Race Report: 2015 runDisney Inaugural Star Wars 5K
Early registration for Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members for the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend will open on Tuesday, June 2, 2015 EST. General registration for the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend will open June 16, 2015.
When Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope was released in the theaters the summer of 1977, I was 6-year old. We grew up with Star Wars, the action figures and a special love for the characters (especially Han Solo). So when runDisney announced a Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend, I lost my mind. There was no way I was going to miss the weekend.
Unfortunately, runDisney scheduled the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend the weekend following Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, moving the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend to Mother’s Day weekend. Plus runDisney scheduled the Inaugural Castaway Cay Challenge 5K Disney Cruise Line cruise overlapping Star Wars Half Marathon’s expo and the Star Wars 5K. No bueno runDisney. No bueno for us runners who #RunAllTherunDisneyRaces. Which to choose – Castaway Cay 5K or Star Wars 5K. I decided to forgo the Castaway Cay Challenge 5K (until Princess) and run the Star Wars 5K. I chose wisely.
One thing I enjoy about the runDisneyland compared to the runDisney World races are the course are all slightly varied. This adds to the excitement of the race weekends. The Star Wars 5K’s start was 5:30am and located on Disneyland Drive, near Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. Perfectly Goofy Gail, #TinyTiki and I were staying at the Holiday Inn on South Walnut. Although we weren’t officially on Disney property, the walk was less than a mile to the corrals.
The fun began immediately upon seeing runner’s costumes. The Star Wars theme brought out the creativity. There were Leia’s, Millennium Falcons, Jedi’s. Perfectly Goofy Gail and I were running as a X-Wing fighter and a TIE-fighter. The race began going north up Disneyland Drive until turning right into the backstage area of Disneyland Park. Our first character stop as we entered Mickey’s Toontown was some Jedi’s.
From there we saw Stormtroopers near It’s a Small World, but were instructed not to stop from the race staff. The course continued around Fantasyland and Big Thunder Railroad past Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. To the left of the Matterhorn we found Chewbacca with a line so long it reached until the teacups – wait for Chewie we would.
In Tomorrowland we found Darth Vader with a set of Stormtroopers, but the line was closed for photos. Main Street U.S.A. was clear and we found a Cast member willing to snap a photo with the Wooden Indian. Out through the Disneyland Park gates we ran and down through the tunnel into Disney’s California Adventure until we came to more Jedi and Star Wars Rebels. The lines were long, but the runners did not mind.My only disappointment in the race was the lack of enough Star Wars characters or even Disney characters in Star Wars inspired costumes. As with the Avengers Half Marathon weekend, runDisney needs to address the character line closures and the negative effect it has for their customer experience, especially when the 5K race entry fee is $75.
I had registered my family of four for the Star Wars 5K at $75 per person or $300 (not including Active.com fees). My family did not end up running and our fees were nonrefundable, but for $300, which does not include T&E or park admission a runner should have the complete guest experience. And runDisney’s answer cannot be to push guests to a Star Wars Wookiee Welcome Party which begins at 9:30pm and runs for 2 hours and has a cost of $100 per person. A family of 4 cannot afford this experience. Other than that, I thought it was a great first attempt for the Inaugural Star Wars 5K race and cannot wait to run it again with my family & Perfectly Goofy Gail.
Did you run the Inaugural Star Wars 5K? Are you running again in 2016?