On Sunday, September 6th, I ran the Disneyland Half Marathon. It was an amazing experience and I wanted to share the recap with you!
We were staying at the Howard Johnson hotel, which was about a 10-15 minute walk to Disneyland. I got up at 4, left the room around 4:15, and was in my corral probably between 4:45-5:00. This was a lot nicer than races at Disney World, where we are there are early as 3:30/4:00! A lot less waiting going on. I also saw lots of neat costumes – my favorite one was a woman dressed up as Mr. Toad, complete with a toad car! She had a bunch of bumper stickers on the back of the car, including one with her instagram (@GoodThoughtsNic) so go check her out to see more cool costumes!
I was in corral C, and we started the race at 5:48. It wasn’t long before we were off!
And shortly after that, only about a mile in, we were entering one of the parks. We came into California Adventure through Carsland, where I got a photo with Lightning McQueen. There were some of the floats from the Pixar parade out that you could get pictures with. Then it was in and around Paradise Pier, where they had some of the fountains from World of Color working and lit up! We made our way out of California Adventure and across the way to Disneyland. I saw my husband cheering me on from there!
Once we got into Disneyland there was so much to look at. This is also where basically all of the characters were. It was odd to me that they were all within about two miles, whereas Disney World has them spread out and you see one character spot every mile or so. They were all hero and villain pairings – I ran by Pinocchio and Honest John, Aladdin and Jafar, Tiana and Dr. Facilier, Alice and the Queen of Hearts, Captain Hook and Peter Pan, and Cinderella with Lady Tremaine. Someone told me afterwards that Esmeralda and Frollo were out but I didn’t see them – I’m pretty devastated about this, I have no idea where they could have been 🙁
At around mile 4 it was out on the streets of Anaheim – and while the official Disneyland entertainment was no longer, there was no shortage of things to keep our interest! Lots of local talent came out, including school bands and cheerleaders, dancers of all sorts including flamenco dancers and hula dancers, and two miles of really cool looking old cars parked on the side of the road.
Between miles 9 and 10 we got to run through Angels Stadium, which was a really cool experience. There were spectators here as well, and to see people in the stands cheering for us as we ran around the baseball stadium was a great motivator.
Once we were out the last 5k was back to Disneyland, and I have to admit that this was the toughest part. Not only was I tired and ready to be done, there was also very little entertainment to distract me. It was mostly backstage so the Anaheim entertainment was gone, but we weren’t in the parks or seeing any characters either. Luckily I saw my husband cheering right around mile 13, and was finished shortly after that!
My finish time for this race was better than I ever could have imagined. for the Princess Half Marathon in February, my first half, I finished in 2 hours and 45 minutes, with a pace of 12:35 min/mile. My training runs hadn’t been as good as that, so I was hoping to just keep around the same pace as Princess. But I was feeling incredible for this race and ended up finishing in 2 hours and 31 minutes, with an 11:31 min/mile pace! I seriously am not sure how I did it. I came in 4,640th place out of over 15,000 finishers! I am super proud and happy about this and not sure I can replicate it for any future half marathons, haha.
I received my medal, a bottle of water, and a snack box, as well as my special Coast to Coast medal. This I got for completing a half marathon at Disney World and Disneyland in the same calendar year. I’m really proud of this one!
The race was a wonderful experience and I’m so glad I got to do it and run through Disneyland!
Have you done any Disney races? Which one has been your favorite?