On Mother’s Day this year, mom and I ran the Tinkerbell Half Marathon at Disneyland Resort. This race is special to us, as the 2015 race was the first Half Marathon we trained for and completed!
The race started with the Expo. We arrived in Anaheim Saturday morning, so we went straight to the convention. The biggest thing I can recommend when going to the Expo is to go outside to the right of the hotel/convention center and go downstairs first so you can pick up your packet and any pre-ordered items. If you explore the expo first, you still have to go back outside and collect your packet and THEN go back upstairs and inside to get your shirt.
This was the first race that had paid workers instead of volunteers, and honestly I can’t say things went any smoother than the 2015 race. When we collected our bib, the worker actually gave us a wristband that we didn’t take a close look at… it ended up being a wristband saying we qualified for a Coast to Coast medal, which we did not! Needless to say, we removed the wristbands before the race.
Once we collected our bibs, we headed to our Air BNB for the trip, purchased groceries and then rested after a nice pasta dinner – but not before we laid out every item we would need for the race!
Sunday morning, we woke up at 3 to eat some breakfast, have some coffee and get dressed. The goal was to be out the door by 4, as we were staying off property. There was a little confusion about where to get dropped off, so we actually hopped out of the car at a stoplight and ended up right in line for bag check.
The line for security was extremely long at 4:15 am. Other security entrances had people get wanded, but all we had was a bag check, and neither of us had a bag so we were waived through. After security, we followed the HUGE crowd through the esplanade and into Downtown Disney.
The race was late to start, so eventually we had a rolling start (no gun between the corral in front of us and our start) and off we went!
I was actually pretty pleased with the amount of park time in this race. What I wasn’t pleased with was the amount of bottlenecking that happened during the race. While in the parks, people tend to run slower, stop suddenly for pictures, and walk more than 2 abreast. Our pace in the parks was over a minute and a half per mile over our pace the rest of the race.
PhotoPass photographers were EVERYWHERE. Unfortunately, this also caused crowding issues. Running through Sleeping Beauty Castle turned into walking through it, as everyone was stopping to get a photo just outside the front of it.
After getting out of the parks, the race is through Anaheim, which some people don’t enjoy, but I actually really like. I love the houses that seem to be preserved in time. I was disappointed in the lack of crowd support this year, compared to other years. In 2015, there were marching bands, choirs, dance groups, and cheerleaders (I actually stared crying when we passed the cheerleaders because I had never had cheerleaders cheering for me to finish something like that before!)
At mile 10, we heard the pace group for the 3:00 group coming up behind us, which was really odd because 1) we hadn’t passed them before then and 2) we were maintaining a solid 2:45 pace through the whole race. We picked up the pace when we heard them behind us and pushed through to get to the finish line!