Monday, February 20, 2012

Running a Half Marathon?! at Disneyland?!?!

Yep! you read that correctly!! You can in fact run a Half Marathon at Disneyland!!

Most of you who are reading this blog, probably already knew that both the Disneyland Resort and the Walt Disney World Resort have had Marathons and Half Marathons and 5Ks and all sorts of other races available to run.  For a few years, I'd heard about the Disneyland Half event but what I didn't know was the extent to which this running program has gone. There are so many races to be a part of!! And I'm extremely excited to say that I'll be running in the next Disneyland Half Marathon in September! :D

So what got me interested in all this?

Let me say first off, that I am NOT an athlete. I never have been and probably will never become a hard core have-to-get-my-run-in-while-its-hailing/snowing/raining/hurricane/tornado/earthquake/uphill-both-ways person! [phew!]
What got me thinking about doing this, or shall we say running at all, was my cousin.  She signed up to run the Inaugural Tinkerbell Half Marathon that took place in January. She asked me to tag along to keep her company on the drive and because she knew I love anything that involves Disneyland.  At first, the thought of someone actually wanting to run 13.1 miles was completely bonkers to me, (LOL) but I tagged along because she was really excited about it and I was very curious about how these things went down.
We got down there in the afternoon and checked into the hotel across the street. It wasn't a bad walk to the Disneyland Hotel where the expo was so we didn't bother driving the car.  It's a good thing too because parking was very limited and there were hundreds if not thousands of people walking around the property.  We needed to go pick up my cousins bag with her bib number and get her checked in, so we headed down to where all the signs were pointing.  Which happened to be the entire bottom floor of the hotel parking structure. Remember what I said about limited parking? This is why...

they actually had black carpet over the cement!
It was completely organized craziness! There were sooooo many people there for the marathon.  How on earth did I miss the last 5 or so years of this event?? One really cool thing that I'm super jealous about is the collectors pin that was put out for the race. I'm not a Disney pin trader but I do think it's cool to get one for special events ie new attractions, special events, etc.  You better believe I was all over the Little Mermaid attraction pins!
Check out this one..  

 After checking in, we went over to the actual expo room where they had all kinds of booths and speakers set to do mini talks and FREE STUFF! I'm all about free stuff at expos! I don't care if they were handing out jock straps, I'd probably go get one! We grabbed a few things from the vendors and checked out the official merchandise for the race.  As would be expected, the majority of the items had Tinkerbell all over it.
yay, for free breakfast!

I can't talk about the Expo without showing the most hilarious "Disney" thing I've ever encountered in my life.  Let me just say that there were 12,000 people there for the race and about 95% were women.  In an attempt to, I guess... beautify? the Men's restroom for the ladies... I almost peed my pants because this happened....
........  O.o

Good Work Disney!!

After that we went back to the hotel, had some dinner, and then tried to get to bed early so my cousin could have a good nights rest. Didn't exactly work out that way, but we tried! haha

She got up bright and early while I gratefully kept sleeping hahaha.  My other cousin and I headed down there towards the end of the race a few hours later to meet up at the finish line.  We were able to stand on some bleachers to watch her cross the finish line, which was pretty cool.  The race used a special chip to keep track of the runners and when they crossed a marker, cast members yelled out their names! Really cool to hear her name be called out at the end and I'm sure it helps as she was going through the miles during it too.

All in all, it was a really cool experience even just being a spectator at the event.  I can't wait until I can actually be a part of the race itself and see first hand inside the park.  Everyone looked like they had so much fun and there were so many costumes!! Tutu's, fairy wings, sequined skirts, leg warmers, princess dresses, it was all so cool to watch!

Of course the best thing, well besides the feeling of great accomplishment for her, was the medal each finisher received. (Not gonna lie.... TOTALLY jealous!)

That about sums it up. Maybe this was a little inspiring to you too? I know the event was for me and I wish I could do all the races!  Ultimate goal would be to do a race in Disneyland and then do a Walt Disney World race within the allotted time frame to receive the Coast to Coast medal. How cool would that be?

See you in September Disneyland!!!
My cousin as she ran through Sleeping Beauty Castle at sunrise!

If you want to check out all the races and information on the Disneyland Half Marathon in September check out the Run Disney website.