I know last year I said that I wouldn’t do the Star Wars Half Marathon as Disney races are very expensive and you really can’t run a true race, unless you are the first 50 out the gate, due to the course going through Disneyland and has multiple choke points. It was hard to turn off my competitive switch, but I did what I could to enjoy the runs.
Saturday was the 10k, which was 98% inside of Disneyland and like all Disneyland races I have done the race was to start at 5:30am. Luckily I was staying at the Disneyland Hotel, so I was fortunate enough to wake up at 4:45am to start the race and not 3:30am like last year. While doing my pre-race stretches, the middle of my lower back gave me a little ZING and I was horrified. I did a quick jog and I didn’t feel my back, so I was hopeful that I would be able to finish the race, that started in less than 10 minutes. I continued my pre-race stretching and a few minutes later, the race started.
This was my first race under a half marathon at Disneyland, so it was interesting to have a race take place almost entirely in Disneyland. The course went back and forth from Disneyland and California Adventure, as shown at the right. I was in concourse A for both races and the wait time for the different photo ops during the race was at least 30 people deep, with BB-8 having the longest line ever. I stopped for the trash compactor prop, only because there was no line. I took a stupid picture (I looked dumb) and continued the race. I finished the 10k at a little over 55 minutes. I did not feel my back at all during the race, but walking around after the race and the rest of the day I felt it many times.
The next day was the half marathon, that when completed I would complete the Disneyland 2016 Star Wars Rebel Challenge. Same starting location as the 10k the day prior, same start time and now same back issue. The first 4.5 miles of the race were in the parks as well and for being in the fastest concourse, there were a lot of people walking, which is not surprising as Disney likes to promote the run/walk method. But the biggest pain, aside from the choke points on the race course inside of the parks, was the idea of raising your hand and walking without looking behind you or moving off to the side of the race path. This made me mad as I had countless people stop in front of me and I was in the fastest group! Once we left the park and started to run on city streets, everything was much better. Wider track to run on (as it was the large city streets) and all of the run/walkers were now behind me. My phone died at mile 12, so my map for the course is incomplete but it is shown at the above left. I finished the half marathon with a time of 2:10:42. At the end of the race, this was the first half marathon where I looked good at the end and not dead as shown here:
This is most likely my last Disneyland race, due to the early start times, choke points and rude run/walkers who stop in front of you (but I raised my hand, so its okay!) and cost (these races are the most expensive out of all races I have done, including OCRs!). If you do not care about your time and can actually enjoy the race going behind the scenes at Disneyland and are willing to sacrifice an hour or more to taking pictures with characters, you will love these races. If you can’t, like me, there are plenty of other race options, just not at Disneyland.