2016 Disneyland Half Marathon Report
For 2016 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, Sarah ran the 5K and I ran the Half Marathon. We picked up our race bibs on Thursday afternoon before heading to Disneyland and checking into Anaheim Maingate Inn, which we split with Guy Selga. This hotel overtakes Alamo Inn (the one where the roof collapsed on guests) for us as the worst hotel near Disneyland, but that’s another topic for another post.
In our Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Vlog, we have footage from her race and mine, but this report will focus solely on my experience running the Half. I almost opted for the 5K instead due to its Country Bears theme, but decided against it. Judging by what Sarah had to say when she got back from the race, she won’t be registering for any future runDisney events.
Unfortunately, hotels Saturday night were considerably more expensive than Thursday night (especially with Guy not booking us a slot at Murder Motel). Instead, we drove up from home on Sunday morning at 4:15 a.m. for the Half Marathon.
I was really hyped to be in Corral C as opposed to Corral ZZZ where I normally seem to be placed, but this was a good and bad thing. I’ve complained about my corral placement a lot in these race reports, so it’s more than a bit ironic that I get the placement I want, and still find a way to complain.
I’ll start with the good. One great thing about being so far up in the corrals was that I started about 10 minutes after the race itself started. In past runDisney events, I haven’t crossed the starting line until 30-45 minutes after the event started. There’s definitely something to be said for not having to dodge hordes of people walking 5-wide for the first 2 miles of the event. It’s also nice being over half-finished by the time the sun comes up.
There is a downside, though, and that’s the contrasting “energies” at the back of the pack versus the front. It’s like sitting in the back of class versus the front. In the back, you might be playing Tetris all class on your TI-86, while you’re getting jiggy with actual math up front. You can get an A from either location, but it’s easier in front, and more enjoyable in back.
Same idea with runDisney. It’s business in the front, party in the back, with way more costumes, excitement, and general hijinks in the back, as compared to people who are very serious about completing this race in 1:53:55 to best their previous PR of 1:54:02. (I guess it’s also possible far fewer people worse costumes? I somehow doubt that.)
In any case, the first several miles of the Disneyland Half Marathon were awesome. We entered Disney California Adventure through through Cars Land and looped through Paradise Pier before exiting.
Of course, I had to stop several times for photos of the World of Color fountains (always a nice touch) and other random shiny objects that caught my attention along the way.
I was really excited to see the Viva Navidad float with the Three Caballeros on it.
In fact, I was so hyped that I felt compelled to get a selfie. Hard to believe, but this is straight out of camera. No fancy editing to complete this masterpiece. (Real bang up job, Tom. I might as well have put my thumb in the corner of the frame to really complete the effect.)
I’m so excited for Christmas at Disneyland, and really hope the rumors of a Christmas Food Festival at DCA (and expanded Viva Navidad) come to fruition. I think the Christmas food offerings at Epcot are a nice touch, and something similar at DCA would be welcome.
After winding through part of DCA, it was time to head backstage, through the Esplanade, and over to Disneyland. There, we briefly entered Main Street before heading to the guest flow corridor–about the least crowded I’ve ever seen those.
The course looped through Fantasyland and back down Main Street, and I stopped another 10-15 times for photos. For some odd reason, my mile times in Disneyland and Magic Kingdom during these races–even when those miles are at the beginning of the race–are always my worst times.
I stopped to get this photo for noted Omnibustorian, Guy Selga–despite him booking us a room at Murder Motel, because I’m a class act like that.
No surprise, he wanted this photo instead. Something about needing something to hang over his couch.
After that, it was time to had back through Disney California Adventure again. This time, I spent the entire time doing video, so no photos from that. You’ll just have to take my word for it that we did go through DCA again if you don’t watch the vlog.
After that, we were backstage a bit, by storage, custodial, and Team Disney Anaheim facilities. The photo above is in no way good, but I thought it was interesting because at this same point in the course last year, the sun was hitting that ‘welcome’ banner. During this run, I still had another 30+ minutes before the sun would come up. One clear upside to an earlier corral.
Then it was time to begin the long march through the streets of Anaheim towards the Honda Center and Angel Stadium.
This was basically the same stretch of road as last year, but with more hotel construction and less entertainment. There were a couple of performance groups out and every classic car in Southern California was again parked for the stretching leading into the Honda Center, but that’s about it.
It’s not an interminably miserable stretch like the highway/Wide World of Sports/highway gem in the Walt Disney World Marathon, but with a dearth of entertainment, it leaves a lot to be desired.
Beyond that, there’s not a whole lot to say about it. I could spit some knowledge on you about Anaheim Business Campus (for example, did you know this 10.26-acre campus is located at a “prestigious, high profile international address that balances business and residential growth”?), but I don’t get paid by the word here, so I’m just going to skip ahead.
About the only other thing that happened during this stretch was that I made a fool of myself on multiple occasions. (Hardly a stop the presses occurrence, but I don’t have anything else to say.)
So I use a Canon G7x II to shoot these vlog segments, which is a great multi-purpose that has a forward-facing LCD screen and touchscreen focus system. It’s like taking a selfie on an iPhone with the forward-facing camera. Pretty much idiot-proof.
Somehow, this is beyond the scope of my photography skills. In one situation, I was “recording” myself for 2+ minutes before I realized that I wasn’t actually recording. In another, I recorded for an extended amount of time before realizing the camera hadn’t grabbed focus. You can see some of the masterpiece that was recorded in the vlog below:
This was especially awesome because holding out a camera and talking while running is super awkward. Even though “desperately craving attention” is one of my many disorders, I’m pretty cognizant of people around me, and don’t quite have the confidence to think “who cares” as countless strangers run past me while I rant about my nipples being sore to a camera.
Speaking of my nipples being sore…they were. This is the kind of lesson you should only have to learn once before NEVER FORGETTING IT AGAIN, but somehow, I forgot to lather the Body Glide on my nipples. At this point, I’m thinking about consulting a plastic surgeon for a nippleandectomy. Something tells me I’m not going to need them at any point in the future.
I also forgot to tape up my feet with Trail Tape. This became an issue pretty early on, and I can only assume my feet were still tender from my 17-mile hike in Yosemite National Park a couple of weeks ago. I haven’t been running recently, so there was no other reason for my feet to get sore so quickly.
Most of the rest of the race after Angel Stadium was not noteworthy. My “goal” going in was finishing in under 2 hours, but it’s a goal I set the morning of the race, so it’s not like it would be the end of the world if I failed. Granted, it probably cost me a lucrative sponsorship deal from Body Glide, but I’m holding out for Depend Running Diapers, anyway.
More or less it was onto the home stretch after that, as I crossed Harbor Boulevard on Disney Way…
Technically , ” With demand far exceeding supply… ” should read as: ” With the quantity demanded far exceeding the quantity supplied…”, but the colloquial probably is still better, stylistically .
I hesitate to post this correction, because in the big picture, I know Tom would have the upper hand in any edumacation shootout with me!
Seriously man, try “nip strips”. I swear by them, especially at half+ distances!
Not gonna lie, I’m more than a little curious about this “murder” motel… 🙂
Tom i think I ran past you as you were taking a picture of the Angels Stadium sculpture. Running inside was awesome with the music, all the people, and your name being called as you pass. Im thinking of doing this again next year!
I just Googled “Disneyland half marathon 2016 costumes” to see what kind of costumes people were wearing to the race this time around and your *lovely* selfies popped up in my top search results Didn’t know you were a famous Disney character!
I really struggle with the price of these Disney races. I began running in college and was a strict believer in the idea of “never pay for your talent.” In other words, why would I pay money for someone to give me a medal for something I know I can do myself on a any given Saturday for free? I feel like Disney changes the game though, because for Disney lovers, it’s way more about the cool experiences, the fun routes, the community, and all of those character meets! I haven’t done a RunDisney event since early 2014, but am sad to hear the quality is decreasing. My fiancé and I planned to do the Disneyland Half next year and hearing this is a bit of a game changer. I’d rather save the money and splurge on two nights at one of the Disneyland hotels than pay for a race others are saying is mediocre. Plus, this would avoid me having to train, right? Though, as Barney Stinson once told us, step one is to start running. And step two? There is no step two 😉
2010 was the only year C2C had an actual year on the medal, as an extra dangly piece attached to the bottom. It was also the 5 year anniversary of the DL half and that medal was the giant number 5 medal (that people still complain about, myself included!) All other C2C years are indeed just the same medal year after year with a new lanyard. You could always do Princess and Tink weekends to get the pink C2C.
I’m doing DisneyLand Paris first RunDisney in two weeks! I’m only doing the 5KM, Hopefully it will be great especially since I don’t have anything to compare it too!
Thanks for this great read. I’ve done several RunDisney races since 2014, primarily 5K and 10K as I’m medically not allowed to a Half…yet. Anyway this was my first Disneyland Half weekend. I signed up for the 5K and 10K primarily because I wanted an excuse to see Disneyland60 one more time:) My biggest beef was that they cut a water station from each race. The morning of the 5K was particularly humid and a 2nd water station would have been nice. I’ve also noticed they seem to be moving from characters to selfie stations. I thought the 5K was fun. I enjoyed seeing the trolleys in DCA and getting a selfie with Lotso, things I wouldn’t normally get to do. I did not like the 10K course at all but it seemed to be good for my pacing. I’ve also done Star Wars 5K and 10K this year and Tink 5K and all were different courses. Tink was my favorite as it started on Main Street but I’d say Star Wars in my favorite California race series so far. I’ll be there in January for the 3rd year in a row. I also live on the East Coast.
I think last year was somewhat an anomaly considering it was the 10th anniversary and people love Disney milestones. The energy was up from the year before, and I felt like it was a pretty special event. But I agree that runDisney has reached a tipping point. Even with the number of Disney fans, it’s still a smaller pool of people who love Disney, who want to run (…run/walk …walk), and who are willing to pay the fees, especially year after year.
This was our 4th run disney event. We did the expedition everest challenge, the inaugural start wars half, wine and dine half, and now disneyland half, with the “dark side” half on the horizon next year.
My advice to keep the fun rolling — wear a costume!!! We always make something fun to wear and then regardless of corral A (read: husband) or G (read: wife), we get tons of great interactions from people either complementing the costumes or at least saying, “what the bahjeebers is that supposed to be!?!” Pro-tip: ewok costumes are warm. Just saying.
Also – I completely agree on the coast to coast medals – what’s the deal!? I need variety in my race bling!
Thanks for the great post : informative AND hilarious – a great combo!
What happened with Sarah’s 5K? You indicated that she does not want to participate again, but you didn’t share what happened. Did she have a bad experience?
There’s not really any story there–she just thought it was a waste of money given the entertainment value of the event.
My first runDisney event was the 2015 Tinkerbell HM with Team in Training. It was amazing and I had a fabulous time despite being back in coral ZZZ with the walkers when I’m a solid 2:20. Dodging all the costumed participants was crazy but so many were decked out. It was a sight!
Talked my husband and 11yo into running the DL 5K as a family last weekend and we were really disappointed. In comparison it felt like the ugly step sister of the HM. Seriously. Very disorganized – volunteers could not answer basic questions and we were directed far away from the course entry on race morning, cheap cotton shirts (10k and HM get lovely tech shirts), boring/blah medal ( by my ’15 Tinkerbell HM standards and many others I have), little entertainment, few people cheering, few characters and the of the ones we saw several I could not even identify. My husband commented that it was more fun just walking through the park for the days period to the race. At the beginning of the race there was one point when we were running into DCA… in the dark. There were no lights period. People were tripping and running into each other. Dont get me wrong, we had a great vacation (the parks were quite Monday through Thursday!) but for the money we spent it was a disappointing runDisney event.
Was hoping I’d see you along the course, but alas I was corral D and stopped quite often as well to take photos. Was my first time doing run Disney in CA and have to admit I was a bit disappointed too. I already had assumed based on the race course that the excitement was 90% in the first four miles, but there were still pretty long stretches of absolutely nothing, especially post-stadium till you got back on Disney property! Despite winning a free park ticket in the Honda raffle at the expo, I doubt I’ll do another race event in CA. Signed up to do the marathon next January @ WDW and probably just sticking to WDW events for any future run Disney participation. CA hotels + flights were more expensive than a trip to FL for me as well, which further justify my decision to stop at 1 race, plus I agree a repeated medal is VERY disappointing. 🙁
Always glad to read your reports, and very much got my fingers crossed that you’re right about Paris in terms of them going the extra mile to make it a great first event. (Got a few doubts on that front too, but hoping to be proved wrong). I’ll be there for the Paris weekend, and would love a meet up, wondering what you consider matches up to In-N-Out in the Disney Village?!
I ran the Half on Sunday and totally agree. My 1st RunDisney race was the Inaugural Tinker Bell and I was blown away by it! Fast forward to this year… I didn’t even sign up for the Half until 3 weeks ago and mostly did so because the Castle to Chateau medal is so pretty. I was in Corral G and even back there I felt like there were fewer costumes and just a lower energy level in general. I even sent a panicked text to my husband “I’m the only person wearing a wig, I’m so embarrassed!” (I was dressed as Merida). I was also disappointed that many of the photo ops were basically just “selfie stations”.
Buuuuut all that to say… I still had a lot of fun and found the experience as positive overall.
Really hoping your Paris predictions are right! T-minus 18 days!
I was shocked that there were so many stations without cast members to take photos! (My only prior experience was the WDW half last January and I don’t remember a single location without a cast member present to take a photo.) Thankfully there was always a small queue of runners at them (minus one or two) so we all did photos for the person in front of us in line.
1) The half marathon was my first runDisney event and despite whatever cut backs have happened, I still had a better experience than a ‘normal’ race. I’m know there are “you should’ve seen it 5 years ago” (and with WDC profitability) shenanigans going on, but it was still a fun and enjoyable time from back in corral H. That coupled with an excuse to go to the parks means we will be back to runDisney again (hopefully a non-January WDW race next year).
2) Skip the body glide (at least for your chest). Nexcare waterproof tape is the ultimate solution for nipple problems. Southern California doesn’t get as humid as where I run (Chicago), but I’ve found no amount of body glide prevents pain in hot and humid weather as well as waterproof tape. Two one-inch strips and I can go for hours.
“Two one-inch strips and I can go for hours.” TWSS!! 😉
Would you consider doing one of the different events instead? Maybe Avengers.
FYI: You could get a different coast-to-coast medal if you do the Princess at WDW and Tinkerbell at DL 🙂 lol. Idk if that much femininity is worth it for a pink medal.
Ummmm….I think you better get your TI-86 back up to the front of the class, stat!
“completing this race in 1:54:02 to best their previous PR of 1:53:54”
🙂 But thanks for the update. Gives me some hope when I run the SW 1/2s next year. When do you get your actual corral assignments? Right when you pick up your bibs and other swag?
To my understanding you have to submit time with registration and (at least for the HM) then show proof of past race time. With the 5k we just did we put a time down at registration but there was no proof required. Not sure about the 10k. When I did the HM in 2015 I signed up with a non-profit group and registration was actually after the deadline to submit proof of past race times so I ended up waaaay in the back. They would not let me change corals at the expo despite showing them multiple past race times which were far off the coral time I was placed in.
Sorry… ETA…. I recall we knew in advance when we printed out out waiver forms and then checked the bib number with the coral assignments online. Coral assignments were all determined weeks prior to the race.
I was also disappointed the Coast to Coast didn’t change. However, in addition to the Pink Coast to Coast for Princess/Tink if you do both Star Wars races there is a “Kessel Run Challenge” medal that is pretty sweet. I plan to do 2 more races in California just to “complete the set” but that’s about it.