May the 4th be with You
May the 4th be with You! Last month, I completed the runDisney Star Wars Dark Side Challenge at Walt Disney World. The event consisted of a 10K on Saturday and a half-marathon on Sunday. While not my favorite runDisney event due to lack of characters, the medals were legit and there was plenty of quality park time!
As is tradition, I signed up to get the New Balance shoes at the Expo. There have been some improvements in the process for buying "the shoes," including allowing runners to sign-up the night before the first day of the Expo. While I appreciate this benefit — a few years ago they were snatched up by scalpers — I wonder if demand has died down. We missed our pickup time by a few hours due to our flight and transportation and we were able to walk right up and purchase the shoes we wanted. Good news for us!
Merchandise was plentiful, even if the designs were a little safe. I bought a Stormtrooper running short, a pint glass, a pin and runDisney Vinylmation.
Another cool and unexpcted aspect to the Expo was the opportunity to meet BB-8! We waited about 45 minutes in line and it was well worth it. We also saw Stormtroopers patrolling around. Disney's PhotoPass service was in charge of taking the pictures all weekend, and it was a great change. Much more affordable and the photos are included with some Annual Passes.
After an early evening, we turned in at Animal Kingdom Lodge for our 3 AM wake up call! This was the earliest we've ever had to be up and on the bus for a race. It's also my least favorite part. It gives me anxiety. I much prefer evening races. The past few races, runDisney experienced some weather issues, so I understand the change. Kudos to The Mara at Animal Kingdom Lodge. For about $8, they were selling runner breakfast boxes that were conveniently packed with a bagel, peanut butter, a banana and a small bottle of water. We picked these up the night prior for breakfast. They must have been pretty popular as they seemed to sell out quickly. I appreciate the thoughtfulness for runners.
I wore a Darth Vader running shirt and my sister wore a Stormtrooper shirt. Our favorite costume was Kylo Ren as Eddie from the very funny SNL skit! People get really creative.
We made it to our corrals, did some stretching and before you knew it, we were off! The course took us through the back entrance to Epcot, around the exterior loop for Test Track and out through the United Kingdom.
R2D2 had a 15 minute wait, which put us behind. However, I don't remember seeing any other characters on the course that were worth waiting for. The 10K had much more entertainment than the half!
Running through the parks is one of the biggest benefits to a runDisney race. Hollywood Studios was lively, even though the course didn't pass Star Tours. The second half of the race was all highway and Wide World of Sports.
Safety was a concern during some parts of the course – it was quite narrow and lots of walkers stretched out three or four wide. Courtesy, please!
The medals and snack box never disappoint! I made a list of the snacks and have purchased some of them at home.
Overall, I enjoyed the race, even with the minor gripes noted above. I hope to legacy this race, so I'll be signing up next year! Later, I'll have a look at the longer race, the Dark Side Half Marathon. Stay tuned!