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Tinker Bell Half Marathon Archives

May 20, 2015

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend - Part 2, Half Marathon

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2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon logo

Sunday, May 10 - Tinker Bell Half Marathon

Happy Mother's Day! There were a lot of moms who apparently thought that getting up early and running a half marathon was a fine way to spend Mother's Day.

We set the alarm for 3:30 again. We'd brought yogurt and bread and peanut/almond butter to eat in our room. Lee was very happy when he'd seen the signs in Downtown Disney and the hotel on the previous days stating that that several places that serve coffee would be opening early on race mornings. So at 4:00 he went down to the Hearthstone Lounge for his coffee. He was the first customer there.

For this race we were both going to run with wings. Lee dressed as Terence, who is a keeper of pixie dust. (He's a character from the Tinker Bell movies - a lot of people don't know who he is, but the pixies all recognized him!) These were new (and larger) wings for both of us, so we weren't sure quite how they would work out for us. They were definitely a lot wider - we both had to go sideways through doors! :-) I realized I'd have to be much more careful to allow enough space during the race when I was trying to pass people - particularly between people.

In the pre-race area we met up with my friend/co-worker Janet. It was her first half marathon, and she was very excited - and a little nervous. Yep, we've all been there! Any of the Disney half marathons are really terrific first half marathons, but I think this one is an especially good "first" for a woman. (She did GREAT, and finished in 2:08:04 - and she wasn't even wearing wings!)

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

We went over to see the Mickey Milers, where wing expert Lee helped Caryn with her wings.

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Mickey Milers

At about 5:00 we headed to the corrals again. For the Tinker Bell Half Marathon they don't let men start any higher than Corral B, so I went back there to run with Lee. Since we were both dressed up I wanted to get some photos of us, hopefully with the pixies.

It was another terrific morning for running. About the same temperature as the day before, but the sky was clear, and it felt a little cooler. I had a mylar sheet (saved from a previous runDisney race) wrapped around me while I was waiting.

For the half marathon there were some fireworks that went off during the national anthem.

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon fireworks

I was surprised that it was Minnie and Daisy who came out on stage with the announcers just before the start of the race and not Tinker Bell like we'd seen the day before. The race started just a little after 5:30, and Corral B started about 7 minutes after Corral A. Our start time was just a little less than 10 minutes off of the official clock, so that made it easy for us to know where we were time-wise when we saw the mile markers during the race.

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

The first mile and a half was like the 10K course, but then instead of going into Disneyland we went into Disney California Adventure. We went past the Tower of Terror, down Hollywood Blvd, and then down Route 66 through Cars Land, and around Paradise Bay. The first pixie we saw was Silvermist,and the line was fairly short.

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Silvermist Terence running costume

Vidia was not too far away, again with a pretty short line. In my dreams I am a fast-flying fairy like Vidia...

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Vidia Terence

We ran out of DCA and across the Esplanade into Disneyland and onto Main Street. Goofy, Chip and Dale were out with one of the Soundsational floats, but had a very long line so we didn't stop. We were just past mile 3 in the race.

We ran around the hub and through the castle, then around the Carrousel. The Lost Boys were riding the Carrousel, but I couldn't get a good photo. One of the monorails, with the new Tomorrowland movie logo, was gliding overhead as we ran past the Mad Tea Party. We headed back to the hub passing Pixie Hollow, where there was a long line for Tinker Bell. It was the longest that we saw - not surprising.

Tomorrowland monorail

This course spends a lot of time going through Disneyland, which is really nice. We went back to the hub so that we could go into Tomorrowland. The Storm Troopers were out by Tomorrowland Terrace, and they had a very long line. I'm not quite sure how Storm Troopers fit in with Tinker Bell, though...

From there we went past the submarine lagoon and the Matterhorn and out towards "small world" where we saw Rosetta and Iridessa. They were especially thrilled by Lee's Terence costume, and very complimentary.

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Rosetta Iridessa Terence

Then we went backstage behind "it's a small world", and to mile 4. One of the trains was parked back there.

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Disneyland train

We ran back into the park next to Big Thunder Ranch and then around the Rivers of America. Jack Sparrow and a couple of pirates were on the bridge above the entrance to Pirates of the Caribbean. Gee, with a race full of women I can't imagine why they would make Jack Sparrow inaccessible like that! :-)

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Jack Sparrow

Mile 5 was near the entrance to the Haunted Mansion. We went backstage again by Splash Mountain and ran around the perimeter of Disneyland until we emerged near the Esplanade and then ran through Downtown Disney.

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Mile 5

Next to the Disneyland Hotel is one of my favorite parts of the Tinker Bell Half: that's where the Red Hat Society cheers every year. This year there were several hundred of them cheering and ringing cowbells and high-fiving runners. Seeing them is always one of the highlights of the race for me!

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Red Hat Society

Just past mile 6 we found "Captain Hook". :-) We were almost at the 10K point, and about to leave Disney property. That's one of the things I like the most about this course compared to the other half marathon courses: we're almost halfway through the race before we leave Disney! It really makes the race seem to go a lot faster. Lee was feeling his PR from the day before and wanted to slow down a little, so I went on ahead at my own pace.

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Captain Hook

After we leave Disneyland resort property we run north through an Anaheim neighborhood of houses and apartments. Since it's still quite early on a Sunday morning, Disney puts up some signs to remind us to be quiet. I've never really found runners to be all that noisy when we're running, except for those who carry their own music and speakers. I ran past one of those guys later in the race - I sped up and ran through a walk interval to get past him.

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Neighbors sleeping

We turned right and headed east, and into a slight breeze. I could feel some resistance against my larger wings...so I was hoping I'd get a little added push from them when we turned west again.

About mile 8 we run out of the "quiet zone" and into downtown Anaheim - and into the enthusiasm of marching bands and cheerleaders. The route takes us down the Anaheim Center Street Promenade.

Tinker Bell Half Marathon Anaheim Promenade

We went around the corner past the Anaheim Public Library.

Tinker Bell Half Marathon Anaheim Public Library

We run down Harbor Blvd past the mile 9 sign and back towards Disneyland...and just when it looks like we're getting close, we turn left on Ball Rd and head away from the park. Major fake out for those familiar with the area...there's still over three miles to go! Since there were no clouds we were getting some sun on us by then and it was starting to feel a little warm even though the temperature was only about 60 degrees. I should mention that we had very nice support from the community once we got away from the "quiet zone". Quite a few high school bands and cheerleading squads to cheer us on, and a lot of people out with signs and cowbells, too. Runners appreciate all of the support - thank you!

We went all the way south to Disney Way and then did a loop around some of the Good Neighbor hotels before turning onto Harbor again briefly (Mile 12) and going backstage near Disneyland. We stayed backstage behind Cars Land and Paradise Pier before crossing Disneyland Drive for the final dash to the finish line.

I finished in 2:18:24, so I had a pretty good second half of the race. After I got my Tinker Bell medal I went to the Pixie Dust Challenge and Coast-to-Coast area to pick up my other two medals. Ahhh...it's just not a Disney race without that "clank, clank" sound! :-)

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon medals

For this race they had refreshments for us. We had heard rumors that the reason there were no runDisney boxes for the 10K was because they had discovered that the applesauce in the boxes was past its "use by" date. So someone (I'm sure it was some of the volunteers) had opened up all of the race boxes, discarded the applesauce, and separated the contents into different bins. At the front of the line we got a bag with a Clif bar and a moist towelette packet in it, and then as we went down the line we could get the other items that had been in the box.

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon refreshments

I thought the bag was a lot easier to handle than the boxes are since I could hang it around my hand or wrist. And I also didn't have to take items that I really didn't want. But I still don't like the box contents and wish that we had REAL food.

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon refreshments

I waited a bit for Lee to finish...his time was 2:25:16. Any time we finish a Disney 1/2 marathon in under 2:30 is really good for us!

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon finishers

The Tinker Bell half marathon medal also has the pearl-like finish on the wings like the 10K medal did.

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon medal

I don't care for the Pixie Dust Challenge medal at all. It looks like a child designed it. I hope they'll re-think this one for next year.

2015 Tinker Bell Pixie Dust Challenge medal

And here's the pink Coast-to-Coast.

2015 pink Disney Coast to Coast medal

When runDisney announced last year that the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend was moving to May - and Mother's Day weekend, to boot - I had a lot of reservations. This is, after all, a race for women - and a lot of women want to be with their families on Mother's Day! I wondered if that affected registration: this half marathon has in the past sold out very quickly (often the day that registration opened), but this year it didn't sell out for several weeks.

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon stage

The weather was also a concern. It's not uncommon for southern California to have some very warm days in May - I've been at Disneyland when it's been in the 90s. Now, it's not that warm at 5:30 in the morning, but still - temperatures in the upper 60s and low 70s are very warm when you're running 13.1 miles. Fortunately we had exceptional weather this year - except for the 5K. And even that was "exceptional" - it very rarely rains in southern California in May!

This was the 4th Tinker Bell Half Marathon, and our fourth time running it. I hope they'll do something special for the "Perfectly Tink" runners on the 5-year anniversary next year. This is still my favorite Disneyland 1/2 marathon course. I think that overall I prefer Star Wars half marathon weekend to Tinker Bell, but it's really close, and I still think Tink has the better 1/2 course (the 10K courses are very similar now). But there's just nothing like all of the costumed Star Wars cosplayers along the Star Wars course. Though I think Disney did a better job with characters for the Tink races than they did for the Star Wars (and Avengers) races. I thought there were a pretty good number of character opportunities as well as a good selection of characters in both the 10K and the half marathon.

Thank you to all of the wonderful volunteers and cast members who work so hard, and are so incredibly cheerful on these early mornings! And thank you to all of the bands and cheerleaders and members of the community who come out to cheer for the runners, including the Red Hat Society ladies. It just wouldn't be the Tinker Bell Half Marathon without them.

One final photo - this is the start line that we drove under as we were leaving - just about 7 hours after we had run under it. :-)

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon start line



May 19, 2015

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend - Part 1, Expo and 10K

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2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon logo

This year for the first time the Disneyland Tinker Bell Half Marathon weekend was moved from January to May - specifically to Mother's Day weekend. I was not sure how that change was going to work out, but it ended up being a great time, at least for us.

Although there was an Inaugural 10K last year, running both the 10K and the half marathon was not considered a "challenge" as it is with the other half marathon weekends. But this year runDisney introduced the Pixie Dust Challenge for those running both races, and Lee and I signed up for that.

The week before the race, runDisney released some statistics on the race entries:

Tinker Bell 1/2 Marathon Weekend Fun Facts:
32,050 total registrations
16,000 1/2 Marathon
10,000 10K
4,550 5K
1,500 Kids Races
5,000 Pixie Dust Challenge

I was alarmed when I first saw this - 21,000 in the half marathon would've been too many - but the numbers for the 10K and half included the 5,000 Pixie Dust Challengers. I think those are reasonable numbers for the two courses.

The first event of the race weekend is always the Expo, which opened on Thursday morning. Those running the 5K on Friday morning needed to pick up their bibs on Thursday - and it was also the first opportunity for people to grab the Tinker Bell merchandise. Unfortunately, "grab" is often an appropriate choice of word. I REALLY wish that runDisney would institute merchandise limits, or offer more of it that can be pre-reserved by people who are actually RUNNING the races. It's not right that a lot of this stuff shows up on eBay two hours later...I refuse to buy it there, no matter how much I want something.

Anyway...as I'm sure many of you have heard, California is in the midst of a multi-year drought, so guess what happened the morning of the 5K? Yep, it rained. I'm sorry that it wasn't as nice an outing for the runners as it normally is...but I'd like to invite them to please extend their stay in California as long as they would like. :-)

I've never run this 5K, but everyone who has says it's runDisney's best 5K race. It starts in Disneyland on Main Street and runners go through both parks, finishing in Disney California Adventure. Maybe next year...

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Packet Pickup

We arrived late Friday afternoon and went to the Expo. The packet pick-up was in the underground parking garage of the Disneyland Hotel, as usual. There were some fun pictures at the entrance.

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Packet Pickup

It didn't take long to pick up our bibs. I also got a wristband, since I qualified for the pink Coast-to-Coast medal, because I ran the Princess half marathon in February, and was now running the Tinker Bell half marathon. Because we were running the Pixie Dust Challenge, we had to get our runDisney mug shots taken.

pink coast-to-coast wristband

We went upstairs to the Convention Center, where the main Expo was held. There were some cute banners at the entrance. I thought they did an especially nice job with the decor this year.

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Expo Entrance

That Tink is such a hussy... :-)

Tinker Bell kisses Lee

It seemed to me as though there were more vendors than we saw at the Star Wars and Avengers Expos, so that was nice. But still, the area was not overly crowded, and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Expo

We picked up our shirts...one nice thing about moving the race to May is that we received short sleeve shirts and not long sleeve. I really liked the blue and green shirts. When I first saw a photo of the Pixie Dust Challenge shirt online it looked like a raspberry color (ick), but in person it's more of a grape color. Not my favorite, but not as bad.

Tinker Bell Half Marathon shirts 2015

We checked out the official merchandise area...though they had lots of merchandise out, a lot of if was the same stuff in different places - we could tell that a lot had sold out. As I expected, the two things that I wanted, the Pixie Dust Challenge mini medal and one of the Pixie Dust Challenge car magnets, were sold out. I was still able to purchase the Mickey-ear magnet, though. And thanks to a friend who had an extra, I also have the mini medal now. (You know who you are - thank you!!!)

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon merchandise

There was the usual speaker series, but we didn't stay for any of that. We wandered through the non-Disney part of the Expo, also. Lots of neat shirts, and the booths selling the various types of running skirts were very popular.

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon Expo

And the New Balance booth was really hopping, since they introduced a new Tinker Bell-inspired running shoe that was just made available this weekend. They were VERY popular, and we saw lots of people walking around wearing them. There were accessories that you could buy for the shoes, like wings and pom-poms, and they also glow in the dark!

New Balance Tinker  Bell shoes

There was a photo-op in the lobby of the Expo, so we took advantage of that before leaving the Expo. We had an early dinner at Tangaroa Terrace and then spent some time over at Disneyland before calling it a night - we had a 10K to run at 5:30 the next morning.

2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon photo backdrop


Tinker Bell 10K - Saturday, May 9

The alarm went off at 3:30...not quite as early as for the races in Florida, and since we were in our own time zone, we weren't also dealing with jet lag. That's another thing that makes the California races so much easier for us!

I had a new outfit to wear for this race. It wasn't any specific character, instead it was just a sort of dark fairy. Rather than wings I had made myself a kind of winged cape. One advantage of it was that I could wrap it around myself a little bit while we were waiting to stay warm.

Tinker Bell 10K dark fairy costume

One of my concerns with the race moving to May was that the weather might be very warm (80s and even 90s in May is not that uncommon), but it ended up being a little cooler than normal. The conditions Saturday morning for the 10K were as good as it gets, I think - it was about 55 degrees at the start. Overcast and not much of a breeze. Really great running weather!

We met up with the Mickey Milers before the race - they were easy to find in the dark since many of them wore their bright yellow shirts (including Lee).

Mickey Milers before 2015 Tinker Bell 10K

We headed to the corrals about 5:00. For some reason I was in Corral A for the 10K and Lee was in Corral B. Last year we were both in A, and this year there were other men in A (legitimately), so I'm not sure why he wasn't in A. He was going to run the 10K for time, and I wasn't sure what I was doing, though I hoped to get some photos, which meant that being in A would be an advantage, so I went up to A instead of going to B with him.

It's always fun being in A, where I'm actually close to the start line and able to see the stage and what's going on. Tinker Bell and Fawn were on-stage before the race to wish us luck. The race started right on time at 5:30, and we were off!

2015 Tinker Bell 10K start

The 10K course was a bit different this year than last year - but it was all good changes! At the start we were outside the parks for just over a mile (same as last year), but then the rest of the time we were in the parks or backstage until the last tenth of a mile when we crossed Disneyland Drive and headed to the finish line near the Paradise Pier Hotel. I loved this course - it's my favorite 10K course now. (You can see the map HERE).

The first characters I saw were Chip and Dale on Main Street, but there was a line, so I didn't stop. We ran to the end of Main Street (Mile 2) and into Frontierland past Big Thunder Mountain and into Fantasyland, where Alice and the Mad Hatter were next to the Carrousel. That line was only about six people, so I stopped.

2015 Tinker Bell 10K Alice and Mad Hatter

Iridessa was near Pixie Hollow, with only a couple of people in line.

2015 Tinker Bell 10K Iridessa

The course went back to the hub and then into Tomorrowland, past the submarine lagoon and the Matterhorn, then on "small world way". Rosetta was there, also with only a couple of people in line. In a pixie-themed race I wasn't sure why the lines for the pixies were so short, but it very nice for me!

2015 Tinker Bell 10K  Rosetta

Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar were in Toontown, but that was a much longer line, and I didn't stop. We went backstage behind Toontown (Mile 3) and ran around the backstage perimeter of Disneyland until we came back out at the Esplanade (Mile 4) and ran across into Disney California Adventure.

The course went down Buena Vista Street and Hollywood Blvd, past the Tower of Terror and into "a bug's land". Silvermist was there, with no line. Nice.

2015 Tinker Bell 10K Silvermist

From "a bug's land" it was back towards the Winery and then left towards Paradise Pier. Vidia was near the entrance of Ariel's Undersea Adventure. Two people in front of me there, so it was another quick stop.

2015 Tinker Bell 10K Vidia

We went across the bridge past Ariel's Grotto and around Paradise Bay. I was surprised that the World of Color fountains weren't running. We went backstage at the parade gate near Boardwalk Pizza & Pasta, and soon were at the mile 5 marker.

I hadn't really been paying attention to the time, but when I saw the time at mile 5 I knew I could finish in less than an hour if I kept a reasonable pace. We re-entered the park at Paradise Wharf and ran into Cars Land past Radiator Springs Racers. Lightning McQueen and Mater were out near Ramone's but I didn't stop. We went backstage again and ran around the perimeter of DCA behind Cars Land and Paradise Pier before crossing Disneyland Drive (Mile 6) and headed towards the finish.

2015 Tinker Bell 10K Finish Line

My time was 58:23: I made it in under an hour WITH photo stops, so I was very happy with that!

When I went through the refreshment area there was PowerAde and water and bananas...but no runDisney boxes. No food at all other than the bananas. What???? We found out later that there was a problem with one of the items in the boxes, so they pulled them for the 10K, even though they had given them out at the 5K the day before. Sigh.

I didn't have too long to wait until Lee arrived - he had a great run and finished with a personal best of 56:55!

2015 Tinker Bell 10K Laura and Lee finish

We visited with a few friends in the finish area but we didn't linger for very long - it was still early (6:45), and we were getting a bit chilled so we went back to our hotel.

The 10K is still my favorite race distance - it's so nice to be done in about an hour. And this one in particular is a lot of fun. Maybe not quite as much fun as last year, when Lee, Eddie and I goofed off and took almost two hours to finish, but I still enjoyed myself this year. As I mentioned earlier, I really like this course. Last year's course was good, but they certainly improved on it this year.

Another change from last year was the characters: last year it was mostly regular Disney characters like Chip and Dale, Daisy, and Buzz - though it did have the Haunted Mansion bride and parasol girl (BEST CHARACTER STOP EVER!). This year in addition to the regular characters there were the pixies, and in a pixie-themed race that's quite appropriate! I really enjoyed them - they were into their characters, with just the right amount of sass and attitude.

The medal was slightly different this year - it's the same design, but a pearl-like finish was added to the pixie wings, and it looks very nice.

2015 Tinker Bell 10K Medal

Another nice thing about finishing early...we had enough time to shower and dress and still get to Disneyland in time for early entry! (It started at 8:00) Tink was already greeting guests in Pixie Hollow, so we went to visit. She and Silvermist were very happy to hear that we had enjoyed the race and that we would be out there the next day, too. They were really cute.

2015 Tinker Bell 10K Tinker Bell and Silvermist

Part one of the Pixie Dust Challenge complete, next up: the Tinker Bell Half Marathon.


April 13, 2015

Trip Planning for a runDisney Race Weekend

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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!)

Planning for a runDisney Race Weekend

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.

Planning for a runDisney Race Weekend

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.

Planning for a runDisney Race Weekend

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.

Planning for a runDisney Race Weekend

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!

Planning for a runDisney Race Weekend

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!

Planning for a runDisney Race Weekend

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.

Planning for a runDisney Race Weekend

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 active.com as their registration site. If you don't already have an active.com 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 active.com 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.
Planning for a runDisney Race Weekend


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.
Planning for a runDisney Race Weekend

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.

Planning for a runDisney Race Weekend

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

Planning for a runDisney Race Weekend

And...you'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

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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. :-) )

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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.)

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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.)

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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?

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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!

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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.)

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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

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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...

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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!

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge


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.)

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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.)

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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!

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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.)

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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!

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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.

2014 Glass Slipper Challenge

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

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2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

Wow...it 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.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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!

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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!

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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!

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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!

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon


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.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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!

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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).

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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!

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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

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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!

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

I liked the sentiment on this one.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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.

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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!

2013 Tinker Bell Half Marathon

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

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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.

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

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 team-sparkle.com. 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.

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

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.

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

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.

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

And inside were some pixie-ish backgrounds for photos.

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

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 sporthooks.com, which sells a variety of hooks to hang your medals from. They'll even do custom things. (I think Bling Junkie works for me...)

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

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!

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

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

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

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.

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

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!

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

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

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

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.

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

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

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

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.

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

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.

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

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

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

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. :-) )

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

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!

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

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.

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

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!

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

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).

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

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. :-)

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

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. :-(

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

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. :-)

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

The nice volunteer gave me my Tinker Bell medal.

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

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).

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

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

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

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.

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

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

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

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..." :-) )

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details

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? :-)

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - The Details


January 30, 2012

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - January 29, 2012

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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!

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - January 29, 2012

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

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - January 29, 2012

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.

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - January 29, 2012

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. :-)

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - January 29, 2012

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!)

Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon - January 29, 2012

It's been a great weekend.


April 20, 2011

New Disneyland Race - the Tinker Bell 1/2 Marathon

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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:

Fantasia/Dumbo
Dumbo:Tangled

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.

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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.

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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".

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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!!!)

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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?



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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.