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  1. #1

    • Joe Flowers
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    Joe's 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon trip report

    It's race weekend at Disneyland! The 8th annual Disneyland Half Marathon is coming up on Sunday!
    Before I can run though, I have to head to the Disneyland Health and Fitness Expo and pick up my race packet. The expo started on Friday morning, where most of the 5k and 10k runner who were running on Saturday picked up their packets.
    From a friend, I heard it was a madhouse with huge lines for everything, a super crowded exhibit hall, and hour long waits for the official merchandise booth.

    It's a good thing I'm going at 1pm on Saturday! When I went down to pick up my bib there was no one in line in front of me! It's actually pretty dead down here.

    When the volunteer gave me my bib she loudly announced "Legacy Runner!" All the volunteers within earshot then yelled out "Legacy Runner!" and then started clapping. Yep, this is my 8th year running the Disneyland Half Marathon. I've run it every single year since they started!

    Now that I've got my bib, I need to head up to the expo floor to pick up my runners packet and shirt. There is a great photo op with a miniature castle and a Disney Half Marathon sign. Unfortunately it's such a good photo op that the line to take pictures was 50 people deep. In between the people waiting, I lined up in front and got a quick shot.

    No line here at the packet and shirt pickup.

    And finally they have one of these! I remember past expos Theresa holding up a paper sign asking for strangers if they wanted to swap shirt sizes. I'm glad they finally have an official shirt exchange.

    At the expo, we also caught up with a fellow Micechatters Carmen and George who came all the way out from Florida for the race. Carmen had previously read my Japan trip report on Micechat.com and used it to help plan his trip to Japan. Carmen is doing the Dumbo Double Dare and ran the 10k this morning. I love the colorful shirt they gave out for the 10k.

    The Official Merchandise store was next on our list. Compared to the stories we had heard before, it was empty. There were tons of registers open and no wait.

    A few of the shirts available to purchase. In the end though, nothing screamed "Buy Me!" to me.

    So what was in the race bag? The short-sleeve dry-fit Half Marathon shirt of course. I love the color this year! Looking at shirts from previous years, we've had blue, navy, white, grey and black. Color is a good thing!
    Also in the bag were the safety pins to pin your bib to your shirt, a Clif bar sample, a final race instruction pamphlet, and a magnet advertising The Little Mermaid - Diamond Edition. Gone are they days of huge bags full of free product samples and advertisements for lots of other races. The people handing out the bags also warned me not to put my bib in the bag with the magnet. Something about how it could mess up the timing chip on the back of the bib... Maybe someone should have thought that one through a little more.

    Dinner was the same thing I get before every single Disneyland Half Marathon, Olive Garden Fettuccine Alfredo and Pasta Fagioli soup. Might not be the best pre-race meal, but it's worked out for me on all my other races.
    Tomorrow morning is going to be coming super early. I'll be leaving the house by 3:30am to get there and get parked. The race starts at 5:30am!

  2. #2

    • Biggest Disney Fan
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    Re: Joe's 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon trip report

    Great trip report! It looks like you guys had fun!

  3. #3

    • Elk Grove Chris
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    Re: Joe's 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon trip report

    Thanks for sharing, good stuff.
    They who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night. ~Edgar Allan Poe

  4. #4

    • A Pirate's Life For Me...
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    Re: Joe's 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon trip report

    It looks like fun! I'm not a runner but ive considered training just to run the Disneyland Marathon (prob not the whole thing....lol) I hope you did well!!

    Thank you Poisonedapples for my my my signature!!!



  5. #5

    • Joe Flowers
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    Re: Joe's 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon trip report

    Ready to run a half marathon?
    Lights out was at 11:30pm. I already knew it was going to be a short night of sleep. I had dreamt I was running the Disneyland Half Marathon and had already finished and when the alarm went off at 3am, it was a little disappointing.
    I left the house at 3:30am and because the freeways were empty arrived at the Mickey & Friends parking structure right around 4am. The wait at the parking booths was only 3-4 cars deep. Well since everything went so quick this morning, I'm pretty early. I hung out in the car, snacking on a banana and a strawberry poptart. An hour before the race started, I took off for the corral.

    There were multiple checks along the way to make sure you ended up in your correct corral. I'm running fairly close to the front in corral C. In the past, without a qualifying time, I've been placed in the corrals all the way in the back. Not only is it more crowded there, but you're constantly racing the clock to not get swept off the course for not running fast enough. Normally that wouldn't be a problem anyway, but since I like to stop for characters and have to wait in line for them, sometimes I'm cutting it close at the beginning.

    The other unfortunate part about being in the further corrals is that you can't see the stage, or even the screen showing what's going on on stage. Here's my view near the front of corral C around 5am.

    To keep us entertained while standing around in the corrals, they played a 2-3 minute video showcasing all the Limited Time Magic events from DL and WDW this year, and they interviewed some of the runners.
    One running couple who had come out from Florida to collect their Coast to Coast medal was interviewed, and at the end, she was proposed to! The pressure was on, but she said yes. Otherwise it could have been an awkward 13.1 miles racing together if she had said no...

    Sean Astin, from The Goonies, Rudy and Lord of the Rings fame, came out and gave us some last minute motivation. His advice for today? Stay hydrated! It's not the hottest Disneyland Half Marathon I've run in, that would be the 2007 race where the event was threatened to be red flagged due to heat, but it's still pretty warm and humid.
    By completely random chance, I happened to see my friend Dave DeCaro. He's all the way up in corral A. Hopefully he'll have a great race!

    At 5:25am, we heard the National Anthem. I was surprised to see some low level fireworks going off! Fireworks have been hit and miss in past years, so they were fun to see.

    In past years, I remember after corral A leaves, corral B follows immediately on their heels. This year though they handled things differently. Instead, this year after corral A left, corral B went up to the starting line, but was held for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, they had their own countdown and then took off.

    They did the exact same thing between corral B and C, and because I was at the front I was right in front of the stage.

    Corral C race start.



    And we're off! Who's ready to run 13.1 miles?!? The staggerd start worked out great! Instead of dodging walkers and people lined up 4 wide it wasn't crowded and there was lots of room to run.

    So at this point, I should probably explain that I don't run any of the Disney races for time. I'm there to take photos with all the characters and floats and to continue my Disneyland Legacy runner status. As such, I should tell you that if there is ever a photo op anywhere on the course, I'm stopping. Five minute line? No problem, I'm still stopping. So for those who are wondering, here are all the characters that were on the course when I ran by.

    It was still dark when I reached the backstage portion after Mile 1. From the Pixar Play Parade, the Incredibles float with Jack-Jack and Violet was sitting beside the course. I didn't see any cast members around so I took a self shot. Hmm. One of the small complaints I have had in previous years is that there was no one around to take your camera and take a photo while you're posing with the characters. In the past, there are a few places where you had to rely on your fellow runners to take your photo.
    As I started running again, a cast member came by and apologized saying she didn't see me and that she would have taken it for me. Well since she's offering, might as well get another picture.
    And the complaints I had from previous years? They totally fixed it this year! All the places with characters had a cast member stationed nearby, and in the case of some of the really popular characters, there were two cast members! It made the lines move a lot faster and I really appreciated that. Not only that, but also at almost every character was an official event photographer who would take your photo and you didn't even need to bring a camera!

    Another float in the Pixar Play Parade.

    Finally we're on stage inside DCA. The World of Color theme was playing and the fountains were lit up and dancing. They're beautiful in this early morning light.

    Running through Radiation Springs, the cast members in front of Tow Mater's Junkyard Jamboree were waving finish line flags. That's a dirty trick!

    DJ was parked in front of Flo's.

    And at the end of the street were Mater and Lightning McQueen.

    Red was parked in his normal place along the path towards A Bug's Land.

    The Monsters University float was a popular one this year and had a couple minute wait.

    We ran by Buena Vista street and I got a photo with the Storytellers statue. A cast member saw me and came over to take a photo for me.

    Then she took a photo in front of the 717 Red Car trolley.

    And just behind it, another cast member was stationed at the 623 Red Car trolley.

    Just before leaving DCA, Phineas and Ferb and some Fireside girls were rocking out. I love this cartoon! These guys are an inspiration and they think every day should be an adventure! I like their philosophy!

    We ran through the Esplanade with a huge crowd cheering for us. Time to run through Disneyland!

    Running down Main Street.

    The line for Aladdin, Jasmine and Genie was the longest one yet, taking over three minutes to get to the front.

    Mary Poppins, Bert, and two chimney sweeps were at the end of Main Street.

    I think there were three different groups of Green Army Men scattered throughout the course. I'm only posting photos of me with one of the groups.

    After running through Frontierland and by Big Thunder Ranch, we exited into Fantasyland.
    Captain Hook and Mr. Smee were hanging out at the carrousel. Peter Pan and Wendy were riding the carrousel and waving as it circled. Just across the path, lots of people were posing in front of the Dumbo ride because of the Dumbo Double Dare.

    No photographers here, but you have to get a shot with the castle in the background.

    Prince Phillip and Princess Aurora were posed in front of Sleeping Beauty's Castle.

    Here's the longest line of the day. It took over 5 minutes to finally get to the front of the line.

    But, how often do you get to pose with Darth Vader and two Stormtroopers?

    The path leading up to "it's a small world" was lined with princesses. Cinderella started it off.

    Followed by Snow White.

    And ending with the newest Disney princess, Merida!

    Our path continued through Toon Town.

    Where we then ran back stage to our second water stop of the day. We're making quite a mess for all the custodians and volunteers with all our water cups.

    Circle D Ranch brought out a lot of great animals to see including 2 horses, Pancho the donkey, a baby calf, and 2 lambs.

    After that it was out on the streets of Anaheim for the rest of the race. There's no more running through the Disney parks and no more Disney characters to see, but that doesn't mean there isn't any more support. Cheering us on all throughout the course were lots of cheer squads, dance troops, and marching bands.

    Ever since I can remember this group has been performing here.

    Since the Limited Time Magic event for Long Lost Characters just happened last week, I was hoping we might get some of those characters along the course, specifically Hercules, Meg and Hades. I had no luck with that, but I did find another racer wearing the best costume ever! Hercules! There's been lots of great costumes I've seen today including Pocahontas, Mary Poppins and Bert, Fix-it Felix Jr and Wreck It Ralph, a few Vanellope Von Schweetz, lots of princesses, and even a few Fireside girls.

    Motivating us along the path, there were lots of inspirational signs. Some of my favorites were "Worst Parade Ever", "That's not sweat, that's liquid awesome", "Run like Maleficent (or Ursula) is chasing you", and the ever inspiring "Remember, you signed the Death Waiver."

    There were lots of unofficial groups handing out much appreciated snacks to the runners. Team Mouseplanet was stationed at the 1/2 way point and giving away much appreciated pretzels, twizzlers, and orange slices. Thank you! The best thing I saw being handed out? Someone was giving away whole Krispy Kreme donuts!

    The Polynesian dancers were out performing. Maybe it was just me not paying enough attention, but once we got here, I saw 2 runners dressed as Lilo and carrying small plushes of Stitch.

    In previous years, Mile 7 - 8 was the worst section of the course. At that time in the morning, you're running directly into the sun and there wasn't anything along the road to see. Last year though, all that changed. Now there are maybe a hundred classic cars lining the street!

    Followed by Ford Mustangs spanning multiple years. As we ran by, the owners honked their horns for us.

    We made it to the Honda Center.

    Then ran along a back road towards Angel Stadium.

    And with Angel Stadium not only do we get to run by it...

    We also get to run along the warning track around the baseball field.

    We're on to the last few miles. The cheer squads are still out in force.

    After mile 12, I ran into a barefoot Tarzan. Wow. Just wow. After I complimented him on his costume he said the running was easy, dealing with the wig in this heat was the hard part.

    We're at mile 13.1 and there's the finish line!

    Receiving my Legacy runners medal. Legacy runners get an extra lanyard showing they've run all 8 Disneyland Half Marathons.

    Whew, finished!

    Inside the Runner Refreshment booth where hundreds of boxes of snacks are lined up for the finishing racers.

    As well as a big stack of bananas.

    What's in the box?

    A closer look at this year's medal.


    Time to add it to the collection. Now I need to find my 2008 finishers medal. Hmm, wonder where that disappeared to. So the first four years all had the same design with improvements made to the lanyard each year. There was a completely unique design for the 5th anniversary and that's when they started including the additional Legacy lanyard. Years 6 through 8 had a new design, that I suspect we'll see again next year with the 10th anniversary hopefully being a new design.

    Time for the worst part of the half marathon. The freezing cold recovery ice bath... Seriously, I hate this part, but it really helps my recovery process.

    Race number 8 is in the books! There were 15847 finishers this year with 10,008 women and 5839 men completing the course. The oldest racer was an 81 year old woman who finished in 3:18:31.

    Congratulations to everyone who participated! A big thank you to all the volunteers plus the people who came out to cheer!

  6. #6

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    Re: Joe's 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon trip report

    This is BITCHIN! I've heard of this but never knew what it entailed. What a great experience. And neat-o that the whole community comes out to support.
    How do you participate? How much does it cost?
    PS
    Hercules has killer legs

  7. #7

    • Joe Flowers
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    Re: Joe's 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon trip report

    Quote Originally Posted by miz bell View Post
    This is BITCHIN! I've heard of this but never knew what it entailed. What a great experience. And neat-o that the whole community comes out to support.
    How do you participate? How much does it cost?
    Last year, sign-ups were on January 22nd for a race that wouldn't happen until 7 months later. Amazingly it sold out in less than 26 hours!

    If you're interested in running next year, it's best to get the latest directly from the Run Disney website runDisney | Disney Marathons and Running Events | Official Site.
    At the bottom, you can enter your email address to be notified automatically whenever there is news.

    Cost... let's just say it's not cheap. You're paying a premium to run with Disney. The inaugural year it cost $85. This year it cost $175, and for those who are wondering it does NOT come with a ticket to get into the park afterwards.

  8. #8

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    Re: Joe's 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon trip report

    Gadzooks! I've never run anything like that- well I never run PERIOD but I thought it might be a fun goal but that's too rich for my blood. Now an 8 mile WALK would be more speed...

    i doubt I'd wanna walk the park after that but it does seem like there would be some kind of perk especially at that price point.

    Kudos on your run!

  9. #9

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    • Minion
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    Re: Joe's 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon trip report

    Thank you for this report! The photos are great and one can really see how much you enjoyed the race.

    I did the 5K and had a wonderful time - and I had no idea Disney recognized legacy runners, so that is something to think about for the future for me.
    Merida looks like this. Not a Barbie doll!

  10. #10

    • KC to DL= 1,640 miles
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    Re: Joe's 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon trip report

    Congratulations on your 8th DL Half Marathon! Thanks for sharing your experience! Great pics!
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  11. #11

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    Re: Joe's 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon trip report

    Congrats Joe - tremendous accomplishment! Question since youve done so many of these, do unusual characters ever show up like at WDW? Florida has had Darkwing, Launchpad, Phoebus, three good fairies, etc. Im guessing its a function of the amount of time spent on property and the need for less course to fill with Disney entertainment vs FL but was curious - thanks!

  12. #12

    • Joe Flowers
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    Re: Joe's 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon trip report

    Quote Originally Posted by asianway View Post
    Congrats Joe - tremendous accomplishment! Question since youve done so many of these, do unusual characters ever show up like at WDW? Florida has had Darkwing, Launchpad, Phoebus, three good fairies, etc. Im guessing its a function of the amount of time spent on property and the need for less course to fill with Disney entertainment vs FL but was curious - thanks!
    Thanks!

    Between the four races I've run at WDW and the eight I've run at DL, WDW definitely has the upper hand when it comes to characters. At WDW, the characters are not only inside the parks, but they're also on the roads between the parks. Coming around the corner one year and seeing Darkwing Duck was a huge thrill for me since he was one of my favorite Disney Afternoon cartoons.

    Thinking back over the years for the DL characters, here's the more unique ones I remember.
    Three Good Fairies with Aurora and Phillip
    Koda and Kenai
    Pocahontas and Meeko
    Remy and Emile
    Little Einsteins
    Clarice
    Clarabell and Horace Horsecollar
    Russell and Dug
    People dressed up like TRON
    Maleficent

    So we do get some.

  13. #13

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    Re: Joe's 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon trip report

    Wow- quite an accomplishment! Looks like you had a good time, though!
    I pledge allegiance to the Earth, one planet, many gods, and to the universe in which she spins.

  14. #14

    • aka 'KiMcHeE'
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    Re: Joe's 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon trip report

    Great trip report! Thanks for sharing! I definitely want to try doing a half marathon one day but I definitely need to train for it. I'm not even at a 5k status yet heh. One day I will!

  15. #15

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    Re: Joe's 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon trip report

    Do you they always give you a medal even if you were not the first ones?

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