For several weeks the runDisney Facebook page has been teasing us with clues about a new Disney race. The clues have been pretty obscure, for example this was the first clue:
And this was another clue:
Ronald Arthur Charles
Secret decoder rings were no help here!
But the wait is finally over, and on Tuesday Disney announced, first on the runDisney Facebook page and then at a press conference at ESPN Zone at Disneyland's Downtown Disney, that the new race will be a half marathon at Disneyland - the Tinker Bell 1/2 Marathon. Race weekend is January 27-29, 2012, and the race itself will be on Sunday, January 29. Other weekend events include an Expo on January 27-28 and the Never Land Family Fun Run 5K and Kid's Races on Saturday, January 28.
Disney California Adventure Vice President Mary Niven made the announcement, joined by Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, Disneyland Ambassador Jolie Hales, and actress Megyn Price, star of Rules of Engagement.
Megyn Price will be participating in her first half marathon, and was the first person to register for the race. She received her personalized race bib, with the number "1".
The race features a new half marathon course in the city of Anaheim. It starts at the typical starting line on Disneyland Drive but runners will head north instead of south, and run through Disneyland Park between miles 2 and 3. Heading north again the course goes almost all the way to Anaheim City Hall, before returning south at just short of mile 7. After passing by Anaheim's Garden Walk runners will enter Disney California Adventure at about mile 11.5. The race finishes in a new location: the parking lot south of the Paradise Pier Hotel. The course map is HERE.
This race will be relatively small, with a limit of just over 10,000 entrants, and all finishers will receive a new Tinker Bell "wings" medal.
I know one of my big questions about the race was: "What does this mean to the Coast-to-Coast Challenge?" And it does change the way that operates. For those not familiar with the Coast-to-Coast, in the past, if you ran any of these Florida races: the WDW Marathon, Half Marathon, or Princess Half Marathon, and then ran the Disneyland Half Marathon, all in the same calendar year, you received the special Coast-to-Coast Challenge medal after you completed your Disneyland Half Marathon. (And it's a super-cool piece of bling, too!!!)
Now the rules have changed, and if you run any WDW Marathon/Half Marathon race plus either of the Disneyland races in the same calendar year, you will receive the Coast-to-Coast medal upon completion of the second race. No matter which order you did them in - you can do a DL race first and a WDW race second, or vice versa. This now makes the Wine and Dine Half Marathon eligible as one of the WDW races, which it has not been in the past. You can only receive one Coast-to-Coast medal per year, though - so even if you ran, for example, the WDW Half and Tinker Bell Half in January, then ran the Princess Half in March and the Disneyland Half in September, you would still only receive the one Coast-to-Coast. (And I know there are those of you out there who thought about it!!!). As they have done in the past, Coast-to-Coast participants will receive a wristband at the Packet Pick-Up for their second race, and after completing the race will go to a special section of the finish area to exchange the wristband for a Coast-to-Coast medal.
The timing of the new race means that some of us can complete our Coast-to-Coast challenges in January by running a WDW race during Marathon weekend in early January, and then running the Tinker Bell Half in late January. As I am already signed up for the Marathon relay at WDW in January, and now the Tinker Bell Half, yes, I will be one of those crazy people.
Like the Princess Half Marathon, this race is designed to appeal to female runners, but men may also participate. Faron Kelly, Director of Marketing for Disney Sports Attractions, talked to us about the race, and specifically the women-focused aspect, after the announcement:
"More and more women are taking up marathoning, and half-marathoning. When you look at the number of new people entering distance running it is very heavily skewed to more and more women entering the sport. When you talk to them and say: 'Why do you like these women's-focused races?' They feel less intimidating, they feel a spirit of camaraderie...it's a different environment. The mixed races tend to feel a little bit more competitive. It's a great way to get a lot of women interested in the sport of marathoning, and in doing other races that are not just women-only."
Like the Princess Half, there are two-person team registrations available. It's not a relay - both members of the team run the full race - but teams get a second bib with their team name on it, and are eligible for awards for combined finish time in the team categories: Mother/Daughter, Sisters, Co-ed, and Open.
For additional information, or to register for the Tinker Bell 1/2 Marathon, visit the event's home page.
Oh, and about those obscure race clues? Apparently you had to be a Robert Langdon-class symbologist to figure them out - runDisney released this youtube video decoding the first three clues:
Clear as crystal now, huh?
So what do YOU think of the new Disneyland race? Will you be signing up?
The previous post in this blog was Disney Wonder - Pacific Northwest and Alaska Cruise.
The next post in this blog is April Disneyland Trip Report - Part 1.