I spent most of my childhood living within a 30 minute drive of Disneyland, I have been to the park more times than I can count. In 2011, when I was ready to take my running to the next level, it made perfect sense to make the Disneyland Half Marathon my first.
I absolutely love the challenge of the half marathon but I’ll be honest, the last two miles can really be a struggle for me; the 10k is where it’s at.
When runDisney announced the addition of a 10k to Disneyland Half Marathon weekend I knew I had to run it. Early registration was offered in January at the Tinkerbell Half Marathon Expo. That’s when Tony and I registered.
We got to Disneyland about 2:30 on Friday afternoon and headed straight to the expo to pick up our bibs and shirts. Throughout the afternoon the Twitterverse was abuzz over crowding and long lines at the expo, but when we arrived we walked right up to the bib pick up booth, got in another line for our pre-purchased park tickets then headed upstairs to the expo floor where we received our shirts. We walked the whole expo and from start to finish were out in less than an hour.
Saturday morning we were up bright and early and made it to the holding area for 10k participants right about 5:15am. While we were waiting for the 5k to kick off, I had the chance to catch up with some of my friends who were also running.
It was a very hot and humid 80 degrees as we lined up towards the back of corral D. The race started a bit behind its 6:15 scheduled time. Corral D and E seemed to meld together and we got the go ahead to starting line at 6:29.
The course was extremely crowded as we ran down South Disneyland Drive, past Katella and circled around the Convention Center. After we passed the first marker and made our way back towards the parks on Harbor it opened up for a bit.
Mile 2 brought us into Disney’s California Adventure park and, although it was a bit crowded, I was able to maintain my normal pace. As we came around to the boardwalk area, all bets on me running for time were off. It was such a pretty day (despite the heat) so I decided many pictures were in order.
Even stopping to snap photo after photo, the miles seemed to fly by. Before I knew it. we were heading into Disneyland and approaching mile 4.
Running along the backlot of Disneyland provided plenty of photo opportunities of parade floats. Once we entered Fantasyland, we found Alice in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter waiting by the mile 5 marker.
Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum and the Red Queen were also nearby.
Through Sleeping Beauty’s Castle we went, out of the park into Downtown Disney, which was filled with cheering spectators and fellow runners. We ran down the home stretch on to the finish line beside the Disneyland Hotel.
I was so happy I decided to register for this race. I think it offers runners who don’t feel quite ready to tackle a half marathon a great mid-way distance event. And like I said I absolutely love the 10k!
It was a bit crowded and slow moving in points of the course, but everyone seemed to be having such a great time and we are all there because we love Disney.
As for me, I will be registering for the 10k distances as long as runDisney offers them. And yes, I was bummed I just didn’t sign up for the Dumbo Double Dare. But those 10Ks – they will be my low key, get silly and take pictures along the course run as opposed to shooting for my personal record half marathons.