Tinker Bell Half Marathon Archives

April 13, 2015

Trip Planning for a runDisney Race Weekend


In response to one of my recent half marathon blogs, Kristyn sent this comment:

Enjoy your RunDisney posts. I am looking for recommendations on two topics if you can help me, Laura. I am doing my first event this fall at Wine and Dine. Can you do a blog on how you prepare for a nighttime race as most of us are used to the early morning runs. Also, not sure if it has ever been covered, but how to plan on where to stay and how to get to to packet pickup and the event if you don't have a rental car. Would love some advice on how to plan for a RunDisney trip. Thanks.

I'm hoping there are others of you that are interested in this information, too. So here are some of my thoughts on how to plan a trip for a runDisney race.

7-9 months in advance

Choose a race weekend and a race or races.

The first decision you have to make is which race weekend you're going to attend, and which events are you going to participate in. This could be influenced by a number of factors, including work/school schedules, potential weather conditions, and race theme.

As I write this, runDisney offers seven different race weekends in Florida and California, with most race weekends including 5K, 10K, and half marathon races. (There's no 10K for Wine and Dine Weekend; and WDW Marathon Weekend also features the WDW Marathon, which is the granddaddy of them all!)

So, what's it going to be? Decisions, decisions. WDW Marathon Weekend in early January offers all four race distances, in addition to the Goofy Challenge and the Dopey Challenge. This is also the largest runDisney race weekend and has the most participants.

Is The Force with you? Then you might want to choose Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland, which is also in January, a week after Marathon Weekend. There are 5K, 10K, and half marathon races, as well as the Rebel Challenge, where runners do both the 10K and the half marathon. Races at Disneyland have smaller fields since the resort is smaller - this tends to make for a more pleasant race experience, but it also means they often sell out faster.

Are you looking for a "Girls' Getaway"? Then you might be interested in Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World or Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland. Both of these race weekends are women-focused. That doesn't mean that men are not allowed, but in the last few years women have outnumbered men by about 11:1 in the half marathons. Both race weekends offer 5K, 10K, and half marathon races, as well as a 10K/half marathon challenge. Princess Half Marathon Weekend takes place at the end of February.

This year Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend has been moved from January to Mother's Day Weekend in May. We'll see how that works out - many of us (myself included) think that's a poor choice for a race weekend, especially one focused on women. Getting up really early to run a half marathon is not the kind of pampering that most moms are looking for on Mother's Day!

Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend is held over Labor Day weekend, and also offers 5K, 10K, and half marathon races, and includes the Dumbo Double Dare 10K/half marathon challenge. It's pretty warm in Anaheim at this time of year, but a race weekend is a great excuse to visit Disneyland, if you haven't been out here before. The City of Anaheim really comes out in support of this one, with lots of high school bands, cheerleaders, Boy and Girl Scouts, and community dance groups. And then there's the classic cars!

Do you want to run a race and party afterward? Then the WDW Wine and Dine Half Marathon might be for you. This is my favorite WDW race: it's at night, it's a different course that goes through three theme parks, and there's an after-race party in Epcot until 4:00 a.m. The Food and Wine Festival food booths are open, as well as some attractions, and there's also special entertainment. The race weekend takes place in early November. There's no 10K for this one, just the 5K (which takes place the same day as the half marathon - but early in the morning), and the half marathon. But the 5K is also slightly different, since it's held at Animal Kingdom and not at Epcot like the others. This half is also a smaller field than the other WDW races.

If you want to bring out your inner super hero, then how about the Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland? In addition to having the longest name, this is the last runDisney event of the year, and takes place the week after Wine and Dine. There are 5K, 10K (new this year), and half marathon races. With the introduction of the 10K, there's the new Infinity Gauntlet Challenge. Weather-wise, this is a terrific time for a race in California.* In addition, the parks are fully decorated for the holidays. making it a special time of year for a visit to the Disneyland Resort.

*Last year's wind event during the half marathon was an anomaly.

Now that you've decided on a race...

Race registration opens 7-9 months in advance, (you can visit the runDisney web site to sign up for a reminder email) and many of the races sell out quickly (sometimes in under 30 minutes!). I highly recommend that you be prepared to register the minute that race registration opens (typically at 12:00 eastern time) so that you don't get shut out. The 10Ks and race challenges are usually the earliest to sell out, because they allow fewer participants. If you are an Annual Pass Holder or DVC member, there will be a pre-registration opportunity about two weeks before regular registration opens. A limited number of registrations are available during this time, and they also tend to go quickly. The good news is that if you qualify for this you get two shots at registering, and if you don't get in via pre-registration, you can try again during open registration. (In the past pre-registration was also available to Disney Visa card holders, but I do not know if this is still the case.)

RunDisney uses as their registration site. If you don't already have an account, then it's a good idea to set one up in advance. It doesn't help with pre-registration, but during open registration it will speed the process if you have an account you can log into.

So you're registered...what's next?

Time to make some additional decisions about the race weekend. Are you going to turn it into a vacation, and add on some days before and/or after the race? Where are you going to stay? How are you going to get around? Some of these considerations are slightly different depending on whether the race is at Walt Disney World or Disneyland, so I'll address them separately.

Since most of us travel to WDW or Disneyland we want to spend some extra time there apart from the races to give some added value to the trip. I personally recommend adding more of the time on after the race and not before. You'll still want to arrive at least a day or two before the race so that you have time to visit the Race Expo and pick up your race bib and shirt, etc., but once the race is over it's nice to have some time to relax and enjoy the parks.

At Walt Disney World, if you are staying on-site at a WDW resort, then race transportation and where to stay are kind of all rolled together. For each race weekend, there are multiple Walt Disney World resorts that are designated "host resorts". Race transportation is provided for runners staying at these hotels - this includes free transportation to/from the Expo in addition to transportation to/from the races. So, between using Disney's Magical Express for airport transportation and normal Disney transportation to the parks, then if you're staying at a host resort you probably don't need a rental car. For Marathon and Princess weekends, all WDW resorts are considered host resorts and offer race transportation. For Wine and Dine, the resort choices are more limited. You can visit the runDisney web site and go to Travel->Walt Disney World and then select the race weekend you are interested in for more information on the host resorts.

At Disneyland everything is much more compact, so from any of the Disney hotels and from many of the hotels in the surrounding area you simply walk to/from any race weekend events. The Expos are held in the convention center at the Disneyland Hotel, and the races all start/end near either the Disneyland Hotel or the Paradise Pier Hotel. (This makes the race morning logistics a WHOLE lot easier than at WDW - no bus ride required!). There are some designated host hotels that are further away which do offer Expo and race transportation, so that's also an option.

One thing to keep in mind is that there's no "Magical Express" equivalent at Disneyland, though there are a number of reputable shuttle services that provide airport transportation to all area hotels. You'll have to pay for it, but balance that off against the price of a car rental. Also, most hotels (including the Disney hotels) charge a fee for parking, so that's another thing to keep in mind. The two most popular airports to fly into are John Wayne (SNA) and Los Angeles International (LAX). SNA is a whole lot closer to Disneyland, but doesn't have as many flights. Long Beach (LGB) is another airport option, but it's very small, and few airlines fly there.

There are only three Disney-owned hotels at Disneyland, and they are all high-end, so Disney depends on their "Good Neighbor" hotels to provide the more moderate and budget-priced options. You won't get the Disney theming, but the accommodations are just fine, especially if your biggest requirement is a place to sleep and shower.

And did I mention that a lot of them are walking distance to the race events and the parks? :-) i can not stress enough what a huge benefit that is when running a race at Disneyland. You can find some additional information, including links to the hotel web sites, on our Good Neighbor Hotel FAQ

2-7 months in advance

Train for your race(s). I'm not going to say too much about this, since everyone has their own strategy, and what works best for them. But I will address Kristyn's question about Wine and Dine, and how to prepare for a nighttime race: I personally don't do anything differently in my training. I typically run one evening a week, but the first time I ran Wine and Dine I wasn't doing that, and it didn't make a difference in my performance. I think that if you've done your training, then your body knows what it needs to do, and time of day doesn't matter. If anything, I find it a little easier to run at night because it's dark and I don't have the sun beating down on me.

This is also the time period where you'll be able to submit your "Proof of Time". This is a race result from some other race you've participated in during the past couple of years, which runDisney will use in determining your placement in a start corral. This is done via a web page. You can use another runDisney race, but most of us don't have our best times in a runDisney race. :-) You'll need to have the race information, including the name of the race, date, location, distance, your time, AND a URL where runDisney can find the race results. If you run a different race and get a better time, you can go in and modify it. But you will not be able to modify your proof of time within about 3 months of the Disney race date - the cutoff date will be posted on the page. You are not required to submit a proof of time, but if you don't have one runDisney will assign you to one of the later corrals.

For WDW races, starting 6 months in advance you can make your Priority Seating arrangements for dining. So if it's important to you to eat a particular kind of food - or at a particular place - before a race, it's something to consider far in advance. And of course there's probably other restaurants you'd like to enjoy after the race - we often have a celebratory dinner at one of our favorite restaurants on Sunday night of race weekend.

60 days in advance

At Disneyland it's time to make your Priority Seating, though this isn't nearly as critical as it is at WDW. The exceptions would be for a special dining package, such as Fantasmic! viewing, or if you're booking for a large party.

For WDW you can make your Fastpass+ selections, if you are staying at a WDW resort.

1-4 weeks in advance

Race waivers will be available on the runDisney web site. You must complete a race waiver and present photo id to pick up your bib at the race Expo. While there are print stations at the Expo, it's a lot easier and faster if you print the waiver in advance and bring it with you. This is also how you find out your bib number, and you can determine your corral placement from that - otherwise you'll have to wait until you pick up your bib, as the corral will be printed on that.

Make a packing list. Don't forget things like gels, running belts, and throwaway clothes. If you use a particular nutrition product bring it with you - don't count on being able to purchase it at the Expo. If you're planning to run in costume, make sure you list all of the pieces. If you can do a test run in the costume to make sure it's going to work that's great, but I'm sure most of us (myself included) don't do that.

The week before

Obsessively stalk the weather channel. Ok, maybe that's just me. :-) But honestly, you want to know what to expect so that you can bring the appropriate clothing, both for running and park touring. And be aware that the weather can change drastically, even a day or two before the race (though this is more often an issue in Florida than California). Predicted starting temps in the 60s can suddenly turn into the 40s (or 30s!), or 50s can turn into high 60s, with finishing temps in the 80s. And rain is always a possibility. I've had experience with all of those, and they all have their own challenges. If it's chilly, the worst part is all the waiting around before the race. In that case, those little chemical hand warmer packets and some cheap throwaway gloves will go a long way to keeping you more comfortable. I ALWAYS pack a LARGE trash bag in my suitcase - it comes down past my knees and really helps me retain body heat while waiting.

Race Weekend

Yay! You've made it to your destination, with your running gear and waiver in hand. Next up is the race Expo. If you want first chance at the race merchandise, then you need to arrive EARLY on the day the Expo opens and be prepared to wait in line. This is the one situation where it's easier if you have a car since the buses don't start running until 30 minutes or so before the Expo starts. Also, remember that bib pickup and merchandise are in separate areas - you can choose to go to merchandise first and later pick up your bib or vice versa. If you don't want to wait in a lot of lines and are willing to take your chances on merchandise, then I would suggest visiting the Expo sometime after 2:00 in the afternoon. I've never encountered much in the way of lines at that point in time.

Be a little cautious about trying the samples that are available at the Expo. That energy bar might contain some ingredient that doesn't agree with you - and stomach issues are not something you want to deal with on race day.

The day before the race

It's really difficult to stay off your feet when you're at Disney, but it's a good idea the day before a race, especially if you're running the marathon. Even with a half marathon, being on your feet for hours the day before will tire you out to some extent. We try to do some limited touring in the morning, and then take an extended break back in our room in the afternoon, before venturing out in the early evening for dinner. And you should be drinking water throughout the day - not drowning yourself, but if you're running a half or the marathon then you want to be well-hydrated.

When you're out and about, pick up whatever it is you're going to want to eat in the few hours before the race. This might be a bagel or a banana, or yogurt - or maybe it's an energy bar that you brought with you. Your choices the morning of the race will be very limited, so if you already have what you need that's one less thing to worry about in the morning.

When it comes to dinner the night before, just about everyone has their own idea of what works best for them. Some want pasta, others pizza, and some swear by Chinese food. At this point, you should have done enough long training runs to know what you need to fuel yourself for the next day. You definitely do NOT want to gorge yourself the night before, but you should eat a good dinner, with some carbs and protein. I like chicken and rice, with some vegetables or a salad, though my go-to meal the night before a Disneyland half marathon is four cheese ravioli from Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta.

For the Wine and Dine Half Marathon, since it's a night race, we do things slightly differently. We still do some touring in the morning, and then we'll try to have our big meal of the day around 1:00-2:00 in the afternoon. And by "big meal", I don't mean gorging on an all-you-can-eat buffet - I mean your largest meal of that particular day. I recommend something similar to what you would eat for dinner the night before a morning race. Then around 6:00 have a light (and I do mean light) meal or snack.

In the couple of hours before the race, whether it's in the morning or the evening, you'll want to have something to eat. Again, from your training, you should be familiar with what works for you. You may want to eat in your room, or you may want to take something with you to the start area.

The Disney resorts usually have some kind of quick service option that's open very early on race mornings where you can get coffee and light fare such as fruit and bagels. At Disneyland several locations in Downtown Disney are open early on half marathon mornings, like Starbucks and Jamba Juice.

Race Day've made it to race day! Get out to the start line and have a great time on the course!

What about the rest of you? What are your suggestion on planning for a runDisney trip?

Learn more about runDisney from Laura on this episode of AllEarsNet TV

January 27, 2014

2014 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend - Part 2


This is it - the day of the Tinker Bell Half Marathon, and most importantly, our last morning of getting up insanely early for a while! Yay!!!

We had moved to the Disney Vacation Club's Villas at the Grand Californian on Saturday after the 10K, so we were even closer to the start line than we were for the 10K. We were pretty tired and had gone to bed early on Saturday night - I was asleep before 9:00, and never even heard the second World of Color show (heard the first one). The race started at 5:00, so we were up at 3:00. We didn't really have to get up that early, but it gave us plenty of time to have something to eat, check Facebook and weather, and put on our costumes without feeling rushed.

We met our friends Anna and Eddie in the lobby at 4:15 and walked right over to our start corrals - we never even went to the pre-race area. We were all in Corral B. This year they allowed men to start in B rather than all the way back in C. There were more men in the race this year - around 15% rather than 10% as in past years. And this year a lot of them were NOT in costume - that was disappointing. But our guys were - they were wearing their new sparkle skirts and wings, and they looked terrific. (And they got lots of compliments - I heard one woman say jokingly that it wasn't fair that a guy looked better in a skirt than she did. :-) )

It was race announcer Rudy Novotny's 60th birthday, so we all sang Happy Birthday to Rudy before the start of the race - that was a lot of fun! (Such a nice man, and he works SO hard - he and Carissa Bealert, too. They work the Expo and the races - the ENTIRE race, from the pre-race until the last person crosses the finish line. I don't know when they get a chance to sleep.)

Another great morning for running - about 48, not too humid, almost no wind. A few clouds, unlike the day before when it was clear. Lee, Eddie and I were all wearing our wings, which were tied around an outer sleeveless shirt, then pinned to it to keep them from bouncing around. By tying the straps around the outer shirt instead of wearing them we avoid chafing - makes for a MUCH more comfortable run. (The ladies at Team Sparkle gave us those tips when we first wore wings two years ago.)

As you might expect in a Tinker Bell-themed race we saw LOTS of wings, and lots of tutus, and quite a variety of each. Also a lot of people in other costumes - Disney princesses, pirates, Marvel and Star Wars characters...I am always amazed at how creative people are with their costumes. It's just one of the many fun things about a Disney race.

Where was I...oh yes, the start. :-) Corral B started just about 5 minutes after Corral A. We went north and around the perimeter of Disneyland for the first mile, then went backstage at DCA and into the park by the Tower of Terror, and ran down Hollywood Boulevard. That's where Mile 2 was. Aren't the guys just adorable in their skirts and wings?

From there we ran into Cars Land and past Ornament Valley - this view was so pretty in the dark!

We went backstage and ran around the back side of Paradise Pier, re-entering the park next to Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta. They had characters from Viva Navidad to greet us.

And the World of Color fountains, with the Fun Wheel backdrop. Such a GREAT photo op! Disney had photographers and cast members in most of the photo locations, but where they didn't, other runners were always happy to take our photo, and we returned the favor.

We ran past Grizzly Rapids and Soarin', down Buena Vista Street, then across the Esplanade to Disneyland. That was just past Mile 3 - and we'd just arrived in Disneyland! Love all of the park time that we get on this course!

We ran up Main Street, where Tinker Bell was on top of one of the drums from Soundsational, with Captain Hook and Mr. Smee posing for photos at the bottom. The line was VERY long, and we didn't wait for that.

We stopped in front of the Castle, though! And then we ran through the Castle and into Fantasyland and Tomorrowland.

The princesses were along "small world way" as usual, but again, the lines were long except for Merida. She was quite taken with the guys in their skirts.

In Toontown, I made us stop because Marie was out with Clarice (Marie's personality is SO like our cat Princessa). And the cast member that we'd seen in Frontierland during the 10K, who was so wonderful and enthusiastic (without coffee!) was working that line, so we wanted her in our photo, too.

And then there was the car incident...poor Anna!

We took the Big Thunder Trail through Frontierland and then into New Orleans Square and the Mile 5 sign.

Backstage again by Splash Mountain and around the perimeter of the park and into Downtown Disney...lots of people there to cheer us on. As we arrived at the Disneyland Hotel, there they were - my favorite Red Hat Society ladies! I love seeing them, and they really come out and support the runners.

We ran down a side road and suddenly were off Disney property onto Walnut Street, in the residential area. And there was the mile 6 sign. Almost halfway through the race before we exit Disney property - that's one reason we love this course so much.

By Mile 8 we were into downtown Anaheim, where we went down the Promenade and past City Hall and the Muzeo.

As much as I enjoy it, the course is a little cruel - we're on Harbor headed south towards Disneyland at mile 9.5 and we can see the Matterhorn and the Team Disney Anaheim building and it looks like we're so close to the end...but then we take a left onto Ball and head east again to add some more miles. That's the least enjoyable part of the course, through commercial areas with lots of strip malls and fast food places.

The sun had kind of come out and it had warmed up a little as we went past the Garden Walk and some of the hotels on Manchester.

The Mile 12 sign was near the back side of Cars Land - we'd seen it three hours earlier, too!

Oh no! What happened to the band? Someone stole the band!

That last mile always seems short to me (that's a good thing!) as we went around the back side of Cars Land and Paradise Pier before crossing Disneyland Drive and heading to the finish line south of the Paradise Pier Hotel.

We stopped at the announcer's stand just before the finish line to sing Happy Birthday to Rudy and he shared some birthday cupcakes with us. Yum! (Way better than anything that was in the silly runDisney box.)

Lee and I got our Tinker Bell medals and our Coast-to-Coast medals. Eddie also had run Dopey and qualified for Coast-to-Coast, but he is running the Princess Half next month, and getting the special pink Coast-to-Coast medal for those who run Tink and Princess, so he didn't get his C2C at this time.

We had such a great time running the race with Eddie and Anna! Though we didn't stop for many character photos we still made a lot of other photo stops (I didn't include nearly all of the photos in this blog), and while we again had a "personal worst" half marathon time, we had a whole lot of fun.

The Tinker Bell Half Marathon remains my favorite of the Disney half marathons - I really enjoy the course because it has so much "Disney time" to it. Over 6 miles on Disney property, and it really takes you all over both of the theme parks. I think the only areas we didn't run through were Adventureland and "a bug's land", though we did the latter during the 10K. It's always interesting to get a glimpse into some of the backstage areas, too. There's very few places where the course gets unpleasantly narrow and crowded, and they don't last long. It's also a nice size - this year there were a little over 13,000 finishers. The atmosphere of this race is great, too - everyone just seems to have a lot of fun with it and costumed runners are more the rule than the exception. And January in southern California has practically perfect running weather.

I'm very thankful that we survived running 67.9 miles over the course of six races in eleven days, and especially that we remained healthy and injury-free. I'm sure our slow pace in all of the races helped a lot.

On Monday morning we went to Pixie Hollow at Disneyland to visit Tinker Bell and tell her how much we had enjoyed running her races and show off our three medals.

Next year we won't have the same opportunity to earn our Coast-to-Coast medals so quickly because the Tinker Bell half marathon weekend moves to Mother's Day weekend in May. I'm disappointed in that - the weather is SO much nicer (cooler) in January than it is in May. I also don't think it's very fair to all the moms who want to race AND spend time with their kids...I think a lot of women have run it as a "girl's weekend" kind of thing, which doesn't work very well with Mother's Day. But I understand it - since it's been back-to-back with Marathon Weekend these last two years that's a lot for runDisney to try to do so quickly. It would have been nice if they'd left it during one of the winter months, though.

January 26, 2014

2014 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend - Part 1


Time for the third annual Tinker Bell Half Marathon weekend at Disneyland! Lee and I had run the first two, and we are trying to remain "perfect" for this race. Coming only a week after our Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World made this one a little more challenging this year - and if that weren't enough, we were also running the Inaugural Tinker Bell 10K on Saturday! That makes a total of 67.9 miles of racing in 11 days. OK, so maybe "racing" is a relative term...

We earn three more medals - the new 10K medal, the half marathon medal, and our Coast-to-Coast medal. No "challenge" medal for doing the 10K and the half with this one, though.

The Never Land 5K was Friday morning - unlike last year's Disneyland 5K and 10K they didn't attempt to hold them both on the same day. We had to work and missed this one...I'm sorry we did because it looked like lots of fun!

We went to the Half Marathon Expo late afternoon on Friday to pick up our bibs for the 10K and the half marathon. And we also got our Coast-to-Coast wristbands. Because hey, it's not a Disney race if I'm not wearing a wristband!

The Expo was not too crowded - a much better experience than the Disneyland Half Marathon Expo last year. They had queues set up for the Official Merchandise area but they weren't in use when we were there.

I didn't take very many Expo photos, but Jason did when he was there earlier in the day, so most of these are his. Bib pickup was in the parking garage of the Disneyland Hotel, while the Expo show floor was in the Convention Center upstairs.

That's where we picked up our goodie bags with our shirts. This year we also received a couple of drawstring bags/backpacks.

The shirts, well, I like the fabric and the logo, and the women's cut is flattering, but I'm really not wild about the colors. The lavender is ok, but the raspberry pink...ick. (It looks more red in the photo, but believe me, it's pink.) And they are long sleeve. Which has very limited usefulness in California. There's not too many mornings I'd want to wear it while running. I know the men were less than enthused with the colors, also. Of course I'm sure some out there will say: "What do they expect, running a women's race?" But I don't think the colors had to be quite so feminine. Last year's mint green was a lot better.

This Expo is not as large as the ones at Walt Disney World, but there were still a lot of vendors selling running gear and clothes and other accessories. As usual, those selling sparkle skirts and wings were doing great business - we did our share of shopping.

RunDisney had a fairly large booth, where you could see samples of the medals that will be given out at other Disney races this year.

A couple of our West Coast Roadrunner coaches were working at The Stick booth, and helped work out some knots in our calves.

Lee participated in this fun photo-op at the Lady Foot Locker booth.

The Official Merchandise area was not crowded and still seemed to have all of the merchandise we expected. We were able to get our Tinker Bell magnets, and we both got this shirt - it has images of the three medals on the back side.

Even though it was an Inaugural race there was very little 10K merchandise - I saw this shirt and a pin. (Though I suppose that's better than the 5K, which only had a pin.)

I'm very disappointed in the design of the Coast-to-Coast shirts this year. It's very plain and un-Disneyish. (The women's version has bright pink lettering. Yuck. Yes, I know lots of women love pink. But I don't.)

The Inaugural Tinker Bell 10K started at 6:00 on Saturday morning. One of the VERY best things about Disneyland races is that YOU CAN WALK TO THE START LINE FROM YOUR HOTEL! There's no need to get up insanely early to catch a bus. We got up at 4:00, which, after our Dopey experience in Florida, seemed like sleeping in. Helped by the fact that we are in our own timezone - another thing I love about Disneyland races.

We stayed at the Anabella Hotel on Friday night. Since there had been no announcement of a 10K at the time I booked our DVC villa at the Grand Californian, I only had Saturday and Sunday nights reserved there. The Anabella was very close to the start and finish areas next to the Paradise Pier Hotel, so it was a good choice. The hotel was fine, though parking was a problem. We were able to find a space, but we saw lots of cars that arrived later and were illegally parked.

We met our friend Eddie in the pre-race area at 5:15 - by then they were already telling people to go to the corrals. Though there weren't that many runners - I don't think there were more than 7,000 and I think it was closer to 6,000. It was a nice size!

It was an absolutely perfect morning for running - in the high 40s with fairly low humidity and very little wind. I wore a throwaway t-shirt while we were waiting to start, but otherwise I was comfortable in my pull-on sleeves for most of the race - I only pulled them down towards the end. The guys were fine in their short sleeves.

We were in Corral A, and were able to be near the front by the stage where we could see all of the pre-race activity. There were four corrals, and each had a fairy coach - Vidia for us, as well as Iridessa, Fawn, and Rosetta.

The national anthem was played by a trumpeter - that was different, and was very well done.

Tinker Bell showed up on the big screen to see us off...ready, set, fly!

This is a slightly different 10K course than the Disneyland 10K they held as part of Disneyland Half Marathon weekend last year. For this one most of the first four miles of the 6.2 mile course was either backstage or inside the parks, so there were a lot of interesting sights to keep us entertained. After we'd run backstage for a while we came into Disneyland right next to "it's a small world" which is still decorated for the holidays. (As you can see the guys didn't go all out with the costumes for this one, but they did wear pink calf sleeves and tutus - or man-tus, and some of the other runners called them.)

There were a lot of character photo opportunities, and we stopped for most of them. In the beginning we were far enough ahead of most of the pack that the lines weren't too long, but they grew longer the more we stopped.

From small world we went back into Toontown, then backstage again before entering the park by Splash Mountain. Next to Haunted Mansion was what I think is my favorite character photo ever in a Disney race - the bride and the tightrope girl from the Haunted Mansion. So cool!!! The line was about 15 deep when we got into it, and a lot longer than that when we left. After we had our photos taken Lee looked back at the bride, and she gave a slight smile and said softly: "Hurry baaack..." It was great!

All of the mile markers had different fairies on them. There were lines to take photos with the mile markers!

Then we went into Frontierland and along the Big Thunder Trail to Fantasyland, then past the Matterhorn into Tomorrowland. We were having a great time, stopping for lots of photos, some with characters and some just for fun.

From Tomorrowland we went around the hub and down Main Street to Town Square, where Eddie paused for a nap.

Then we were across the Esplanade into DCA and onto Buena Vista Street.

Through Condor Flats and by Grizzly River run, then counter-clockwise around Paradise Bay, where the World of Color fountains were running.

Then we ran down Route 66 into Cars Land, taking photos with both DJ and Lightning and Mater.

We took a left on Center St. and went into "a bug's land" - that was a little bit crowded. But we saw the best costume of the day - a pair of ladies running as Slinky Dog! One was the front end, and one the back, with some loops of wire connecting them. That took some coordination - they had to stay no more than about 4 feet apart.

We really went ALL around DCA, since we went out of "a bug's land" back to the main pathway next to Grizzly Peak, then back to Buena Vista Street and up Hollywood Blvd. The Monsters University characters were there but the line was long...and one of the sweeper bikes came up to tell everyone that we were only 4 minutes ahead of the pace.

We left DCA next to Tower of Terror, and that was just about the 4 mile mark. Since we only had 2.2 miles left we knew we'd have no problems completing the race ahead of the sweepers - but all of our goofing off had cost us a lot of time.

The portion of the race that was outside the park went north on Harbor to Manchester, then back south to Disney Way. Just after mile 5 we went backstage at DCA and ran around the back side of the park to the finish line.

We got our new 10K medals - they are very nice, and have that lovely word on them: "Inaugural." :-)

The race was SO much fun - even though it was our worst 10K time, we had absolutely the BEST time running a race! We all really enjoyed the course - about 2/3 of it was in the parks, which was so much better than the WDW 10K the week before. The part on the streets of Anaheim was fine, and there were a fair number of people out there cheering for us, as well as a band or two. Anaheim does a great job with community support for the Disney races.

The water stops were better placed than they were with last August's 10K (when it was SO hot). There were three: about mile 1.5, just before mile 3, and about 5.25. But with the cool weather we didn't need them as much.

Race refreshments were bananas and the silly runDisney boxes, though these had a better assortment, and included hummus and almond roca. Most of it was labeled as gluten-free.

As I think you can tell, we had fun, and I'd definitely recommend this race. I really enjoy the 10K distance - it is a lot easier to train for than a half marathon. And it's a good stepping stone for those thinking of trying to get into longer distances. I'm happy to see Disney adding more 10K races - next up will be the Inaugural Enchanted Princess 10K during Princess Half Marathon weekend at Walt Disney World next month.

Next up - the Tinker Bell Half Marathon!

January 21, 2013

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon - Part 2

laura%27s%20masthead%20copy2.jpg was a great morning! I think the Tinker Bell Half Marathon is now my favorite Disney race. Last year's inaugural race was really good, but this year was even better. I finished in 2:36:07 (with lots of photo stops) and Lee finished in 2:23:37. Despite running Goofy last week we both felt really good this morning and had a really good race.

After running at Disney World last week, where the course was too crowded and too narrow, this one was a pleasure. There were very few places where it narrowed down to a single lane for very long, and some areas we had 3-4 lanes to run in! It was pretty easy to run my own pace, and when I had to pass people I had room to get around them. It was MUCH more run/walk-friendly than the half marathon course in Florida was.

Our morning began at 3:15 - we actually slept pretty well. I know I've said this before, but Disneyland races are SO much easier logistically than those at WDW, because there is NO bus involved in getting to the start area - all you gotta do is walk!

Lee once again was a good sport and ran the race in sparkly skirt and wings. I don't think I saw quite as many wings and costumes (particularly guys in costumes) as I did last year, but still, a large number of people had worn some kind of special outfit for the race.

We met some of our Team AllEars folks in the pre-race area. It was chilly by southern California standards, about 48, but really not too bad at all, and SO much better than last week in Florida when it was 64 with 100% humidity.

The race started at 5:00 and they started sending people to the corrals at about 4:15. This also was SO much easier than it was in Florida last week - it was a very short walk, and we weren't shuffling.

My "proof of time" put me in Corral A, while Lee, being male, was not allowed to be higher than Corral C. Normally I would have gone to C to run with him, but he suggested that I go up to A, stop for all the photos that I wanted (being in Corral A would mean shorter lines for me), and meet him at mile 5 (after we got through the parks). So I went up to Corral A. It was really cool being up where I could actually SEE the start line and the race announcers!

We got a few fireworks during the national anthem, but, unlike WDW, each corral didn't get their own fireworks send-off.

Tinker Bell came out to start the race at 5:00, and we were off in a shower of pixie dust!

Unlike the Disneyland Half, the Tinker Bell Half goes north first, then turns south on Harbor and enters the Hollywood part of DCA about mile 1.8. It was really cool to run down Route 66 in Cars Land when it was stiil dark and the neon lights were on.

After that we went backstage again and ran around to Paradise Pier, where some of the World of Color fountains were running and the music was playing. DCA is an especially beautiful park when it's dark!

We ran past Redwood Creek Challenge Trail and Grizzly River Run - it was VERY dark here, and I was not too happy about running in the dark like that. After that we left DCA and ran across the Esplanade to Disneyland at about mile 3.3. Lots of characters out - including Captain Hook (who gallantly offered me his arm) and his pirates.

Then it was into Tomorrowland, where Darth Vader and his Storm Troopers were waiting. This was the longest line that I stood in (the line for Jack Sparrow was longer), but it's such a unique photo-op!

Holiday "it's a small world" was all lit up and looking beautiful.

This was also the "princess walk", with Cinderella, Snow White, Belle, Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder, and Merida out for photos. And you know what? I'd planned to stop and get my photo taken, so I did!

Then we went backstage again (passed mile 4) and ran past the stable area - we could smell the hay. They had brought a horse and a couple of goats out to see us.

We re-entered the park in Toon Town, and then went into Fantasyland. The Lost Boys were at the Carrousel having a great time with runners - this may have been my favorite photo of the day.

I ran through the Castle - NOT coming to a stop like we did in Florida last week - and Philip and Aurora were off to the left - with NO line - I'd never seen that before!

In New Orleans Square was Jack Sparrow - with a HUGE line, so I didn't stop.

We went back stage next to Splash Mountain and soon came to the mile 5 sign. That's where Lee and I had agreed to meet. He wasn't there yet, but I only waited a minute or so for him so our timing was quite good!

Once we left Disneyland we went through Downtown Disney and past the Disneyland Hotel. The Red Hat Society was out in force again this year - I think there were even more than last year! They were a marvelous cheering section (I took this photo of a few of them after the race).

We spent a lot more time on Disneyland property than during the Disneyland Half Marathon - we were almost to mile 6 when we left Disneyland property and went into some of the residential area of Anaheim. It's quite interesting to see these homes that are just a block or two from Disneyland! Some of the residents had come out to cheer us on.

Our route took us into the downtown Anaheim business district past the Muzeo at about mile 8.25.

We had pretty good support from the community with lots of cheerleaders and bands - and they were pretty enthusiastic even though it was very early on a Sunday morning.

At about mile 11.5 we were backstage at Disneyland and DCA again - we didn't go back into the parks, but instead were on the perimeter road around the edge. At mile 12 and 12.5 they had a couple of bands - I don't remember seeing bands backstage before.

The approach to the finish was different this year - we kind of made a hairpin around the parking lot near the Paradise Pier Hotel rather than going out onto Katella and then finishing in the parking lot like we did last year.

We got our Tinker Bell medals and then exchanged our green wristbands for our Coast-to-Coast medals. I don't know how many C2C runners there were, but they seemed to have a pile of medals!

Refreshments again were the runDisney boxes, bananas, and bottles of water and PowerAde. As they did last week in Florida, they handed out a small tote bag to carry it all in. Last week we got Oz bags, this week it was Peter Pan. That really made it a lot easier to carry everything.

We were on our way back to our hotel by 8:00. So nice just to be able to easily walk back there - and a good cool-down for us, too.

We both feel really good - a little tired, but not particularly sore or anything. 52.4 miles in 9 days is quite a bit, though. But it was fun to earn our Coast-to-Coast medal again in record time - last year it took us three weeks, this year it was only eight days! Six medals in 9 days: Donald, Mickey, Goofy, Team AllEars, Tinker Bell, and Coast-to-Coast.

I'll have some additional thoughts on the race, but right now I'm too tired - I'm looking forward to a full night's sleep tonight!

January 20, 2013

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon - Part 1


Another weekend, another Disney race - different coast, though!

We are back at Disneyland for the second annual Tinker Bell Half Marathon weekend. The Neverland Family 5K was this morning (Saturday), and the half marathon is tomorrow. We're only doing the half marathon, though the 5K looks like it was a lot of fun!

The Tinker Bell Half Marathon is the second Disney race that is women-focused. (The Princess Half, celebrating its 5th annual race next month, was the first.) The Tinker Bell half is VERY popular - this year's race sold out in 29 days last summer! There are over 14,000 people entered in the half marathon - 12,459 female runners and 1,634 male runners. (Or "the smartest guys on the planet", as race announcer Rudy Novotny described them.)

Last year there were three weeks between Marathon weekend at Walt Disney World and Tinker Bell weekend at Disneyland - this year (and next year) they are only a week apart. I think Disney is trying to discourage the coast-to-coasters. But it's not working - there are seven members of Team AllEars here, and I have seen a number of Goofy and marathon shirts from last weekend. I'm hoping they will tell us how many coast-to-coast entries they have.

This is at least a relatively easy race for us since we get to stay in our same timezone, and it's a short drive from San Diego.

The race starts at 5:00 a.m., but most of the hotels around here are within walking distance of the start line, so there's no need to catch a bus insanely early. It sure makes things a lot easier than they are at Disney World.

The weather is way different from last weekend in Florida - though it's been in the high 70s during the day, it's in the 40s at sunrise, and will only barely hit 60 by 9:00 when most of us will be done. Humidity only around 40%, too. Perfect running weather, though it'll be chilly waiting around for the start.

Lee and I will once again be running in our sparkly running skirts and pixie wings like we did last year. (He'll be wearing a tutu for the Princess Half, though!)

So, today after we arrived we went to the Health and Fitness Expo at the Disneyland Hotel Convention Center. Packet pick-up, where we turn in our waivers and get our bib numbers, was down in the parking garage where it usually is.

There were very few people picking up registration packets - we had no wait at all. We also got our coast-to-coast wristbands, so that we can get that medal after the race tomorrow.

I registered us as a two-person team - Team AllEars! Team numbers started at 20,000.

The volunteers at the chrono-tag check were cheering all of us as we came through.

Then we went upstairs to the Expo itself, which is in the Disneyland Hotel's Convention Center. After last weekend at Disney World, this was a LOT less crowded and much more pleasant to wander through.

We picked up our goodie bags. In addition to the race shirt (which comes in men's AND women's styles - are you listening, Disney World Marathon people????) they gave us a mesh drawstring "backpack". The shirt is nice - it's the lighter-weight tech shirt that I prefer over the ones that WDW uses. The design is the one that we voted on - runDisney gave us a choice of three, as I recall.

Our favorite medal hanger company,, has some new designs - we really love this one - and yes, we bought it. :-)

We had a nice chat with Disney race announcer Rudy Novotny. Today was his birthday, and he was working - he had already called the 5K in the morning, and was announcing at the Expo too.

We also visited the Official Merchandise area. It looked like they had plenty of merchandise, with a lot of different shirt designs (more than are pictured here!). No merchandise for men, though, except the gray Coast-to-Coast shirt we saw last week, and very few of those, in just a couple of sizes.

I liked the sentiment on this one.

Like they did in Florida last week, they were allowing people to pre-register for the Disneyland Half Marathon weekend events in September. They had quite a few computers set up, and the line wasn't too long. Race registration officially opens on January 22 - I wonder if there will be any openings left for the Dumbo Double Dare by then.

When we wandered through Downtown Disney we saw signs announcing the early opening of a number of venues tomorrow - places where the early runners can get coffee and/or something to eat. A lot of cold and sleepy people are going to be buying something hot tomorrow morning!

We brought bagels and yogurt from home - and that's what we'll be eating in the morning. Now it's time to try to get some sleep before the wake-up call comes in waaaay too early.

It should be a terrific race!

February 7, 2012

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details


The Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend took place at Disneyland January 27-29. The Health and Fitness Expo was on Friday and Saturday, the Never Land Family Fun Run 5K was Friday night, the kids' races were Saturday morning, and the Tinker Bell Half Marathon was Sunday morning, starting at 5:45.

This event was geared towards women, but men were allowed to enter, too. :-) There were over 11,000 women registered and only 920 men, so guys, with that 12:1 ratio, you're really missing the boat if you don't think about participating. :-) (Lee ran it with me, and he enjoyed the scenery. A lot.)

Though it was the first year for this particular event, Disneyland has six half marathons under its belt, so I thought it was well-organized and went off without the first-year glitches you typically would expect.

It was a new half marathon course - this one went north into "Old Anaheim" and to Anaheim City Hall before coming back south - we still got a tour of the industrial park area, but it was shorter than it was on the normal half marathon course. We went through Disneyland/Downtown Disney between miles 1.5 and 4, but didn't get into Disney California Adventure until miles 11.5-13.

Course Map

Lee and I approached this one a little differently, and decided we were going to have fun with it. So we did something we'd never done before, and ran in costume - both of us with sparkly running skirts and pixie wings. (I also had a rainbow tutu - couldn't convince Lee he needed one of those, too, but we saw a couple of guys out on the course wearing skirts and tutus, and I think he felt a little envious then!) We found our sparkly running skirts and wings for Lee at They also had a booth at the Expo, where they gave us some great ideas about how to attach the wings securely and in such a way that they didn't cause friction. It really worked - we did not find them uncomfortable or distracting at all.

We drove up from San Diego on Saturday morning and were at the Expo by about 11:00. It wasn't too crowded at all, though of course our line at the packet pick-up was the longest one. ;-) We were running as a team entry, so there was a special number range for us, since our packets had team bibs as well as our regular bib. Because we were a team, I was surprised that I was in Corral A, but Lee was in Corral C. We asked at Runner Relations, and were told that no men were in Corrals A or B, because they wanted a woman to be the first across the finish line. Bummer for me, since it meant I had to go back to Corral C! We got our Coast-to-Coast Challenge wristbands, too.

The Packet Pick-up area was in its usual place in the underground parking garage of the Disneyland Hotel. They had put up some Tinker Bell decorations at the entrance.

And inside were some pixie-ish backgrounds for photos.

The Health and Fitness Expo was also in its usual spot in the Convention Center of the Disneyland Hotel. It seemed like most of the usual vendors, though there were a couple of new and different ones - we were very intrigued by, which sells a variety of hooks to hang your medals from. They'll even do custom things. (I think Bling Junkie works for me...)

The booths selling tutus, wings, sparkly skirts, wands, tiaras and the like were doing bang-up business - it looked like just about everyone was going to be running in wings!

The runDisney booth had the glass running slipper on display. :-)

We also got our Tinker Bell shirts. I must confess I was worried about what this one might look like - I was afraid it was going to be too girly - but I was very pleasantly surprised. It's a nice simple design and I like it. They had shirts of different cuts for men and women which was also very nice - I really don't like the boxy unisex ones we've been getting lately from Disneyland and WDW. The woman's shirts were very slightly fitted - flattering, but not too tight.

There was a pretty nice selection of Official merchandise. But not nearly the selection of Coast-to-Coast merchandise that we saw at the Expo in Florida - for one thing the t-shirt that Lee and I bought there was not to be found in California (and not because it was sold out by the time we arrived - one of our Team AllEars mates was there first thing when the Expo opened and was disappointed not to find it). So I'm really glad we bought the shirts in Florida!

Here's what I brought back from the Expo...(the shirt with Tink's face is one I bought).

On Saturday afternoon we met up with several fellow Team AllEars members who were running the race - and since we'd all done at least one race in Florida three weeks ago, we were all getting the Coast-to-Coast medal, too.

We had a great time chatting with Carol, Jill and Mike.

One very nice thing about the Disneyland races is that most of the hotels in the area area close enough that you can easily walk to the start - no need for buses! So you don't have to get up quite so insanely early. Lee and I were up at 4:15, and were over in the race area by 5:00 (the race started at 5:45). Though by then they were already encouraging people to head to the corrals.

We saw Jill, and later happened to see Mike and his wife in our same corral - actually they found us, because they saw Lee's wings! :-)

The race went off right on time - there were even some fireworks during the singing of the national anthem.

Minnie and Daisy were on the stage at the start line, and we saw Tink's pixie-dusted flight trail above us, too.

It was dark when we started, and the race course was pretty congested and narrow when we got into Disneyland at about mile 1.5 (we had already run backstage a little bit). The first thing we saw on entering the park was an enormous line off to the side for the people waiting in line to get their photos taken with the princesses. Yikes. No thanks. There was a line of about 16 people waiting for Hercules and Tarzan, and we did wait for that one. (And it's not true that I chose this particular photo-op to compare Lee in his sparkly skirt and wings with Disney's two hunkiest heroes. That was just a side benefit. :-) )

I have to say that I did not enjoy the Disneyland part of the race very much...since it was so early in the race the runners were still very bunched together and that meant that the lines for character photos were a lot longer. A lot of the paths we were running on were narrow and very congested, and we had to walk just because it was too crowded to run. The first water station I thought was in a very poor location - we had just come off of Harbor and were about to go backstage, so between the turn and the abrupt narrowing of the course plus the water station on both sides there was no way to run through there and we had to walk.

It was great to get out into Downtown Disney where the paths were a little wider, plus we had lots of spectators to cheer us on (spectators are not allowed in Disneyland while the race is in progress). Just outside the Disneyland Hotel were a couple hundred ladies from the Red Hat Society cheering us on in their red and purple hats, outfits, feather boas - they were just terrific. Thank you so much for coming out!

The route took us on the street behind the Mickey and Friends parking garage, which is a typical suburban residential area! I had no idea there were real houses just two blocks from Disneyland! We ran about a mile before getting back to more commercial areas again. But it was very quiet - I think because it was a residential area, there were no bands or cheerleaders or other groups along that stretch to entertain us.

And that was one area this race disappointed me - I thought there was a lot less entertainment along the course than there is during the Disneyland Half Marathon - I didn't see the same type of community support both in numbers and variety (this one had mostly cheerleaders and bands - I saw one Hawaiian group but I missed the mariachi group that is always at the Disneyland 1/2). Thank you to all of the bands and cheerleaders that DID come out, though!

The participants really had a lot of fun with this race, I think - there were wings and tutus everywhere you looked, as well as other Disney costumes, too. I saw Maleficent running with Princess Aurora - talk about an odd couple. I mentioned the 12:1 female:male ratio - well, I gotta give it to the guys, they were SO supportive, and I'd say the majority of the men were in some kind of costume, whether it be wings and tutu, Peter Pan, Captain Hook (or other pirate), prince - I even saw a guy dressed as Minnie Mouse (as he went blazing by me!)

We went into "Old Anaheim" and around the Muzeo at about mile 7 and then were on our way back to Disneyland - though we still ended up with a partial tour of our favorite (not) industrial park (my least favorite part of the Disneyland 1/2).

There were lots of people cheering us on along Disney Way, but once we went into DCA at about mile 11.5 there was no one to cheer us except a few cast members until we had almost gotten to mile 13. Since we had just run the Disney World marathon course three weeks before, it was VERY fresh in my mind how most of the last 2.5 miles was run in public areas where there were lots of people to cheer you on, and I really missed that here.

We went all around DCA - we came into the park next to the Tower of Terror, then down Hollywood Blvd and past Soarin', then a left turn past Grizzly River Rapids and out to Paradise Bay, where the Monsters, Inc. characters were greeting runners - I think most of us were too tired to be scared, though. :-)

We went past the Golden Vine Winery and into "a bug's land", and then backstage behind Cars Land - all we could see was the back side of the Cadillac Range, though. Our last character stop was for the Toy Story gang - we had the Green Army Men and Jessie. Buzz was also there, but the photographer didn't get him in the shot. :-(

I was very disappointed that there were only two sets of characters in DCA - yes, because of construction walls the course was narrow in places, but they easily had room for them near the Tower of Terror and near the airplane outside Soarin'.

There were lots of people cheering for us when we came back onto Disneyland Drive and around the corner onto Katella before going into the Simba parking lot where the finish line was. I high-fived Daisy and Mickey as I ran to the finish line. Our time was 2:35:34 - not our best time (five minutes slower for me than the relay three weeks before), but I'm going to attribute the slower time to the drag factor from the wings. :-)

The nice volunteer gave me my Tinker Bell medal.

And we both got our Coast-to-Coast medals, too - it took us just three weeks to do it - the shortest possible time. :-) There were 581 Coast-to-Coast medals awarded, so not nearly as many as they will give out in September (it was about 2500 last year).

It was a beautiful sunny morning, but after we'd gotten refreshments and had someone take our picture (thank you to the ladies), we wandered back to our room to relax and shower.

We had an early lunch at Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta at DCA - four-cheese ravioli tasted very good, and Lee enjoyed in BBQ Chicken flatbread pizza. We wandered back to our room via Downtown Disney and the new Cupcake Store. They just reopened in a new permanent kiosk the previous Tuesday - I was glad to see them back because I really enjoyed the cupcakes when they had a temporary location a couple of years ago. The Pure Chocolate cupcake was VERY good, and Lee enjoyed the Red Velvet cupcake, also.

Later in the afternoon we met Team AllEars at the Tiki Bar for Dole Whips - yum.

And afterward we went to Pixie Hollow to get our picture taken with Tinker Bell - it seemed the polite thing to do since we had not had a chance to tell her how much we enjoyed her race. :-) I was actually very surprised that I didn't see anyone else in line with their Tink medals. (She was a pert and sassy Tink - Lee told her he had worn wings during the race, and she asked: "So where are they now? Ohhhh...I see, didn't want to wear them to the park..." :-) )

The race was really a lot of fun, and I'd definitely run it again. I thought it was even more of a "fun run" than the regular Disneyland Half Marathon, and it seemed like there were more people in costume for this one. I thought 12,000 was a nice number, but since it sold out, I'd expect it to get bigger next year.

The start and finish were in a different area - they were south of the Paradise Pier Hotel rather than north of the Disneyland Hotel. It was much easier to get to the start corrals - it wasn't nearly the bottleneck that we are used to. I think that area also worked a little better as far as traffic flow went - it didn't affect the people going to/from the hotels and parks and Downtown Disney like usual.

The course itself...I think I prefer the Disneyland 1/2 marathon course, mostly because of the opportunity to run through Angel Stadium - though I think this one was a more interesting overview of different parts of Anaheim.

My only real complaint about the race was the location of the characters - there were a lot in Disneyland, but it was just too crowded because it was too close to the start, and in DCA, where everyone was spread out, there were only two sets of characters.

Here's my bling for January - not bad, huh? :-)

January 30, 2012

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - January 29, 2012


The Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend took place at Disneyland January 27-29. The Health and Fitness Expo was on Friday and Saturday, the Never Land Family Fun Run 5K was Friday night, the kids' races were Saturday morning, and the Tinker Bell Half Marathon was Sunday morning, starting at 5:45.

I'll have more on my thoughts about the race and various aspects later - for now I just want to share a little bit about our experience.

Lee and I approached this one a little differently, and decided we were going to have fun with it. So we did something we'd never done before, and ran in costume - both of us with sparkly running skirts and pixie wings. (I also had a rainbow tutu - couldn't convince Lee he needed one of those, too, but we saw a couple of guys out on the course wearing skirts and tutus, and I think he felt a little envious then!)

So, what do you need to run the Tinker Bell Half Marathon? Tutu, sparkly running skirt, wings, race shirt, and race bib, of course!

And it also helps to have a supportive husband with a sense of humor. :-)

It was a great day for racing - temperature was cool in the morning while we were waiting but not cold (about 50), and even after the sun came up it wasn't hot, though it did warm up quite a bit.

In Disneyland the lines were very long for the characters, so we didn't stop most of the time - just a couple of pictures.

Lee could have run faster, but he stayed with me - I didn't have quite as good a run as I did at the Marathon Relay three weeks ago, and we finished in 2:35:34, and for the most part we had a good time. The costume thing was really no problem at all - I may run in a tutu every (Disney) race from now on. :-)

We heard and saw some fun comments on the course - in Disneyland, one of the pirates said something like: "All of you fairies - if you got wings, why are you running?" And we saw a couple of signs that made us laugh - in Downtown Disney was "Worst Parade Ever". and at about Mile 5 was: "Your feet hurt because you're kickin' butt." In Disneyland someone had a sign that said: "This race is expensive, you need to finish it."

This afternoon we met up with our fellow Team AllEars members who were here to run the race, and we all went to Pixie Hollow to get our photo taken with Tinker Bell, since we had run her race today. Lots of fun! (And we all earned Coast-to-Coast medals today, too!)

It's been a great weekend.

April 20, 2011

New Disneyland Race - the Tinker Bell 1/2 Marathon


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'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?

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About Tinker Bell Half Marathon

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Salute to All Things Disney but Mostly Disneyland in the Tinker Bell Half Marathon category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Team AllEars is the previous category.

Tower of Terror 13K is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.