Thursday, January 30, 2014

Inaugural Tinker Bell 10K - Race Recap

Inaugural Tinker Bell 10K at Disneyland!   How did it go?

On Jan 18, 2014 I participated in the Inaugural Tinker Bell 10K (6.2 miles) at Disneyland in Anaheim, CA.  I traveled to Anaheim from the Seattle area to participate in the entire weekend of festivities... the weekend also included a Family Fun Run 5K (3.1 miles) on Friday January 17th and the Tinker Bell Half Marathon (13.1 miles) that took place on Sunday, Jan 19, 2014.  This was my 2nd year participating in the Tinker Bell Race weekend at Disneyland... I was able to run the Neverland 5K and the Tinker Bell Half Marathon in 2013 and if you are interested you can read about them here and here.  This year I ran the 10K and the Half Marathon.

This was the Inaugural year (the very 1st one) for the Tinker Bell 10K (the Tinker Bell race weekend is just 3 years old... the first Tinker Bell Race Weekend was held in 2012).  I love that runDisney added the 10K distance to this race weekend... it is a good challenge for many and so much fun!  This time I chose to participate in the 10K and the Half Marathon (the Half Marathon race recap is coming soon).

The Race was set to begin at 6:00am... my friends and I were in Corral A.  Which meant that we would be in the first group to start.  I am not sure how runDisney did the Corral assignments for this race.  The best guess we could come up with was by the date of each registration.  We arrived at about 5:00am to the area on Disneyland Drive where the Corrals were being staged.  We were directed into the staging area near where the finish line was located.  There was loud music playing, the bag check area, and some people doing morning pick up of their bibs and shirts.  We waited about 10 minutes and then they began allowing people to walk towards their Corrals and get lined up.  It was really exciting to be right near the stage and close to the announcers.  Everything seemed to be very well organized and there were many volunteers present throughout the area as well as out on the race course once we began. 

 runDisney announcers!
 At the Start!

The 10K started right at 6:00am and we were off!  It was really exciting to be right near the front of Corral A (the first corral).  Below is a course map of the 10K and specifics on where we went...

We began down Disneyland Drive and wrapped around to enter Disneyland Park first through the backstage area.  The first 2 1/2 miles took place in Disneyland Park before we hit the chute across the Esplanade to California Adventure Park.    Inside Disneyland and California Adventure there were lights, music and character stops (if you chose to stop).  I am much more of a "fly by" photo taker except for stopping near the castle.  Below is a sampling of pictures I took inside both Parks during the 10K race.

 Small World still dressed for the Holidays.

 The Horses of the Circle D! (My favorite stop of the race!)  I am pretty sure this is DUKE!

 One of the old surreys they used at Disneyland long ago.
 Mile 1!
 runDisney cones... these were new to me...

I don't have any regrets about this race EXCEPT that I didn't stop and have my photo taken with the stretching girl and the bride from the Haunted Mansion... dah!  Why didn't I stop?

 Approaching Tomorrowland...

 A stop at Sleeping Beauty's Castle is a MUST!

I love this picture... looks like I am out for my morning run in my very 
own Disneyland Park... all mine! (except for that one shadow... hmmm maybe that is Walt)

California Adventure's Buena Vista Street

Approaching Soarin' Over California

 Looking across Paradise Pier to Mickey's Fun Wheel and California Screamin'

 Mile 3!  (I am not sure how I missed the Mile 2 marker)

 The back side of the Fun Wheel in California Adventure

 Time for a walk break! (it is a little uphill here)


 Yo Ho... DJ!

 Lightening McQueen and Mater in CARSLAND
(my shirt... it says Mousetalgia (which is the BEST podcast around about all things Disneyland!  The back of my shirt reads "Eat my Pixie Dust!")

 Not me in the picture but a cool stop nonetheless!

 Mile 4!

 Mile 5!

 Mile 6!

The last 2 or so miles of the course were outside of the Parks on the streets of Anaheim with the finish coming back on property and finishing in the parking lot of the Paradise Pier Hotel.    We exited California Adventure near Tower of Terror and headed out onto the streets.  We headed north on Harbor Blvd and then wound around behind the Pumbaa parking lot.  Then we came west down Disney Drive and turned left onto Harbor to head South.  Then on to the corner of Katella and Harbor Blvd. where we turned west onto Katella and followed Katella all the way down to Disneyland Drive where we turned North and made the last 2 turns before the finish!

I had such a fun time participating in this race!  What a fantastic addition to the Tinker Bell Race Weekend!  The course was fast and fun!  There were great stops along the way if you wanted to do them!  Lots of cast members out in the Parks cheering the runners as well as out on the streets there seemed to be lots of spectators cheering too!  I enjoyed it so much!  The one thing that I would maybe change about the race course was possibly putting the Anaheim streets portion of the course near the beginning of the race or possibly split it up so maybe one of those miles was at the beginning and then the runners would only have about a mile on the streets to the finish.  I am sure there are logistics to why they did the course the way they did... but I think it would break it up and not leave the somewhat "non disney" part of the race for the end.   Not that running on the streets around the resort is bad... I do enjoy it but leaving it all for the end was sort of interesting... it surprised me that they did that.

If I return in 2015 (I am already trying to figure out how to financially do this) I am going to do a repeat of this race!  I loved it!  I would highly recommend this distance for someone who wants a bigger challenge than a 5K... 10Ks are such a good fitness distance.    A great goal to work towards past the 5K.  runDisney... what do I say to you? Thank you for such a great memory of the Tinker Bell weekend!  The Inaugural Tinker Bell 10K was am amazing experience!  Loved it!

One thing about this race I did find slightly puzzling... it was the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend and the 10K was all about Tinker Bell and her Fairy friends... where were her friends?  The only time we saw Tinker Bell was on the big screen at the start... and the fairies were on the mile marker signs but no where for a character stop... that seems strange to me.  But I will move on quickly from that.

 One rack of the medals at the Finish Line!

Me with my hard earned medal!  Disney knows how to bling their runners! 

After crossing the finish line you are ushered through the finisher's area... You can take photos in front of the "official backgrounds" and then progress through the snacks and beverages area, bag check and then on to the Family Reunion area.  

This was by far my favorite 10K of the past 12 + months I have done... some serious fun and some serious bling!  This 10K was my 13th 10K in the past year or so... I wish they could all be Disney runs!  I would recommend highly signing up for a 10K with runDisney... and of course I am partial to the Tinker Bell weekend because they are the ones I have done.  I do know that runDisney has added 10Ks to both of the weekends at Disneyland and to at least 2 of their race weekends at Walt Disney World.  Do it!  You won't regret it!

There has been an announcement from runDisney that the Tinker Bell Race Weekend is moving to Mother's Day weekend in 2015 (May 7 - 10, 2015) (it is also the 60th anniversary of Disneyland that year)... a few extra months to save up!  Registration fills up VERY fast - Registration opens for 2015 on August 12, 2014.   The Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend just had it's registration process (it takes place Labor Day weekend) - all of the races filled in less than 24 hours.  Crazy fast!

What character (or characters) would stop you in your tracks and cause you to not care about your time and STOP for that picture?

Have you done the Tinker Bell races? Which ones?   Maybe you are planning and training to go next year for your first time?  Tell me about it!    

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