I’ve heard a lot of talk in the running community lately that Disney races aren’t for “serious” runners… whatever that means. Maybe it’s the fact that Disney has “photo stops” on the course. Maybe it’s because Disney hypes up the run walk method, which even I am an advocate of if a person needs a small break. Or maybe it’s that race times largely tend to be on the slower side because newer runners take to Disney, employ the run walk method, and stop for photos. Wouldn’t having a slower pool mean that “serious runners” flock to these events because they’re more likely to place better than at whatever “serious” race they are at? If a person cares enough to compete I would say all races therefore are serious -for them-. Disney can very well be serious for the newer runner whose doing their first 13.1. Disney can be serious for the little kid who finally aged into events. Really serious is what you make it, just as the saying “your race your pace” rings true.
Let’s be honest, I’m no speedster. I’m a solid mid pack runner. I try to PR at every race. I push my limits. But I’m no where near going to Boston for the next year or two. But I strive to push my body to the limits (safely) no matter where the race. I’m also a huge Disney fan. So when I can afford it, you bet your butt I’ll be running Disney. And when I can’t afford it? Well, I’m part of the New Balance points community and I got a free bib to this years Tinkerbell Half Marathon.
I’ve done a few Disney challenges in the past but between completeing multiple events recently and also the whole free bib thing I stuck to just doing the half marathon. We got Tink the expo on Saturday around lunch and it was probably the most breezy expo I’ve been to. Bibs on level 2 with everything laid out and no lines. I was in corral B because of my 1:00:10 10k times. Shirts and merch on level 1. While there we swung by the New Balance booth and I got the Huanted Mansion Vaze Pace V2 sneakers I’ve been lusting after. I got two pairs and because I was a points member I got a discount! Cha-Ching.
We then made a quick stop by the merch booth where there was NO line. I’ve waited up to an hour for my rD merch from past events (Wine and Dine 2015, Avengers 2015, Dak Side 2016, Dumbo 2016). I bought my headband which is the one “must have” for each race I do and we rolled back out all within an hour of arrival.
This time I opted to stay off property so there was a little extra walking the day before the race but not so bad honestly. Althgh it did get hot in the middle of the night so my sleep was “meh”.
Getting to the start for this event is my only negative about the race. First the corrals had one entrance into them, but a few spots to funnel in to that entrance. If you had bag check you had to go through security, out security, through another security, walk your bag all the way to the end of a parking lot, then back through security again to get to the wall of people all trying to get to their corral. It took about 45 minutes for me to get to my start but thankfully I’m the type who shows up as early as the race booklet says is possible. I heard some people were still trying to get to their corral after the official start time. Uff. Thumbs down on the new system Run Disney! Perhaps have mutltiple entrances into the corral area as well as moving bag check closer/having bag check trucks like many other races.
The corrals themselves were laid out well with ample space for runners. The first corral was women only for a sub 2:04 time. I was at home in B with a predicted 2:26 finish. Jeff Galloway started a few feet away from me which was an ego boost! The race did however start late, I assume due to issues getting people to the start.
Once the race started it was smooth sailing. I loved that there was more time in the parks than past Anaheim events. It made the first 5 miles fly by. The past two races I had done in Anaheim with Run Disney kind of dumped you out onto the highway overpass, but this one placed us in a very nice neighborhood. People were out on their lawns cheering and the police were doing an amazing job with the traffic control. Other than the fact that I forgot my sunglasses and we were running into the sun I’d say this course was way better than other ones I’ve done in the area. The race support was also top notch this time around. As always I tip my hat to Disney for their handling of getting non runners across the course without stopping runners in their tracks.
The finish was lively as ever and while I was a bit tired I pulled in a PR at 2:24. I’ve done better at fulls but any PR on the official distance record is a PR I’ll take! So for those that say Disney isn’t for serious runners, eat my pixie dust!
The medical team was great this time with prompt service for my cramped up calf and the lady handing out Tylenol had a crown with a Tylenol sign on it. So cute :3
Speaking of cute the medal is super cute! It glitters and sparkles and like all Disney medals it’s massive. I had a problem with mine and Disney replaced it immediately with one still in it’s fresh package.
And a first for me was seeing merch for sale at the finish festival. Finally those “I did it!” Shirts made more sense to purchase.
Overall I’d give this race a 4.75 out of 5. My only complaint is the mess as the start trying to get people into their corrals. Everything else from the expo to the finish festival was top notch. I could absolutely see myself doing this one again!*
*There were a lot of complaints after the race that people were stuck trying to exit the parking garage for two hours after the race. Since there was only one entrance and exit open, it was Mothers Day Weekend, a race weekend, and Disneyland I’m surprised but not surprised. Since we stayed at a hotel off the main strip we were showered, snacked, and on our way home before those in the lot got to leave. I’d suggest staying off property or staying at the parks all day (SHOWERED, please!) if you want to race on a busy weekend.