In one week, I will be traveling to Disneyland (yes, again) for the 10th Anniversary of the Disneyland Half Marathon. When I signed up, I told myself this was going to be the time for me to complete those 13.1 miles. I’ve finished 10 before in the Tower of Terror 10-miler, but that’s all I’ve even attempted before. Unfortunately, due to surgery and then an infection this summer, my training has not gone well so I’m not sure this will be the time, but I’m going to go anyway. Why?
As I’ve said before, I’m not a runner and I do not find running fun… BUT I do find runDisney races fun. As my husband describes it, “It’s like a giant moving party.”
Let’s start from the beginning. When one arrives at a runDisney race, the first stop has to be the Expo because you have to give them your waiver/release and pick up your bib and other goodies. You get a t-shirt and they are usually pretty darn cool no matter which race you do. Plus, the Expo is great for shopping, even for nonrunners like me. Who wouldn’t love to own a pair of those cute runDisney New Balance shoes? They’re only officially available from the Expo (although they did also have them at D23). I have every women’s pair except the new Tinkerbell ones and they are super comfortable in addition to being cute.
Of course, that’s not all you’ll find at the Expo. What about those limited edition Dooney & Bourke purses? Each race gets its own design. I also love Sparkle skirts. Now those are more specifically for runners, but they are fabulous. I especially love the ones with the built-in shorts underneath. Great for summer and running!
Then there are all the parties. For the Disneyland Half this year, there are two. The first is the Disneyland Half Marathon 10th Anniversary party. This will be held at Disneyland and according to the runDisney website, will include “a special showing of the spectacular 60th Anniversary “Paint the Night” parade featuring Disney characters, and over 1.5 million lights! And that’s just the start of the party fun! You’ll get exclusive after-hours access to popular attractions including Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Indiana Jones Adventure, Pirates of the Caribbean and Splash Mountain. Special Disney entertainment and face to face meetings with your favorite Disney characters add even more thrills and excitement.” On another night, the Pasta in the Park party will be held. It “includes a scrumptious buffet dinner with self-seating, entertainment, and special appearances by Disney characters eager to meet you.”
That leads us to the races themselves. runDisney races include a lot more than just running somewhere. There is entertainment throughout the course. During the Tower of Terror 10-miler (which is no longer being held), there were DJs playing music to keep us going, photo backdrops like the one with a vehicle from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Disney characters throughout. When I did the Star Wars race, we began the race with C3PO and R2D2 and then were cheered on by Chewbacca, Stormtroopers, and even Darth Vader himself. Plus, the Cast Members are fabulous. At Disneyland, the night-shift maintenance crew always is there to “chear” the runners on as are many, many others throughout the course. With all of that going on, the miles actually fly by… and WHEN, not if, you finish, the feeling of accomplishment is absolutely incredible. I was so proud of myself at the end of the 10 miles, I cried.
One final thing that’s amazing is your fellow runners. I was looking for a run buddy for the Tower of Terror 10-miler and found someone through Facebook. We had never met in person, but decided to do it together. I’m so glad we did. She has become one of my best friends. We now chat, travel together, give each other advice, help each other out… all those things friends do. Without runDisney, we probably never would have met, which would be a loss for both of us. I also was roomies with other friends for the race and I met up with yet another in one of the parks on the same trip. I’m not saying you’ll meet your new bestie, but the people are really great and given a chance, you will make new friends.
It’s too late to sign up for the Disneyland Half, but runDisney has lots of other races coming up including the new Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side and the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon. Check out their full calendar at runDisney.com.