WOW! My VERY 1st runDisney experience at The Tinker Bell ½ Marathon at Disneyland this past weekend! The weather was incredible – somewhat warm in the mornings and then in the 80s during the days! Just what this rusty Washingtonian ordered! Despite the crowds (It was also MLK weekend and very crowded in the parks on Sunday and Monday in particular) it was wonderful!
To sum up the weekend for me? A huge NEWBIE to running and new to runDisney… WOW! If money was no object then I would probably be participating in EVERY single runDisney event! runDisney knows how to put on a show and make you feel (most of the time) like you aren’t even running at all! I have done some local races in Washington state where I live and although fun - nothing compares to running down Main Street at Disneyland or coming around the corner on Paradise Pier with the World of Color lights on or being able to run right through Sleeping Beauty’s Castle or directly into CARSLAND!!! UNREAL!
Let me also say that I am not a running expert… in fact I just started running this past spring as a means to lose a little weight, set a good example for my kids, and to be more active. I am hooked. If only every run could be a DISNEY run!
I was privileged to have an awesome experiance while at the Tinkerbell ½ weekend @ the Land. It was called the Tinker Bell ½ Marathon “Meet UP”. I learned about these runDisney Meet Ups through Twitter and Facebook... fellow runDisney addicts are crazy about them. An official event put on by runDisney – it took place very early Friday morning before the Health & Fitness EXPO opened. 50 participants were chosen on a first come first served basis. runDisney does these Meet Ups at most of their race weekends both at the Land and at the World. They announce the Meet Ups on the Disney Parks BLOG about a week prior to the event and you seriously have to respond within minutes of the announcement posting or you just don’t stand a chance at getting in. Here is the link to the POST that announced the Tinkerbell 1/2 Meet Up. The capacity was reached in a few minutes after they posted this! You respond via e – mail with your personal RSVP for the event and then you wait until they send you an e-mail back saying you are in. runDisney takes different amounts of people for these Meetups… I have seen anywhere from 30 to 100 people being accepted in. The Tink ½ Meet up had 50 participants. I am fairly sure that some of the participants were "media guests" and invited to attend and didn't have to earn their way in with the RSVP that I sent through the instructions on the Disney Parks Blog.
A run down of what happened at the Meet Up –
We were instructed via the “your in” email to meet at the Sorcerer’s Hat at the Disneyland Hotel at 6:00am sharp on Friday morning… they had also asked us our tech shirt size (so I pretty much knew we were getting a free shirt)… which we did. Free runDisney Tech shirts! We gathered for about 30 mintues waiting for all to arrive. After a quick “Are you Ready?” speech from the The runDisney folks and a warning the there were “SURPRISES” ahead… there were quick introductions of some that were present - Jeff Galloway (who is a past Olympian runner and runDisney’s running spokesperson and official trainer)… along with Jeff Galloway – Tara Guidus was also there who is the runDisney official Dietician. There were a couple of celebrities present too – Sean Astin (Rudy, Lord of the Rings, Goonies) was there as well as Ali Vincent (winner of season 5 of the Biggest Loser). The Meet Up began with a 2 mile training run through both parks BEFORE they were open to the public… we began through Downtown Disney and then Disneyland was first… we got to run right in the front gates and directly down Main Street… we turned left and went into Adventure Land and ran down around River’s of America… we ended up eventually in Tommowland where they had us all stop and take a break… of course there were lots of photo ops with the celebrities present… they then took us in groups of 7 or 8 and we were able to have our photos taken with Tinkerbell in Pixie Hollow…
After the photo op we ran through Fantasyland and directly through Sleeping Beauty’s castle… then it was over to California Adventure and right down Buena Vista Street we turned right past Soarin’ and ended up at Paradise Pier and got to run all the way around… then stopped at CARSLAND where we all got to walk right on to Radiator Springs Racers and ride it! This was my first time seeing Carsland and riding Racers – I will never forget it! The car I was riding in raced the one Sean Astin was in and we won! Wahoo!
After the ride on Racers we headed back to Buena Vista Street and stopped by the fountain – they had one of the Trolley’s pulled out in front of Carthay Circle and out came – MICKEY, MINNIE, and GOOFY! We all got to have photos taken and then one big group shot in front of the RED Trolley.
THEN… we were told we were headed to the NAPA Rose Restaurant @ the Grand Californian Hotel for a light breakfast. They had a very nice buffet spread and then we got to listen to a few minutes speaking time from the following people… New Balance Company represenative, runDisney, Jeff Galloway, Sean Astin, Ali Vincent, Tara Gidus (runDisney Dietician)… all had great encouragement and tips for us… they also gave away a few door prizes via drawings. They gave away 4 pairs of the new New Balance Disney running shoes, 4 sport bags from runDisney, one person won an entry to the race of their choice for the Disneyland ½ weekend at the end of August (which included the Dumbo Double Dare if they chose it). The morning concluded with 2 of the chefs coming out and making a recipe for us all to watch and then sample. I am totally blank on what they made but it was good. Here is a recap on the Disney Parks Blog of both runDisney Meet Ups for the Tinkerbell Half Weekend as well as the previous weekend at Walt Disney World for the 20th Anniversary of the Marathon there.
At the very end they gave us all a 1 Day Park Hopper Ticket that was good for any day through the weekend. (Unfortunately being from out of state… we had already purchased our park tickets and could not use it… a day later we found a group at one of ticket booths outside Disneyland waiting to purchase park tickets and gave it away).
I may be forgetting a few of the details about this amazing event. But that is most of what I can remember happened! I went on to run in the 5K with my husband Brian on Saturday morning and then ran my VERY FIRST ½ marathon (and finished) on Sunday morning with my husband cheering me on from the crowds! It was awesome and if you are just even thinking that a runDisney event sounds a little fun… sign up and think later! It was MAGICAL!
THANK YOU RUNDISNEY!!!
THANK YOU RUNDISNEY!!!