She is one with the course. The course is with her. That really seemed to be the theme for myself this past weekend as I ran two of the Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon Weekend races at Walt Disney World! If any of you remember my post from last week, I ran the 5K with my dad, who was running his very first runDisney race, and I did the 10K alone, which was my 12th runDisney race!
First off, the expo was a bit of an organized cluster, but it always is, at least when I get there. The expo is the thing I hate the most about any runDisney event, but it's a necessary evil because this is where you get your race bibs, t-shirts, and any other merchandise you want to purchase. For the Star Wars races you collected your bibs in one building of ESPN Wide World of Sports and if you were running the 5K or Half Marathon you got your t-shirt in the same building. If you were running the 10K or Challenge, you got your t-shirt in the building that the official race merchandise and outside vendors were set up in. This doesn't seem like it would be a pain, but if all you wanted to do was get your race tees, there were super long lines to get into the second building, while the bib pick-up building at no wait.
The 5K course was really fun, and very similar to the Princess Half Marathon Weekend 5K course that goes through Epcot. One of the things I loved most was that I got to run this race with my dad. My dad was the first person to introduce the world of Star Wars to me, and there is no one else I would rather experience those moments with. The pre-race staging area for the 5K was in the Epcot parking lot, and all of our Star Wars Dark Side friends were there, including Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, Captain Phasma, Jabba, Boba Fett, and our favorite light site droid BB-8! My dad and I got our photo taken with Darth Vader, because my rule of don't take pictures with characters you can meet in the parks while running, also applies to this pre-race area. My dad and I were in the last corral, and we ended up finishing really late, but it was super fun! I was dressed as Rey, and my dad wore his favorite Star Wars shirt.
The 10K course was not as fun, and was actually really challenging for a runDisney event. Many of the areas bottlenecked very quickly, and almost all of the first 3/4 of the race was on WDW highways. I didn't really enjoy this course, and I know as construction projects get done around Walt Disney World this course will most likely change again next year for future races. What I did love about the 10K besides dressing like Captain Phasma and getting my photo with her in the pre-race staging area, was all of the other Star Wars characters along the race course! Disney invited a few Star Wars fan groups to participate in character photo opportunities for runners. The people in these groups included members of the 501st Legion and other Orlando cosplay groups. While these Star Wars characters were not authentic to the Disney parks and were not Cast Members, they looked incredible and just like they fit in to the Star Wars realm! There were two major areas to meet these characters which included Sand Troopers, Jango Fett, Death Troopers, and members of the Emperor's Royal Guard! The first one was the entrance to the Hollywood Studios Amphitheater where Fantasmic! is performed each night, and the other is the Cast Member locker area at Epcot.
One of my favorite parts of this race was being able to meet so many of my Instagram friends in the parks! I love the Disney Instagram community, and I am constantly encouraged and pushed to be better and more creative because of them. It was such a joy to see so many of my friends at Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, and meet new friends at the race who recognized me from Instagram! If you all ever see me at the parks, please do not hesitate to come up and say hello! I love meeting new people!
Friends, if you are debating about ever running a runDisney event Star Wars Dark Side might be the race for you! Registration is coming up in the next month or so, and all of the information is available on the runDisney website. If you have questions about how to register or about runDisney in general feel free to leave a comment down below!
Be Magical Today!