Part 2 of the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend
This is a continuation of Part 1: the Disneyland 5K.
It’s been a bit difficult writing my experience at the Disneyland Half Marathon. Every time I start writing, I end up thinking of all these Disney clips I want to watch/listen to, so I get distracted and forget about writing this post. Must. Focus!
On the weekend of the Disneyland Half Marathon, I participated in the 5K, the 10K, and the Half Marathon. The 10K and half marathon bundled together are part of a new challenge by runDisney: the Dumbo Double Dare.
The Dumbo Double Dare is a special medal earned when you run the 10K on the Saturday, and then the half marathon the Sunday after. You get a special medal with Dumbo on it to commemorate your accomplishment and so label how crazy you are. I’d probably say this is Disney’s craziest medal in Disneyland, since in Disney World the Dopey Challenge is sheer insanity.
I talked about all my pre-race and expo logistics in the previous post, and will pick up where I left off previously, which was immediately after the 5K.
The Disneyland 10K
I finished the 5K sometime around 5:50am and headed back to the start line, which was about a quarter mile away. Erica was waiting for me in her corral (F), and I decided to take it very easy for the 10K and not rush things. After all, I would be running the half marathon the next day.
Not knowing where to hang my 5K medal, I decided to wrap it around my armband for the other runners to see. It did jumble around and swing everywhere when I ran, but a plastic medal made it seem alright.
At around 6am, the same Alice in Wonderland announcers came and gave almost the same identical speech, only difference was that they highlighted it was the Inaugural 10K and we were now legacy runners! Woo hoo!
The 10K started promptly at 6:15am, and Erica and I were off shortly after. The sun was rising at the time we started.
Mile 1: 11:06 / mile
The 10K goes further out of Disneyland to the Anaheim Convention Center (about a mile from the start line near the Disneyland Hotel).
The course narrows very quickly around the Convention Center, and we ran into walkers everywhere taking their time. Erica and I agreed that we would run the first two miles, or until we got into the park, but the walkers slowed us down considerably.
We hit a straightaway on Harbor Blvd (the eastern perimeter of Disneyland) and passed the wonderful supporters of the city of Anaheim who came to cheer us on. A grumpy old man (probably used to be one of the Seven Dwarfs?) yelled “Why are you woo-ing so much? Woo after you run 6 miles.” Talk about a buzzkill.
Mile 2: 11:43 / mile
At around the second mile, we made a U-turn into the California Adventure side of Disneyland, and proceeded backstage for a while.
When we turned into California Adventure, we were in Cars Land, and Erica was in disbelief that she was in Disneyland. We decided to stop and just walk around the park and have fun!
The World of Color water jets were working, but no song or color was on display like when I ran the 5K. Bummer, but still really cool.
Mile 3: 15:07 / mile
After Paradise Pier, the 10K course meets with the 5K again and goes into Grizzly Peak. It then heads off into the Hollywood Pictures Backlot, where Mike Wazowski and Sulley were available for photos! There was a ridiculously long line, though, as expected of Disney attractions.
The course then veered into Disney’s backlots again, and we saw things such as costuming scheduling, cast member training, and the famed Disney backlot ATMs. That was neat! Then it was off to Disneyland.
The course enters Disneyland at the main entrance and onto Main Street. It was much cooler seeing everything in the daytime as opposed to dead of night like when I ran the 5K.
At the center of the park, we veered off into Tomorrowland, where the famed Buzz Lightyear ride and Space Mountain were. We were also given the chance to take pictures with Stormtroopers, the latest addition to the Disney franchise. Cool!
Mile 4: 14:25 / mile
The fourth mile took you into Mickey’s Toon Town and a big part of Disney’s backlot. There was the smell of horses, but everyone there was cheering you on!
Even Disney’s Custodial Staff felt the magic.
A photo op at every mile marker!
Mile 5 was right at Fantasyland, which took you straight under the Sleeping Beauty castle.
Mile 5: 13:46 /mile
The last mile consisted of Adventureland, which took you near the steam boat, the Haunted Mansion, the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, and my favorite: Davy Crockett’s Explorer Canoes. Go try it out
The second half of the 5th mile took you out of Disneyland, into Downtown Disney, and out to the finish line.
Mile 6: 15:04 / mile
There were significantly more people here, and it got really crowded near the finish since people decided to just walk the whole thing.
We finished at 01:24:25, or 13:35 / mile. Neither a record nor our fastest time. But who cares? It’s Disneyland!
Afterwards we met with my mom who had finished the 5K and took a photo of our winnings. We made the drive back up to LA, and I rested up for the Disneyland Half Marathon the next day!
The Disneyland Half Marathon
#11 / 13 of the 2013 Half Marathons
Sunday, September 1st, I stumbled out of bed at 3:30am. I picked up Erica and we were back off to Disneyland for my half marathon.
This time, I was in Corral B, which put me further up in front. There was also a lot less costumed people and more people in running gear.
The same two announcers showed up again, this time not in Alice in Wonderland gear but more Mickey/Minnie Mouse themed. They brought up celebrities such as Sean Astin, and Joey Fatone from NSYNC.
With the normal festivities at 80 degree weather, the race began at 5:30am!
Taking a picture while running doesn’t really work
Mile 1: 8:54 / mile
Mile 2: 8:39 / mile
Mile 3: 8:18 / mile
Mile 4: 8:28 / mile
Since I’ve described the course inside the park in both the 5K and 10K, refer to the course descriptions there for the first 4 miles of the course.
After exiting the park in Disneyland, we were on the streets of Anaheim. There was a steady uphill climb as we needed to pass the 5 freeway, and headed deep into Anaheim’s commercial spaces. Pretty boring. Other than the water stations and mile markers, this seemed like any other race.
Mile 5: 8:20 / mile
Mile 6: 8:36 / mile
There were, however, lots of high school bands and cheer squads that were around, and were strategically placed anytime I felt tired. It was a great motivator, having them cheering you on!
Mile 7: 8:18 / mile
At the 7th mile, there was a stream of old vintage cars, all nice, shiny, and waxed on display. It was really cool seeing all these cars everywhere in a sea of Anaheim commercial complexes.
Mile 8: 8:37 / mile
The 8th mile took you around the Honda Center, home of the Anaheim Ducks (NHL). We ran through the parking lot and into the Santa Ana River Trail, which was a bicycle path. At this point this race and Disney didn’t seem to have any relation whatsoever. Was I running a small town race or the Disneyland Half Marathon?
The sun was heating up and started beating down pretty hard. Summer in Southern California can be difficult to run in.
Mile 9: 8:31 / mile
Angels Stadium. I got to run past home plate inside the stadium, but that wasn’t the best part. The best part was that there was a stadium filled with the local Boy Scout troops cheering us on and out to support all the runners. As a former Boy Scout, I thought this was one of the best parts of the race.
Mile 10: 8:20 / mile
Mile 11: 8:33 / mile
Mile 12: 8:42 / mile
I don’t remember much about this part of the course, other than it was hot, the Matterhorn was in the distance, and that there was a sign someone wrote saying “The Disneyland Half Marathon is $175. You have $38.50 to go!”
The last mile was in California Adventure, but all through the backlots where the 5K/10K met. It then went into Downtown Disney’s parking lot before turning back to the finish line outside Disneyland Hotel. There was nothing but people, Mickey Mouse, high school cheer squads, and more people.
Mile 13: 8:30 / mile
I finished the half marathon in 01:51:30, or 8:30 / mile. Not my best, but given that the starting temperature was 80 degrees or so it was a very good time.
Erica was waiting at the finish line, and we celebrated by going to Steakhouse 55 at the Disneyland Hotel for breakfast.
All in all, this was a very fun race and a really great weekend. The Disneyland races are an absolute must do for anyone who is even remotely a Disney fan and runs, or for anyone who remotely runs and is a huge Disney fan. You get to run in some of Disney’s most famed attractions, and as a bonus run in Angels Stadium if you’re a huge baseball fan.
However, for a first race, or for someone who simply wants to get their feet warmed up in racing, I’d recommend just doing the 10K. The 10K is timed, it takes you solely in Disneyland itself, and is packed with energy from start to finish with Disney characters and highly motivated and positive runners. Some parts of the half marathon got pretty dull or un-Disney, and at some point I wished that Disney at least kept up the magic along the route furthest from Disneyland, especially at the Santa Ana River Trail.
But, regardless, this was just nitpicking at an extremely organized race, one that has gorgeous medals, ample parking, very cheerful runners, and overall a race that promoted magic at every mile. I’ll definitely be doing more runDisney races in the future!