Another early morning start for SK2 and I as we got up and dressed for the Inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon. Up again at 3am, and feeling a little tired from the 10K and day of walking around the parks. I was personally feeling a little apprehensive about the race. My training for the run was practically nonexistent over the last 6 weeks and although I was going in to the run for fun, not time, I was still feeling a little nervous. If anything, I knew I would look great if I got swept! My Darth Souzapalooza costume rocked!
I felt a surge of confidence when I saw Lord Vader watching over the crowds
Since we had to walk past the 13 mile marker on our way to the corrals, we took the opportunity to get a photo. All the mile markers on the half course were the same unlike the 10K course, which had different backdrops, as you saw my 10K recap yesterday.
As we were walking to the corrals we ran in to our friend Nicole looking better than Carrie Fisher circa 1982, rocking the Slave Leia costume! She looked absolutely amazing all race weekend, when we had the pleasure of running in to her and her wonderful mom, Katy. We saw her walking around Downtown Disney on Expo day as Leia (white dress and hair buns), she ran as a Wampa for the 5K and as Padme in her fireside gown for the 10K! I have no idea how she was able to breathe, let alone run, in that form-fitting gown! Incidentally, those rock hard abs came from a gluten-free diet, unlimited burpees and Neila Rey workouts! She has given me so much motivation to get back to those Neila Rey workouts!
Of course it wasn’t time to worry about my abs. I was in Corral C to start the race with SK2 and it was now time to focus on the task at hand. What was that?
And we were on our way to running 13.1 miles in Disneyland, California Adventure, and the streets of Anaheim California! For the half marathon course, you don’t hit the public parts of the park until mile 2 where we again ran up main street, towards the castle and made a right in to Frontierland. Instead of Chewie in front of the Mark Twain Riverboat, Luke and Leia were on course to take pictures with the rebel alliance running the race. We didn’t stop for a photo with them. We made out way towards Fantasyland where Stormtroopers were guarding the carousel this time. Although this was not a photo stop, and the RunDisney people did not want us stopping for them, I did shoot a photo.
I have to say, if there is any advice I can give the people of RunDisney, it is this…IF YOU DON’T WANT US TO TAKE A PHOTO, DON’T PUT IT ON THE COURSE! There were a few places where Disney staff was telling us that we could not take photos and were yelling at runners to put their phones away. If there are things you don’t want us to photograph, you should not have it out. Just my two cents, but I digress and will get back to the race now.
As we weaved our way through Disneyland, we spotted Chewie and Darth Vader again. They once again, they both had insane photo lines. As much as I wanted to have my picture taken with Vader, I just couldn’t rationalize waiting on a line, so we did a run by shooting, and headed out of Disneyland toward California Adventure via the tunnel radiating the sounds of Darth Vader’s robotic breath. As we entered California Adventure, we were greeted by a gaggle of Jedi trying to lead us to the light side.
Of course I had to stop and take a photo with the Red Car Trolley for my sister Ka-Ka who is a true trolley enthusiast!
As we made our way through Hollywoodland, where I spotted a line for another unique character, a Gamorrean Guard! Not someone you see everyday, even in Disney!
More importantly, while SK2 and I decided if we should jump on line or not, I spotted a bigger celebrity! Greg from Why I Run Disney! I was so excited to run in to him. It is always a great pleasure to meet fellow bloggers in real life and since I have been following him for a while, especially regarding all the Star Wars Race Info he had been sharing, I was super excited! I ran up to him like a crazy person and told him who I was and we did a quick line selfie!
After our brief blogger encounter, SK2 and I headed towards Paradise Pier again and spotted Mace Windu and some of his apprentices before we headed back stage.
We headed backstage and SK2 and I realized that the sun was starting to rise and break through the clouds that had showed up when the race started. The sight was spectacular!
However, that sunrise couldn’t compare to the sight that we were all blessed to see when we entered Radiator Springs. Sometimes, being a slower runner has its perks!
This was our last piece of Disney magic, because in a few minutes we would leave California Adventure and hit the streets of Anaheim. This is where Disneyland races have a disadvantage. Disneyworld owns most of its surrounding property, so they can set up lots of entertainment on the roads, Unfortunately, this is not the case with Disneyland. However, there were a great deal of bands and cheer squads from surrounding high schools and colleges out on this part of the course playing songs and cheering for all us runners huffing and puffing our way down Harbor Blvd. We did stop for “Free Hugs” from the random Wookie to help us push on to the half way point
As we passed Mile 7, SK2 and I ran past Chris Powell and his Extreme Weight Loss contestant who was feeling good after 7 miles of running! Unfortunately, I can not show you her picture, so I will show you a photo of SK2 and Chris again (which I used in my expo recap, which you should also read!)
As we pushed on, I could feel that SK2 and I were both starting to slow down. We really needed something to give us a little boost. It was about then when we came across some Cosplayers who reminded us to use the force!
We pushed on to mile 8 where kind strangers were giving out red vines and there was a tauntaun rider guiding us in the right direction
I really love that people like these come out to help runners get through the races. It really means a lot to us, and behalf of all runners I’d like to say thanks for showing up!
The best part of the race, for me at least, was at Mile 9. SK2 and I were running and saw a large crowd forming towards the right of the race course. What was going on? Water stop? Some one hurt? What couldn’t I see? What was forming this crowd? And then I saw it and made a mad dash in that direction…. PHOTO-OPS!
The 501st Legion, a group of fans dedicated to screen accurate replicas of Star Wars villains were on course and were taking photos with all the runners! Per Wikipedia “Legion members make appearances at casual, promotional, and charitable events, often at the request of Lucasfilm’s Fan Events department. Although not officially affiliated with the Walt Disney Company or Lucasfilm LLC., the 501st Legion is Lucasfilm’s preferred Imperial costuming organization.” These guys were no joke, and I was gushing geek with a cheesy grin for all of them!
This amazing display by dedicated fans to this amazing film franchise really made the race for me and I can’t thank them enough for getting up early and standing on course to make this experience our of this world!
Some how, maybe from the high of the 501st Legion photos, SK2 and I made it back up Harbor Blvd, down Katella Ave (which we walked every morning while staying at the Hilton Anaheim – Thanks LH for hooking us up with a great hotel!) and past that 13 mile marker we took pictures with oh so long ago to cross the finish line in 3:05! A slow half for both of us, but again when you factor in all the photo stops (and one potty stop…I had to pee!), we did great!