Race you to the castle!
This is my new favorite saying and possibly my latest addiction considering I’ve already signed up for my next race. Disney races are incredible. Everything Disney World plus working out is the epitome of perfection. The Inaugural Star Wars 5K part of Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida was my first race ever, let alone my first Disney race. Let’s just say I did it backyards and will never be able to run a normal race. In this post I will cover the race itself.
Before this trip, I DIY’d my race outfit, personalized water bottles, personalized magic bands and attended Dapper Day. I will cover those and where we stayed at Disney in other posts, links at the bottom.
Prepping for My 1st RunDisney Race
Since I’d never run a race, I prepared using the Nike Run app. I have used this app for years, but never realized there was a coaching section for preparing for a race. I loved using this app.The app told me how far and what intervals to run each day. Honestly, I don’t think I could have prepared without it. It kept me motivated and I found myself running faster and farther than I could ever imagine before using it.
The RunDisney Experience Before You Arrive
Disney races are expensive. With that fee you get the Disney treatment. This is what ruined me and sucked me in for a lifetime. From the first moment I signed up for the race, Run Disney sent me emails and updates to prepare for the race. Emails included race information, schedules, maps and a run waiver. You can fill out the waiver in person at the expo, but it’s helpful for those people who like to be advance and organized.
Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend – Day 1
When I stepped on the plane it was Disney time. There were multiple people on my flight flying to run at Disney and tons of chatter of how excited everyone was. We took the magic express from the airport, one of the many perks of staying on site at Disney, to our hotel. After arriving at our hotel, Coronado Springs (follow link for my hotel review) we headed straight to the run expo at the Wild World of Sports.
The expo reminded me of a small convention. There were booths with sports gear, Star Wars characters to take photos with, tape to test on injuries and of course this is where you pick up your race packet. You get a bib, a t-shirt you will likely never wear, and a bag full of goodies for race day. The bag comes in huge handy on race day. You can check the bag with all the things you don’t want to run with, but want to have before and after. We went to Epcot for dinner that night and then attempted to go to bed early, since race day starts WAY too early.
Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend – 5K Race Day
If you stay on property expect to catch your bus by 4:30am. That’s only if you are running the 5K, the 10K and half have even earlier start times. The race morning we got up, got ready and got to the bus stop. At our bus stop there was a couple dressed as Leia and Luke, a BB8 and a Chewbacca, not to mention the costumes we saw when we got to the start location.
Star Wars 5K Race
At The Starting Point
Once we arrived at our start location it was like we walked off the bus and into another world. It was the dead of night, yet lit up like day. Music was going everywhere and you could hear the DJ from the bus. People were pouring out of each bus and walking towards the stage brought you closer and closer to the excitement. A stage was lit up with LED screens playing pop music and Star Wars movie clips. BB8 was interviewing people and the giant screen showed the whole set up. There were a number of characters to take photos with, Darth Vader, BB8 and Jabba the Hutt to name a few. The lines were as long and since we wanted to check out bags, stretch and people watch we opted out. There were so many amazing outfits to see.
Getting Into The Corrals
The DJ kept the momentum going and counted down until it was time to get to the corrals. This is the only part I hated. I was in D and my very fast friend had to move back to my corral in order for us to run together. Upon entering our corral, we were herded like cattle and anyone claustrophobic might want to try to prepare for this or stand in the very back. The good part is they had the music pumping and the giant screens showing clips of the movies until the very end.
When they called corral D all the sudden we were moving. I used to ride horses, so this literally reminded me of a cattle heard. People pushed down the line until all the sudden we stopped. I put on my headphones and tried to pay attention to my music until I heard the sound of a gun and saw fireworks. Sadly, the crowd did not start to run immediately as I had imagined. It was more like a walk, slow jog then dogging thousands of people until we got to a decent pace almost a mile in.
On The Course
Once on the course the nerves stopped and the fear of trampling a walker settled in. I was not expecting so many walkers. If you are going to run Disney “be prepared”, pun intended. We started towards the right where the stands were to see our friends in the crowd, like everyone else did. If you want to run stay to the left and you might have better luck. Before we hit mile one we passed our first photo stop. Much like before the race, we didn’t stop for the photo ops during the race, but I LOVED running past all the characters.
Right before mile one it was magic! There was a huge screen showing a portion of the movie, smoke and cheers from cast members. Disney knows how to make you feel like a million bucks. We entered Epcot and got into our groove. I don’t remember much for the next bit until we were running around the world. This was the section I was most excited for and it didn’t disappoint! While we did walk some during the race, the satisfaction of running around the world and around the golf ball globe will never leave my memory. Every character we ran past were more exciting than the last. Running past Chewbacca and a group of Storm Troopers were my favorite. At each mile there was smoke and clips of the movies.
After we ran around the globe we were shortly at mile three, all the walkers were gone and the end was in sight. Running the last half was the easiest and the fastest. All the sudden we could see the finish line and hear the cheers. The DJ was back, the smoke was rising and a countdown was in our faces. I looked over at my friend and we cheered as we crossed the finish line together. A 5K was nothing for her and everything to me, but we did it together. While you might love Star Wars, might love Disney or might just love a person that wants to do a race, a Disney race is magic. You can walk, you can run, you can finish and I did.
After the Race
As soon as you finish you get snacks, water and a power drink. The photos ops are at the finish too, so if you missed them at the start you can go get one then. The parks are also open. You can go get some breakfast, bask in the glory of running and start riding rides! Disney knows how to put on the show and when you run Disney you get to be part of it.
Check out my Walt Disney World For Adults post for ideas on what else to do during your race weekend at Disney World!
2017 Star Wars Half Marathon Dates
Star Wars Half Marathon – The Dark Side
Sunday, April 23, 2017
Star Wars 10K
Saturday, April 22, 2017
Star Wars 5K
Friday, April 21, 2017
runDisney Kids Races presented by GoGo squeeZ® Applesauce on the Go
Friday, April 21, 2017
Saturday, April 22, 2017
11:00 a.m. – Dashes
12:30 p.m. – 1-Mile Run
Head over to runDisney.com to register and find out more about all the runDisney races!
Check out my other posts on what I wore, where we stayed, and what else we did while at Disney!
Star Wars RunDisney Outfit
Walt Disney World For Adults
Disney Dapper Day Outfit – Minnie Mouse Inspired
Disney Princess Monogrammed Water Bottles