2014 Tinker Bell Half Marathon
Okay, whose idea was it to run the runDisney Inaugural Dopey Challenge and then #RunAlltheRaces the following weekend at Tinker Bell Half?!!! Wow, what a journey Perfect Goofy Gail and I were on – today was our 7th and last runDisney race in 11 days. Yes, we had run the previous week at Walt Disney World in Florida. We had run the 5K on Thursday, the 10K on Friday, the Half Marathon on Saturday and then the Full Marathon on Sunday. We then flew to Disneyland in California and had run the 5K on Friday, the 10K on Saturday and were running the Half Marathon on Sunday! Please note – this all sounded like a fabulous idea when we registered for these races 9 months earlier!
The alarm was set for 3:45am for a runner start of 5am. Please note that this is the EARLIEST start of any of the runDisney races. Thank goodness for us, we were staying at the Disneyland Hotel and only had to get dressed and walk our way to the start line – one street over from our hotel. Please note – when looking for accommodations, Disney’s Paradise Pier and Disney’s Grand California hotels are located a little closer.
Today we were running with Sweaty Bands Merle and met her at the start! The plan was to run 2 minutes and walk 30 seconds, but considering I just finished chemo on January 2nd and was a little tired from the previous races, we were going to play it by ear. Merle was a little hesitant running with us because she didn’t want to stop at all the character stops. We agreed to only stop for photos for characters we hadn’t seen on the Tinker Bell 5K and 10K race courses the days prior.
The Tinker Bell Half Marathon course begins running north on Disneyland Drive and turning right on Ball Road and then another right onto Harbor Blvd. Here we hit Mile Marker #1 and also ran into my coach, Jeff Galloway, and his wife, Barbara. There we turned into Disney California Adventure park. We stopped for a photo with the Incredibles and World of Color, but everything else was run, run, run through Disney California Adventure park!
Soon after Mile 3 we crossed over into Disneyland Park where we stopped at the gates for a quick photo. From there we ran up Main Street U.S.A. stopping to take a quick pic with the Wooden Indian. We passed Tinker Bell at the top of a float with Captain Hook and Smee. Then posed in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle before we bolted through it on our way into Fantasyland! Here we met some friendly pirates as we ran into Tomorrowland. Darth Vader was there with two storm troopers and although Merle didn’t want to stop, I insisted we stop for a photo!
From there we posed with Merida from Brave in front of It’s a Small World. Big Al from The Country Bear Jamboree was posing in front of The Golden Horseshoe Saloon. By mile 5.5 we were making our way out of Disneyland into Downtown Disney. At the right hand turn in from of the Disneyland Hotel was the largest group of Red Hat Ladies cheering us on to run – this a was highlight of my run!
A little after Mile 6 we were out on the streets of Anaheim. Since it was a holiday weekend and a Sunday morning, there were signs telling us to “Shhhhh! Neighbors are sleeping!” Miles 7-11 took us through a different course than the Disneyland Half Marathon, through Downtown Anaheim and its surrounding neighborhoods. The course was more picturesque, pleasant, and mostly flat. The miles flew by! Soon we were at Mile 12 and entering the back of Disney California Adventure for the last mile point one! It seemed it was taking forever to get to the finish, but soon we were there crossing the line! There at the Tinker Bell Half Marathon I earned my 40th runDisney medal to date and our 9th runDisney medal for 2014!
My Ranking of the runDisney Half Marathons:
- Disneyland Half Marathon – I’ve only run it 3 times, but it remains my favorite because it runs through both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure as well as Angel Stadium!
- Tinker Bell Half Marathon – A contender for the top spot! Just needed a little something, something to edge over the bonus run through Angel Stadium.
- Wine and Dine Half Marathon – Running through 3 Walt Disney World parks during a Half Marathon – plus an after-party afterwards makes this a do-over for me!
- Princess Half Marathon – 13 character stops with a girl’s weekend mentality equals a good time in my book!
- WDW Half Marathon – nothing beats Walt Disney World Marathon weekend, but this race gets overshadowed by Mickey’s Marathon equals Sloppy Seconds.