Friends will ask me if the expense is worth it to do a runDisney race and the answer is, absolutely! It’s a race like no other. It has Disney magic and motivating.
It was an early morning wake up at 2:00am so that we could catch the 3am bus to the race. I’m not a morning person, so at that point, I was doubting myself. However, once I got to the event and saw all the wonderful costumes and character meetings, I was pumped and ready to go.
I was able to wait in line for two characters meets and then went to the corral line-up. We had our photos taken with BB-8 and Darth Vader. There were other Star Wars characters I didn’t recognize, and here I thought I was up to date with the newest characters.
The race was amazing. Before sunlight, the runDisney team set up lights and sounds effects from the Star Wars movies. It was like running through one of the scenes in the movie. At different points in the race, there were clips of the Star Wars movies playing on a big screen. There were plenty of water stations along the way and it’s always great to see the Disney Cast Members come out and cheer us on.
I never stop to do the photo opportunities along the route. I’m too slow of a runner to pull that off and not get swept up, but I still enjoyed seeing other runners line-up for to have their photos taken. This year’s race started in one of Disney’s parking lots and ended in Epcot. We ran through Animal Kingdom and got to see the World of Pandora first hand. It was so cool!
I was up at 2:30am. The race didn’t start until 5:00am, but we were told to be standing at our corral by 4:00am. There was a walk from the hotel I was staying to the corral location, so we wanted to allow enough time to have a quick breakfast before the race.
We were at the entertainment stage by 4:00am. It was freezing cold. Otterbox was sponsoring the coat or jacket check-in. Once we were at the stage the announcer started calling for people that were in costume to come up front as a group and get our picture taken. Shortly after that we checked in our jackets and began to endure the cold morning breeze.
It was nice seeing how creative some of the runners were. I hadn’t thought of doing a ‘mash-up”. That’s where you combine two or more costume ideas into one. For example, there was a lady dressed as Mary Poppins with a blue face and a fin on her hat. She had done a Mary Poppins and Guardians of the Galaxy combination.
We then meandered over to find our corral letter. We were in the last corral, on purpose. It was our first runDisney race and I wasn’t sure if I could keep up with everyone, so we played it safe.
I noticed that many people had mylar blankets. My swag bag did not have one. I don’t know if only the people doing the Gauntlet Challenge got them or if they had saved them from previous runDisney races. However, it’s now clear to me that I need a couple of those for our next race.
As people started to line-up in their respective corral, we looked around us and wow, we were among a sea of people. The Thor 10K had 7,900 people running and overall for the weekend a total of 39,000 people. That’s by far the largest race I’ve been in.
Corrals were released in alphabetical order. We were so far back that we could hear the announcer, but couldn’t see a thing. It probably took an hour and a half of waiting until our corral was released. Needless to say, I was eager to get going and warm-up.
It seemed like a lot of the race course was through the back lots of the parks. I didn’t mind that though. How often do you get to see “behind the curtain” and see where things are made and put together for the rides? However, some of the walkways along the back roads are very narrow. All runners were pretty much forced to slow down to a fast walk because there was just no way to get around the crowd of people.
We eventually resurfaced at the back of Disneyland at Toon Town. That’s where the in the park running began. All throughout the race, there were hologram projections of the symbols of the various Avengers. I would always smile and point them out to Jim. It was a small reminder that we were on track.
All the bathrooms at the park were open for us and there were portapotties available as well. Having enough bathrooms was not a problem for this race.
I was touched by all the employees that were out cheering us on. They didn’t seem upset that they had to get up so early, they truly were encouraging and happy to us there. Some even had signs saying what shift crew they were and thanking us for participating in the race.
I didn’t have headphones on. I wanted to take in the whole experience. However, there were plenty of runners that chose to wear theirs and that’s fine. It’s a personal choice.
I saw some of the security guards on bikes surrounding us. I panicked and thought we were going to get scooped. Nope. They were just making sure everyone was okay. They commented on Jim’s costume and told him they liked it. The security guards seemed to be enjoying the festivities too.
We ran through both parks: Disneyland and California Adventure. I got to see a part of California Adventure that I don’t normally go through when I visit the park. It’s in Cars Land. While I love Cars Land, I had never walked past this particular area. That was neat and again made me smile.
I didn’t try getting photos taken with any of the characters. I knew I wasn’t going to have the time. When I passed the Matterhorn, the line to have your photo with Thor when around half of the Moutain. I didn’t have to spend like that. In fact, I don’t know how the racers in line finished the race without getting scooped.
My goal for this race was to finish without getting scooped. I was not concerned with my time, just getting it done and I succeeded. I am very proud of myself. I had a panic attack the night before and had a lot of doubts. Talking to Jeff Galloway during the Expo helped and the support of my loved ones helped too.
Rumor had it that some New Balance Outlets had an inventory of runDisney shoes. I called my local store and sure enough, they had Dumbo’s from 2016 and Tea Cups and Haunted Mansion from 2017. I was actually wanting the Dumbo sneakers. I know it’s a men’s shoe, but I think it looks great as a women’s shoe. I thought the same thing about the Toy Story runDisney shoes. I didn’t see them as a men’s only shoe, I thought it was gender neutral. At least that’s my opinion. I saw plenty of people last week at Disneyland wearing all the 2017 runDisney shoes.
I got to the store and they didn’t have my size in the Dumbo. I did score a pair for Jim at $99. That’s what they were selling for at the Avengers Half Marathon Expo. The smallest size they had was a 9 men’s. While at the store I decided to search on eBay and see if by chance anyone was selling the Dumbos in my size and eureka! There was one seller that had them, so I quickly hit the buy now button. Now Jim and I have matching runDisney Dumbo sneakers.
I didn’t see the clip-on that matches the Dumbo sneakers at the store, so, for now, I’ll have to go without those until I can spot them at a decent price.
So, the morale of the story, if you’re wanting runDisney shoes, check with your local New Balance Outlet Store. I was told that some of the stores will tell you over the phone if they have runDisney shoes and others won’t so be aware of that. //s7.addthis.com/js/300/addthis_widget.js#pubid=ra-5980c223ff8218bd