RunDisney’s 10th Annual Disneyland Half Marathon – The Diamond Edition

As veteran runDisney race participants know, runDisney has created a special class of participant:  Legacy.  Legacy status is partly the reason behind the mad rush to register for inaugural events (you can’t run them all if you don’t run the first) and all ensuing iterations of those events.  Every 5th running of the events are celebrated (5th, 10th, 15th, etc.) and participants who have been there every year are celebrated and honored, too.  The Disneyland Half Marathon is the longest-running running event at the Disneyland Resort, so we Legacy runners had high hopes for this event (inexplicably called the 10th anniversary, it is actually the 10th annual), especially because it occurred during the 60th Anniversary celebration of Disneyland.  RunDisney did not disappoint.  Legacy runners were given beautiful bibs and a special string backpack and Legacy Runner t-shirt.  I loved the shirt so much that I wore it during the race.  I wanted my buttons (I always use buttons at runDisney races to pin my bibs to my shirts) to match the theme, so they’re all iconic Disney attractions.  It seemed, during the race, that whenever I started to flag, someone would run past me and call out encouragement, referencing my legacy status.  Thank you, runDisney!

DLHW Half Marathon Race Shirt, Bib, and Medal

DLHW Half Marathon Race Shirt, Bib, and Medal

To continue the 10th annual celebration, runDisney offered a private party in Disneyland park after hours.  The party ran from 9 pm to midnight and cost about $100.  No details were given up front, but I signed up, because I wanted to do everything possible to celebrate running the Disneyland Half Marathon for 10 years.  At the expo, I picked up my party ticket, wristband, free Disneyland 60th Anniversary sling backpack and party map, then purchased the special limited release pin (luckily – some people didn’t get to buy the pin at all, because they weren’t told about it and it wasn’t available at the party).  The map revealed what none of us had known before we purchased our tickets (some people had purchased tickets before learning the date and weren’t able to attend at all, because they didn’t arrive in time):  Only the west side of the park was open and only six attractions were available to us.  I was very disappointed, especially when the event turned out to be not very well organized.  It was nearly worth it, though, because there were so few people there and I had an unobstructed view of the Paint the Night Parade.  I posted previously about the original Paint the Night at Hong Kong Disneyland, so I’ve only included a couple of pictures here that show new elements for the Disneyland parade.

DLHW Paint the Night Tinker Bell FloatDLHW Paint the Night Frozen Float Straightened2

The pre-race events were the same pre-race events as for the Disneyland Enchanted 10K:  the usual long merchandise line at the expo, the usual sell-out of merchandise, (because runDisney doesn’t limit race merchandise sales to race participants; the 10K “I Did It” shirt sold out before or early Friday), the packet pick-up, the early race morning, the corral jumpers, etc.  The corral jumpers were worse during the half marathon than I’d seen during the 10K.  One woman pushed a barrier into a runDisney staffer and continued to push it even while he was trying to secure it (with her on the other side – she did not belong in that corral) and she pushed him completely out of her way.  I heard him ask for bib number, but I didn’t stop to see what happened, because I was already moving past them at that point.

The Disneyland Half Marathon’s start/finish lines were parks-themed and, as always, Rudy Novotny and Carissa Beleart were there to send us off and bring us home.

DLHW Half Marathon Start Line

DLHW Half Marathon Start Line

DLHW Half Marathon Finish Line

DLHW Half Marathon Finish Line

DLHW Rudy Novotny Sending Us on Our Way Half Marathon

DLHW Rudy Novotny Sending Us on Our Way Half Marathon

 

The Disneyland Half Marathon always uses the same mile marker at each mile and this year, they were enhanced to commemorate the 10th running.

DLHW Half Marathon Mile Marker

DLHW Half Marathon Mile Marker

 

The hype crews and Disney Bounders we’d seen the previous day were back for the half marathon.  As I mentioned in my 10K recap, this is the first time I’ve seen official Disney Bounders on a runDisney course.

DLHW Ursula Bounder Half Marathon

DLHW Ursula Bounder Half Marathon

 

I loved the characters on the course.  For the 10K, we had villains and, boy, what great villains we had!  For the half marathon, we had villains again, but, this time, they were with their heroes.  RunDisney went out of their way to make this a very special event, creating a character interaction rarely seen (by me, anyway).

DLHW Pinocchio and Honest John Half Marathon

DLHW Pinocchio and Honest John Half Marathon

DLHW Aladdin and Jafar Half Marathon

DLHW Aladdin and Jafar Half Marathon

DLHW Governor Ratcliffe and Pocahontas Half Marathon

DLHW Governor Ratcliffe and Pocahontas Half Marathon

DLHW Snow White on Half Marathon Course

DLHW Snow White on Half Marathon Course

DLHW Evil Queen on Half Marathon Course

DLHW Evil Queen on Half Marathon Course

DLHW Peter Pan on Half Marathon Course

DLHW Peter Pan on Half Marathon Course

DLHW Captain Hook on Half Marathon Course

DLHW Captain Hook on Half Marathon Course

DLHW Mulan and Shan Yu on Half Marathon Course

DLHW Mulan and Shan Yu on Half Marathon Course

 

I’m sorry for the blurriness in some of the photos.  I’d like to say it’s because I was moving so quickly, but this backstage safety mileage check puts the lie to that.

DLHW Safety First Backstage

DLHW Safety First Backstage

 

The new-ish tradition of having classic cars on the course continued this year with a couple of miles worth of beautiful old cars and some fancy new ones.  There were even character cars.

DLHW Half Marathon Kit Front View

DLHW Half Marathon Kitt Front View

DLHW Half Marathon Lightning McQueen

DLHW Half Marathon Lightning McQueen

DLHW Half Marathon Herbie Cars

DLHW Half Marathon Herbie Cars

DLHW Half Marathon Batmobile

Half Marathon Batmobile

 

One of the top ten reasons to run a runDisney race is the off-hours, nearly empty, access to the parks.  You can’t get shots like this during the day with the parks full of people.

DLHW Paradise Lake Half Marathon

DLHW Paradise Lake Half Marathon

 

Rudy Novotny called me in at the finish, making it one of my best finishes ever.  I’m pretty sure Mickey and Goofy were there, too, but when Rudy calls your name as you cross the finish line, you only have eyes for him.

DLHW Rudy Novotny at the Half Marathon Finish Line

DLHW Rudy Novotny at the Half Marathon Finish Line

DLHW Mickey at the Half Marathon Finish Line

DLHW Mickey at the Half Marathon Finish Line

 

My favorite costume on the half marathon course was a woman dressed as my favorite attraction:  Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.  Can you imagine running a half marathon in this?

DLHW Half Marathon Best Costume Mr. Toad's Wild Ride Car

DLHW Half Marathon Best Costume Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride Car

Check out the bumper stickers, too!

DLHW Half Marathon Best Costume

DLHW Half Marathon Best Costume

 

I’ve posted in previous recaps about the course support and it continues to be strong, both inside and outside the parks.  This was the best sign this year (timely, relevant, clever):

DLHW Half Marathon Best Sign

DLHW Half Marathon Best Sign

and my response:

DLHW Half Marathon Best Sign and My Response

DLHW Half Marathon Best Sign and My Response

This was my favorite sign, and it’s one I haven’t seen before.

DLHW Half Marathon Favorite Sign

DLHW Half Marathon Favorite Sign

 

The Disneyland Half Marathon remains my favorite runDisney event.  I love the course and the attention to detail that runDisney brings to each event.  The medal was updated (it’s changed each time the legacy status is invoked) and incorporated the 60th anniversary of Disneyland.  I posted the Legacy Runner shirt above and here is the back of the shirt.  You can see how people knew to call out my legacy status on the course.  If you look closely at the medal, you’ll see that it’s a spinner and the back (or the front) is the runDisney Running Mickey logo.

DLHW Half Marathon Race Shirt and Medal back view

DLHW Half Marathon Race Shirt and Medal back view

 

I’ll be back for next year’s Disneyland Half Marathon.  If I could only run one runDisney race a year, this would be the one.  Next year, though, I’ll be running at least three: the 5th Annual Tinker Bell Half Marathon (yes, I’ll be earning my Legacy status), the Disneyland Half Marathon, and the inaugural Disneyland Paris Half Marathon.  If you’re curious about runDisney races, you can’t go wrong with the Disneyland Half.

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About George Gensler

George Gensler is a copyrights specialist during the week and a runner on the weekends. She lives in New York City now, but has lived in five countries on three continents. She grew up traveling the world, but her official residence was in Southern California and every visit home included a trip to Disneyland. She has also visited every Disney Park around the world and sailed on board two Disney cruises. She threw in a visit to the Disney Family museum in San Francisco for good measure, and has had the Premier Disney Park Pass since its inception.