The second early morning (the first was the Runner’s World Welcome Event) and I was ready to run! I must mention the night before I was lucky enough to go and see B.B King play the House Of Blues – it was an awesome experience although I did leave a little early to go and get some decent sleep before the 3:30am wake up!
I did wake a little earlier so I could make a group meet up, and meeting up with some of the awesome folks from the Welcome Event the morning prior and again, there were limited people walking around from the hotels on Harbor for this run.
My chosen costume for the 5K was Sorcerer Mickey (but with the Minnie Mouse print Sparkle Athletic Skirt).
I was super excited as I was in Corral A for this run, my one and only chance for the front of the race, and a good chance to get some photos with the characters that were lined up on the course. This was the first taste of a runDisney race, and I was beyond thrilled to be there at the start line!
Carissa and Rudy (the runDisney announcers) appeared on stage doing their thing to warm the crowd up for the run, with a little help from Lilo and Stitch themselves! What was awesome was seeing all the amazing costumes that everyone decked themselves out in! I found myself next to Olaf and even a Pink Flamingo!
Given it was Winter in Australia as I trained for the Disneyland Half weekend, I had attempted to recreate uncomfortable warmth by wearing many many layers and not taking them off. What I didn’t anticipate was the humidity. Unless you are training in the same hemisphere, you are at a natural disadvantage. I honestly felt like someone had tipped a bucket of water over me, and at that moment, I still had 2.5K to go!
The course for all races start at the same location, just outside the Disneyland Hotel on Disneyland Drive, and they finish on Downtown Drive. The 5K ran down to the backstage entrance to California Adventure opposite Paradise Pier and back up through Cars Land. This part of the park always takes my breath away when the lights are on, it is absolutely spectacular. As I ran around the land Lightning McQueen was out with no queue! Perfect timing!
The route continued around past Grizzly Rapids and out to the plaza via an exit near Soarin’ Over California. Onto Disneyland Park!
This was the first time running down Main Street and it was everything I imagined it to be. The park is amazing at this time of the morning and the humidity was soon forgotten as we made our way down past the castle (not through) and past the Matterhorn. The next character stop was in Fantasyland, as to my surprise it was Chip, Dale, Daisy Duck and Clarice! There was a small but manageable queue for this photo stop. It was here that I really felt the humidity.
There was another character stop (with Stitch!) just after the 2 Mile marker just right on Rivers of America, again there was no queue so it was a great opportunity to jump in!
From here it literary feels like a downhill run as you go past Splash Mountain, back around backstage to an entrance located near the front and back down through Downtown Disney. I was super excited to reach this part of the course, as you seemed to know exactly how far it was to the finish!
I was so happy to finish the first run of the weekend (can you believe this was my first 5K??) and was immensely happy to finish the hot, sticky run!!! I was so happy that my high-five of the volunteers made the runDisney 5K Facebook album and my finish was included in the video highlights.
I was amazed at how organised the finishing chutes were, everything was easily identified (pictures, refreshments, bag pickup) and there was no overcrowding or blockages – the volunteers made sure everything was running smoothly.
Once pictures are done (if you choose to get them taken) you walk through to collect your sealed runner’s food box and banana. Finally you walk through bag check (which was next to no line) before being spat out at the main holding area – with streaming of the finish line.
All walkways back around the resort were well marked, and volunteers were able to advise the route to walk. Downtown Disney was affected due to the race however post run it was great to cheer those on after finishing by positioning myself along the course in Downtown Disney, again some of the costumes out there were amazing! And the kids who managed to complete the 5K were incredible!
The Disneyland 5K is a fantastic event that isn’t timed (no need to compete for a PR) and completely enjoyable for all ages and abilities. It is certainly one that I would love to do again, the park time is great although it would have been awesome if the weather was more forgiving!!