Tinkerbell Half Marathon Review

DCIM100GOPROG0111102.

Expo: A+

Parking at Disneyland can be rough and getting to the Simba parking lot proved to be more difficult than it should have because of some errant signage but there was plenty of parking available. Bib pick up is underneath the actual expo and is very spacious. Plenty of computers are provided to print out race waivers and picking up your bib is very simple. The expo offers lots of vendor options as well as several events like guest speakers throughout the weekend.

Prerace/Postrace: B

Parking for the race is a whopping $18 per day! Keep that in mind when you sign up for one of the races at Disneyland. I arrived early enough that I had no issues getting into the parking structure. Post race runners are offered a bottle of water, small bottle of Powerade, and a prepackaged box of snacks. The box contained Oreos, a Luna bar, corn chips, a cheese sauce, and apple sauce. There is a stage with music being played but not much “entertainment” as I imagine they would like for runners to head over to the park for that.

RUNDISNEY_DLRMARAFINISHLINE8_20160508_384127102375
credit: runDisney

The Course: A+

Full disclosure, I am not a “Disney” person. That being said, running through the parks offers a nice distraction from thinking about running 13.1 miles and most of the first half of the race take place within the parks. Once out in the streets of Anaheim, there is nothing super special about the course. There were plenty of water stations along the route. With just two short hills, from what I recall, I would say this course is one where going after a PR is a realistic goal. I would recommend this race for all skill levels.

DCIM100GOPROG0121110.

The Medal: A+

One thing runDisney usually gets right is its medals and Tinkerbell is no exception. The medal is one of the better medals out there.

IMG_5924

 

Overall: A-

This race ranks right up near the top of my list of races. The problem is runDisney charges a premium for its product and I just do not feel the race is better than any other well run half marathon. For fans of the Disney franchise, running through the parks and taking pictures along the route holds a certain value. But charging such a high rate for parking and cutting corners in the finisher’s area leaves a bit of a sour taste. One are where this race excelled was in photos! No longer outsourcing their race photography, they perfected the art of race photos. Action shots were available to download same day, well lit, large files, and in focus. I think all your race photos can be purchased for $39 (another added cost to an already expensive race) but in this case, it is money well spent.

RUNDISNEY_DLRMARAICON2_20160508_384114753326
credit: runDisney

 

Advertisements

Tales of a runDisney Rookie

Sunday at Disneyland was the inaugural Avengers Super Heros Half Marathon. It is hard to believe but out of the 38 half marathons I had run leading up to this one, this was my first time experiencing a runDisney race. There was no single reason why I had never attempted one of their races but cost, signing up so far in advance and not being a huge Disney person all played a roll in my decision to skip the races. This race, however, fell at the right time, on the right date for me to finally give The Mouse my money.

I wish I could give you an insight into the expo but truth be told, I have no idea. I understand there are a lot of limited edition items for sale but other than swinging by the bib pick-up area, I stayed confined to either the Pro Compression booth or I was at the Sparkle Athletic booth where I FINALLY got to meet my virtual running mate, Carlee!!

First things first, the race started early. Like, 5:30 am early. The saving grace here was being from the central time zone, it felt like 7:30 which is not all that bad honestly. I do not think the start time bothered me nearly as much as it could have.

Brian, (PavementRunner), and I left the hotel around 4:20 and walked to meet the rest of our #sa2lv group in Downtown Disney for prerace photos. It was rather difficult to come up with a central location for everyone to meet because the Disney people are a lot more strict about how corrals are set up and what areas runners can get to. None-the-less, we were able to snap a pic or two before everyone headed off to their assigned corrals.

Brian, Richard, Carmen, Jessica & Carlee
Brian, Richard, Carmen, Jessica & Carlee

It was dark outside with the recent time change but the glow from all of the neon lights and huge video board made it seem like we were all at some early-morning rave as we waited in the packed corrals. I really liked the video board at the start line. They played an Avengers-themed cartoon in an effort to pump up the crowd which was a nice touch and the fireworks after the National Anthem was really cool as well.

Since this was the first of two half marathons for the day, Brian and I were going to take the race at an easy pace. Also, I was warned that while in the park, running room would be tight so it would be best to just treat this as a long training run.

I can honestly say I think the last time I was in Disneyland was when I was five. That being the case, I had no clue where we were while running through the park. For someone who is a lover of all things Disney, I imagine the first few miles would have made their day. As for me, meh, it was not all that different than running any other race except there were photo stops happening all around.

We skipped the first few but I finally gave in and had my picture taken with Mickey and Minnie Mouse.

IMG_6383

After leaving the park we headed out to the streets of Anaheim.

It did not take long once outside the park to notice there was going to be some wind to deal with. By mile six the wind was out of control. I did not look at any weather forecasts for the day of the race so this was unexpected as far as I was concerned. By mile seven, I would guess the wind was a steady 20 MPH with gusts well into the 40 MPH range. There were times it just stood me up and I felt like I was going nowhere.

A little past the halfway point the route sent us into Angles Stadium. As a baseball fan, I thought this was a nice touch and getting out of the wind was more than welcomed.

By now my legs are feeling really good and I had picked up my pace although I did not look at my watch because I was just running what felt right.

I catch up to my friends Richard and Sarah somewhere around mile 12 and we decided to stick together and cross the finish line together.

IMG_6366

Race number one of the day was complete.

All-in-all, it was a good race. Like I have mentioned before, if I were a lover of all things Disney, I am sure the experience would have been a lot more to me than it was. For me, it was just the first race of the day.

RunDisney did a lot of things right. The medal is nice. Really nice! The finisher’s corral was wide and despite the gale force winds knocking everything down, was well marked; There were plenty of water stations along the way and they all seemed to have ample amounts of water and Powerade; Packet pickup was a breeze.

FullSizeRender

Would I do another Disney race? Yes. (In fact, I am doing the Dopey Challenge in January. I am also raising money for Autism Speaks. Click here if you would like to make a donation. Thank you in advance!) I would be selective about which races I would run and if the Avengers race falls on the same day as Rock ‘n Roll Las Vegas, then I will attempt to run it every year.