth Vader’s voice echoing through the one tunnel (and the one mean little hill out of it!) and various Star Wars stuff projected on the buildings. And of course, Star Wars music everywhere.
That’s no moon. Wait, one is. But not the other one. Man, it must still be pretty early if we think this is hilarious.
There were several character stops, but the lines were very long, and we kept saying, “Well, if it’s a good character, we’ll wait. Maybe the next one. Surely Han will be out here. Yoda, maybe? Okay….I don’t even know who those people are!” (Because Lori doesn’t have a ten year old boy and doesn’t watch Star Wars Rebels.)
Around mile three, we started Lori’s run/walk doohickey on a 3/3 ratio to keep the boy moving forward with minimal whining, most of which was due to the excessive Star Wars quoting. “This Artoo unit has a bad motivator!” “Do or do not, there is no try.” And of course, since Lori was dressed as Chewbacca, “let the Wookie win.” (We didn’t. Sorry, Lori!)
The finish was the same as ’12 Disneyland, around a backstage area and in between Downtown Disney and DL Hotel. Up till now, I had been impressed by the etiquette of the other runners – even though we were packed in tight, there wasn’t a lot of pushing or bumping. Up until a woman stopped a few feet from the finish line to take a picture…RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. I nearly plowed into her, and ended up almost taking out Lori and Russell as I dodged her. Sigh.
But we finished with smiles on our faces, collected our “real” medals, food and water, and headed to the Info Tent to pick up the younger child’s Kids Race bib. One down, two to go!
Kate Starcher is a quilt designer, blogger, Half Fanatic, former Disney cast member, and so much of a Star Wars nerd that she has a cat named Tycho Celchu. See her quilt hidden Mickeys on t-shirt quilts at katiemaequilts.com.