Last April, Laura coerced me into registering for the Inaugural Tinker Bell Half Marathon. Okay, so she didn’t have to do that much coercing. I just needed an excuse to sign up for a race on the other side of the country.
I have to admit, I was a little worried about this race. Not about my training – in fact, I was excited to have a January race to force me to train during the holidays. I was worried about the fact that it was an inaugural race. I love runDisney. I love Disney in general. But I was nervous. The inaugural Wine & Dine Half had a number of issues (that runDisney quickly corrected for the second year of the race – thank you runDisney!) and this past fall, the corrals for the Disneyland Half Marathon were a bit of a disaster. A small issue to be sure, but if that’s what happens at an established race, what was going to happen at a new race?
Being a women’s race, they had plenty of merchandise, though the Dooney & Burke purses apparently flew off the shelves. Not a concern to me – I didn’t want one. But a bummer for others, I suppose. Something else new they did for this race (and for Princess as well) is that they offered a commemorative necklace for purchase at the time of registration. It was around $20, I believe, and I ordered one sight unseen because I figured I would rather waste $20 than later regret not spending the money. The necklace is very simple – silver chain with two silver charms. The circular charm is stamped with the logo of the race, and the other charm features Tink’s wings. It’s pretty and I think the charms would be very pretty if put onto a running charm bracelet.
Now, onto the race itself. This race was absolutely amazing from start to finish. The corrals were incredibly well organized, with giant lighted letters at the back of the corrals and signs clearly pointing you where to go. Definitely an improvement over the Disneyland Half.
I ran this race with Jenny, and we went with a 1:1 run/walk pattern because she’s still recovering from her AWESOME finish at the Walt Disney World Marathon a few weeks ago and because we were both a little tired from all the walking we did around the parks. It’s a new pattern to me, and I think I liked it – it’s hard to say when dealing with legs that are already tired.
The announcers did a great job of keeping us entertained in the corrals, and they had a number of interviews, including the adorable Megyn Price and Sean Astin, who was talking about his #run3rd campaign – run first for yourself, second for your family, and third for someone important to you, someone struggling with something or who needs the extra thoughts. It was very cool to see another celebrity runner out there to just have fun.
One notable figure missing from this event – Tinker Bell herself! Of course, she was on the screen in animated form, but never seen elsewhere. Kind of surprising, but I guess it would have been hard to have her featured.
I loved this race course. It was so much better than the Disneyland Half. We started out in Disneyland (you can’t beat running down Main Street towards the Castle), ran through Downtown Disney, spent some time on the streets of Anaheim, then back to California Adventure. runDisney did a great job of having characters on the course in Disneyland (the Lost Boys on the Carousel were precious!) and the crowds in Downtown Disney were fabulous. So many people cheering! And then, I can’t not mention the Red Hat Society ladies. Their group stretched for what felt like a quarter of a mile! It was incredible! Jenny and I were both in awe of how many of them were there.
I liked running through the streets of Anaheim. There were people out on their front porches waving at the runners and probably wondering why there were so many cross-dressing men running through the streets. It was much more fun than boring industrial Anaheim.
The finish area of the race was crowded, but not too terribly bad. Clearly, everyone wanted finisher’s pics, which always holds up the line.
And the medal. How can I forget the medal? It’s absolutely gorgeous and Tink spins! I found myself playing with it the rest of the day. The only bad thing about Disney medals is the fact that they are SO HEAVY to wear the rest of the day. I know, I know, first world problems.
I’m probably not going to be able to pull off running this race next year as they intend to move it to MLK weekend, making it back to back with Marathon weekend, which I would like to participate in next year. But if you’re considering it, I highly recommend it. It’s an awesome event.