Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 10K Recap… (And so the quest to be a Dumbo begins!)

Another day, another early morning! But it was time to party and go after that Dumbo medal! But first, 31.1K to get through – and it was time to line up for the 10K. My costume for this race was Jolly Holiday Bert, fitting given it is the 50th Anniversary of Mary Poppins (film).

My outfit for the day.
My outfit for the day.

Given the previous day’s humid welcome to California running, I was certainly a little nervous on what the weather had in store. Luckily it was a little cooler, although it may have been possible that I quickly become accumulated to the weather, and I set out for corral D. There was definitely a different feeling walking to the corrals as there had been the day before, and the corrals were a lot bigger!

Again, the theme for this race was Stitch so they had a themed beginning with Stitch and Elvis.

Back in corral D!
Back in corral D!

I could see a man what looked like a giant tent at the front of my corral – he turned out to be Kronk carrying Yzma which was an AWESOME costume – and he became my focal point at the beginning of the race. It was great to know how close we were to the starting line. I kept him in my sights and I did end up passing him at Katella Ave en route to the Convention Centre.

My game plan for this race (if you can ever have one in a Disney race) was to get as many pictures as possible since I wasn’t getting any in the half. That was before I saw the queues. They are big. I kid you not.

Anyway, let’s rewind back a few kms – the course took us through the back of the Convention Centre and through the Hilton hotel, connecting with Harbor and then running up to Disney Way and cutting through the backstage of California Adventure. The kilometre was a crazy test to try and weave in and out of the crowds, as watches beeped and people went every which way they could. You really need to keep your eyes peeled for not only those in front of you, but know about those behind you, so no one gets hurt. Safety first people!

The crowd did thin out by the time we rounded the corner from the Hilton back onto Harbor, however there was one pedestrian who was trying to do their best Frogger impression by crossing the road with a suitcase. I’m not too sure if she succeeded in crossing.

Paradise Bay looks amazing at this time of the morning!
Paradise Bay looks amazing at this time of the morning!

For the 10K, we came in a different direction through Cars Land – this time from an entrance near A Bugs Land, and followed through to Paradise Bay, around Toy Story Mania and back up to the front of the park via Grizzly River Rapids and Hollywood Land. I was quietly confident of the run around the bay, I had done the same route at the Welcome Event only 2 days earlier, so I knew that part of the course. There were characters out at Cars Land, however given I had a picture with Lightning McQueen during the 5K, I continued ahead in hope for other characters.

This course did not have the runners park hop via the plaza/hub, but rather we ran through a tunnel linking the parks near Tower of Terror. I never knew that this was here and is the only thing you could consider an incline.

I'm pretty certain we're over halfway now! Just gotta conquer Disneyland Park!
I’m pretty certain we’re over halfway now! Just gotta conquer Disneyland Park!

Once again, it was really cool to run down Main Street. There was a photographer sitting opposite the Crystal Arcade that ended up taking some really good shots – you gotta have your “running down Main Street” pics. As we wound around the top of Main Street – turning right into Tomorrowland, you could see other runners making their way through the castle. Yes, in this race YOU GET TO RUN THROUGH THE CASTLE!!! I was so ready, however had about 2K until I got to this celebratory moment.

The next character stop was just in front of It’s a Small World, with a cop and robber themed Chip & Dale (yes, given Stitch was an Elvis fan – this was a Jailhouse Rock themed stop). There was a queue for this stop and I passed on, something that I really regret doing!! Who see’s Cop & Robber Chip & Dale on any given day? If you managed to get this photo spot, I am so jealous!

The course then wrapped around the Small World ride (the clock wasn’t ticking this early in the morning) and out the backstage gate to the right. This is where I started having trouble with my foot.

If you aren’t aware, I’ve been having issues with my right foot since April and had been to a physio in order to get to the bottom of it. I have also bought new shoes, fixed my laces and all the other things you can think of! Long story short, I still had the pain, numbness and no clue as to what it was! But at that moment while backstage – I had the mindset that the foot wasn’t going to stop me, I was running at Disneyland and yet to get through the castle!

I absolutely loved running backstage during the 10K, the custodial team was there supporting everyone and they had some floats out. I had yet to see if Mary and Bert were at a character spot, but when I saw the Mary Poppins themed float (and no queue) I knew I had to stop!

Step in time, step in time!
Step in time, step in time!

This is where things started to get a little worrisome. Now I’m certain that the man who was tending to the float said something along the lines of “You better hurry, they are right behind you*” perhaps meaning the sweepers. I was a little confused given that I was in corral D and hadn’t stopped. *It is quite possible he said something entirely different and I misheard.

Anyways, it was time to get the run back into gear – I needed to get through the castle! As I rounded past the spinning teacups, and Mr Toad’s Wild Ride, I began to get crazy excited. This was the moment that I had been waiting for since signing up. It’s also the one part of the course where people stop. I enjoyed the moment however had to maintain awareness of other runners as they tried to take pictures.

As the course weaved it’s way around Frontierland I was disappointed to pass the Jolly Holiday Bakery with no sign of Bert or Mary Poppins. How cute would it have been to get a picture dressed as Jolly Holiday Bert with Bert? Such a missed opportunity. As we rounded Rivers Of America there was Elvis Stitch (super cool) but with a crazy, crazy long line. I’m also sure that Elvis (impersonator) was also somewhere around here too.

So for my plan of taking pics in the 10K, I had only taken a couple of images outside some of the park landmarks and one with a float, I was crazy failing. I was hopeful that maybe, just maybe, the Haunted Mansion ladies would be out, similar to where they were for Tinkerbell (I had seen images). They weren’t there (sad face) but we were almost at the end of the race!

The course here follows exactly the same route as the 5K, backstage from Critter Country/Splash Mountain, around the front backstage and through Downtown Disney. It was super exciting to see Mickey and Minnie at the finish line, I gave a high-ten (or would that be eight) to both of them and proceeded to jump over the line!

YAY for finishing!
YAY for finishing!

Post-run (and post medal), Dumbo Double Dare 10K finishers were directed to an additional area to collect their 10K finisher wristband. This was to be kept on as proof to collect your Dumbo medal after the half.

Walking back through Downtown Disney was a nightmare. There were plenty more people in the 10K, and plenty more had finished and were trying to make their way across the parks. While it bottlenecked at Catal, I backtracked and went through the Grand Californian. Normally time wouldn’t be an issue, and with my foot, I would have welcomed the forced break, however I had time to keep given I was meeting the Sparkle Athletic team at the Expo.

I did get through as the last runner went past and everyone in the crowd cheered for her. It was awesome to see her come through, and I’m sure she went on to collect the Dumbo medal the following day. The camaraderie amongst all the runners, no matter how slow or fast they went that day, was amazing!

As the day wore on, my foot was giving me all sorts of trouble. I stood up and walked around for hours after the run, which I think really did wonders for my legs before the half – even if I didn’t feel it at the time.

I loved this 10K run, I felt there certainly was more than adequate time in the parks, and loved the run through the castle. So far both 5K and 10K courses were different, which is fantastic for the runner who had signed up for 2 or 3 races.

As I finished the day I became super nervous about the half. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and I wasn’t sure if my body was going to make it. All that remained between that 21.1K (and the Dumbo medal) and I was sleep. Eeek!

Did you run the 10K? Did you stop for the awesome character stops?


8 thoughts on “Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend 10K Recap… (And so the quest to be a Dumbo begins!)

  1. Congrats one the race! I’ve run every race here at WDW, but I am finally registered for the Tinkerbell half next year. I love your costume and I may have to steal the idea in the future.


    1. Thanks! What WDW race is your favourite? The DL Half was my first RunDisney race, but I’ve heard the Tinkerbell one is really good too! Love that the Anaheim crowd comes out in force to cheer on all the runners.


    1. Thanks! I was super excited about the finishing picture. Super jealous you live near Disney World! WDW Marathon weekend is on the list – maybe 2016!


  2. Great recap, and your costume is adorable! Love the picture of you crossing the finish line! I was really disappointed by the lack of characters for the 10K this year — last year, they had TONS! But, yeah, I’m one of those people who pretty much stops for all of them, haha. Can’t help myself! 😉


    1. Thanks! Given it was my first year, I didn’t already have an expectation. That said though, I was surprised with the difference in the level of characters between the 10K and the Half, which I intended to run straight through. I think next year I’ll make sure to stop!


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