Since the Star Wars 10k that we ran the day before was so amazing, we had high hopes for the Half Marathon as well. Like the 10k, the half marathon also had a start time of 5:30am. This time however, I definitely felt the earliness of the day when my alarm went off. As I mentioned, we spent the rest of the day after the 10k at Disneyland and although it was a fun day we spent a ton of time on our feet and stayed up later than we probably should have. Despite being tired and having achy feet we were still very excited about the race ahead.
We got into our corral for the half marathon about 15 minutes before the start. We had decided that we didn’t need to be there as early since we learned from the 10k that due to our corral placement we would be crossing the start line at least 12 minutes after the official start of the race. The only difference from the start line festivities at the half marathon compared to the 10k is that there were fireworks! Oooooh! Ahhhh!
A major difference between the 10k and the half is that a majority of the half marathon course was outside of the Disney parks on roads. I wasn’t sure what to expect with that but I knew that it wasn’t going to be as fun as being inside the parks. The time that we spent inside the parks was just as magical as the 10k but it wasn’t long before we were out on the roads.
On the roads we still got the Disney mile markers as well as more than enough aid stations. There were several areas that had cheerleaders and bands playing but that was about it. It certainly wasn’t very magical and it was even a bit boring to be honest. The only thing that perked up the course was the generosity of random strangers. Near mile 9 there were a ton of people dressed up in Star Wars costumes. Initially I thought that it was an official RunDisney character area but I was wrong. It was just a cosplay group who did it on their on time.
There were also a bunch of strangers that had their own “aid stations” set up. We saw people handing out bottles of water and some awesome people were even handing out licorice. It was the best licorice I had ever tasted. Thank you strangers! You all rocked!
On another note there was a good amount of police presence on the road portion of the half marathon. Most often at intersections. In a less than desirable area that we ran through there was a HEAVY amount of police presence which made me wonder if we should have really been running through that area in the first place. It was odd and a bit disconcerting but I lived to tell about it.
Like the 10k, we had no goal time for finishing the half. Which was a good thing as our feet were very sore from the day before and we also planned on going to the Disney California Adventure Park after the half. We just love to pack as much into our vacations as possible. lol
Once we crossed the finish line for the half we got the half medal and then we went over to the Rebel Challenge tent to claim our Rebel Challenge medal. They confirmed our identity by using the picture that they took of us when we picked up our packet. And what an amazing medal it is!
Why yes, yes it is a spinner medal with Yoda on one side and Darth Vader on the other. Disney medals definitely live up to the hype!
Overall I thought that the Half Marathon was just ok. For the cost of the race and the reputation that RunDisney has I expected more. The road portion of the course was average at best and it definitely was not magical. I still enjoyed myself and I am glad that I did the Rebel Challenge but I think improvements can be made to enhance runner experience outside of the parks.