Following on from Dopey greatness (recap here) I flew cross-country to hit up Disneyland and the Star Wars Half Marathon. I must admit, it was a little weird to be hanging out at WDW in the morning, and then close the day off at the Disneyland Resort that night.
One of the things that I had picked up from my experience running the Disneyland Half was booking the discounted tickets through GET Travel. Not only is it nice on the wallet (for the discount) but GET Travel also allow for pick-up the day before the expo – in this case the pickup point was in the Disneyland Hotel convention centre where Goofy and Minnie Mouse were walking around with NO crowds!!
Expo day brought the familiar path around the Disneyland Hotel. I wasn’t too keen for merchandise this time around so took advantage of the early morning and hit up Hyperspace Mountain before heading to the expo. What better way to put you in the Star Wars mood than zipping around the galaxy??
One thing to note was that I had been paying close attention to the social feeds in regards to the merch – there was a queue about 3 lines deep at about 7:30am, significantly more than what I had experienced back in September for the 10th Anniversary DL Half merch.
The queue didn’t let up (I believe at points it was about 2.5 hours) until late afternoon when I managed to get in to pick up my Vinylmation, which I forgot to get back at WDW; and of course the event magnet. This was my cheapest merch call of all 4 runDisney races that I had run! I did actually think the merch was awesome and totally fitted the event.
Packet pickup was a breeze, there seemed to be less people at the time I turned up – I think they all were in the merch queue! I did have to drop by the Runners Relation desk to pick up my Coast to Coast wristband, it appeared that the age old issue of Active changing the birthdate meant that I was identified as being 11.29 & 11.30 thus didn’t cross reference with each other. Nothing that a quick check with the team couldn’t fix!
I was running this event with Team Muscle Makers, and was able to hit my goal of $1125USD for both the 5K and Rebel Challenge thanks to so many friends and family donations. I absolutely love TMM – they raise money for the research into new treatments for Ullrich Congential Muscular Dystrophy and definitely make you feel like a valuable member of the team! If you are ever at a Disneyland event, head to the charity tables down at packet pickup and chat to the awesome folks to find out more about TMM4UCMD!
5K – I was lucky enough to run (or run/walk) the Star Wars 5K with Melissa, Lonna, John and of course Parker which ended up being the best 5K I have ever run (it was an amazing PR in awesomeness!!).
I actually loved the change in the start from the Disneyland Half, heading up Disneyland Drive rather down towards Katella Ave. There’s some slight road running before you turn off backstage past the Disneyland Admin buildings and coming out 1 mile in beside It’s a Small World. From here you continue through Fantasyland, down past Big Thunder Mtn and Frontierland across the front of the castle and through Tomorrowland before heading over to California Adventure for the 2 mile mark.
Once in California Adventure you’ll be running past the Tower of Terror ride, through Bugs Land and Cars Land, looping back up past Grizzly River Run and onto Downtown Disney and to the finish line near the Disneyland Hotel!
Unfortunately there was no chance for stopping with the characters, however we did get the chance to stop at a mile marker which was great!
I can’t tell you the amazing feels that I got from running with Team Muscle Makers in this 5K – while I didn’t stop for characters, this was a different type of run where it was more about being part of the team than just running an individual race. And being at Disneyland was the perfect setting!
10K – The next morning was the first part of the Rebel Challenge. All that stood between me and my Coast to Coast (and crazy 11 medal epicness) was 31.1km! Again, it was quite cool in the morning so I dressed in layers. Add to the fact that I was dealing with asthma (which I didn’t know at the time), and I was making sure that I was going to be able to get through the weekend comfortably, even if it meant looking like I was overdressed.
My costume for the 10K was Rey, at the time of making it the costume changes hadn’t been communicated yet (I was looking at creating a Jedi robe – lucky I didn’t), but I had decided to make the costume as runner friendly as I could which meant no long drapey bits! And it’s a good thing – no issues with the costume at all (other than needing to wear my Janji leggings under the shorts)!
So this 10K course, I can’t get enough of it! It certainly will change with the construction and eventual opening of Star Wars land however if they can get a 10K course to fit entirely inside the park then sign up! A description of the course could be best described as the below (taken from my BibRave review):
“There’s some slight road running before you turn off backstage past the Disneyland Admin buildings, down the side of Disneyland Park (look to your left and you’ll see Harbor Blvd!) and coming out around the Tower of Terror before heading back into Disneyland Park. You’ll run through the gates and then head backstage to appear in Tomorrowland and BAM! you’ve hit the 2 mile mark! It’s a run through the castle up into Fantasyland, looping around the Matterhorn and through the “Darth Vader” tunnel (it’s pretty cool) to Big Thunder Mountain. Once you get through Frontierland you’ve made it 3 miles, and you’ve still got California Adventure to go!
Running down Main Street is a completely different experience to running up it as you head out to the supporters lining the space between the two parks. Once inside California Adventure you’ll head back towards Hollywood Land and out running a loop up through the tram turnaround points. 4 miles down and you’re running behind Cars Land to come out beside Radiator Springs Racers. The colours of the pseudo mountains look amazing when the sun is rising, so definitely take it all in at this point!
After the mile 5 marker you’re running around Paradise Bay (all lit up) back up past Grizzly River Run and onto Downtown Disney and to the finish line near the Disneyland Hotel.”
I did think about stopping for pictures but most of the lines were incredibly long. BB8 – there was no way that I was able to stop (looking at about 1/2 hour queue) and for R2D2/C3PO they had actually closed the line. And I was corral B! I’m not sure if they opened it post me running through but I have heard reports of people actually being told that they would be swept if they stayed.
The good news is that this is a fast 10K course, so of course you get the feeling of speed. I ended up winding back the pace since my main goal was to finish the weekend rather than bust it all on the 10K (and recover from Dopey).
Half – Interestingly I didn’t know that it was going to be significantly colder for the Half than the other days but I completely overdressed (or so I thought). I did end up dumping a tank top (underneath my L/S and S/S tees) at the last bathroom stop before heading out to Harbor Blvd – however this is where the course was at it’s coldest!
The course followed a similar plan through the parks as the 5 & 10K events, and then ran out to Harbor Blvd through to Garden Grove and back. I actually really enjoyed this course, although there seemed to be a lot less entertainment than what you see in September. I’m assuming that this is due to the largely residential route as opposed to the industrial course for the Disneyland Half. One of the good aspects of this event is the chance to see the leaders make their way back to the Disneyland Resort. It’s awesome to see them fly their way to the finish and cheer them on!
Once again the lines were enormous for the Star Wars characters in the parks, however the 501st legion are lined up in all their costumed glory around mile 9 and are more than happy to pose for snaps! This is where I got my pics done – didn’t impact my pace and the majority of the race was done.
For this one I decided on a 0:30/1:30 run/walk ratio after the first 6km (which I ran). I was able to power through until 18km where I picked the run up until the finish. I actually finished in 3:08 which I didn’t think was too bad given the feat the weekend before and was able to pick up the Rebel Challenge and Coast to Coast medals.
The journey was complete!
Upon checking the results I’ve noticed that with the 3:08 half I’m actually sitting in the middle of the pack for my gender/age which means that there is definitely an attraction for the 3+ hour runner to this race.
The Star Wars Half is definitely a fun event, the courses are great and you don’t have to be a Star Wars fan to enjoy running through the park (although they’re the only photo opps). I wouldn’t mind doing this one again in the future – without participating in Dopey beforehand- since I think you can easily PR with this weekend.
Be sure to check out my BibRave review of the Star Wars Half Marathon! Did you run it yourself? Then add your review!