Wednesday, January 24, 2024

2024 Disneyland Half Marathon - 2024/01/14

Good morning! After a 7 year hiatus, it is once again time for the Disneyland Half Marathon! Unlike all the previous years where the race was in September, for their first year back in 2024, they are holding the race during the second week of January! Just 1 week after the runDisney races in Florida at Walt Disney World! 

Fair warning, this one is a really long one with lots of pictures. 

Normally I'd try to have a costume lined for up the race. Since we're full-time RVers now, coming from Florida, I don't have my usual selection of hats and clothes. But... we did just celebrate Christmas and I haven't sent any of those clothes back to storage. Why not dress as Santa? The tropical flamingo shorts are because Santa is on vacation now. 

The Disneyland races all start super early in the morning. Since you're running through the parks, the organizers needs you out before the other guests arrive for the day. 
At 5am, I was lined up in my starting corral along with my friends Judy, Angela, and Ashley, while we all waited to start. 
At 5:05am, everyone listened to a beautiful singing of the National Anthem. Unlike some of the previous years, there were no fireworks to accompany it. 

The wheelchair racers were the first to be released, and then the countdown started for all the Elites in Corral A. Only about 10 minutes late from the starting time runDisney originally said. 
Good luck! Have a good race! 

After the A Corral was released, 5 minutes later the B Corral started. Everyone in C Corral shuffled their way to the starting line. 

We were giving the all clear and off we go! As we shuffled up to the starting line, the race announcers were cheering everyone on. I got a shoutout! "Is that Santa?!? I know him!" (in the style of Buddy the Elf from the movie Elf)

What does our course look like today? Pretty typical for the Disneyland Half Marathon. The first mile or so is outside the parks, the next 4 are winding all through the parks, and the remaining miles are long stretches down the streets of Anaheim. Sometimes there are interesting features, but it's mostly empty out there. 

I never heard an official count for how many people are signed up for this $235 half marathon. In the past it's been somewhere in the neighborhood of 15,000 people. 
The first mile was a combination of walking, jogging, and trying to dodge people! It's always like this until we really start to spread out. 
The minimum pace time for this race is a 16 minute mile, which you can usually maintain with a fast walk. That equates to a 3 hour and 30 minute finish time. BUT, that minimum pace only begins when the last person crosses the starting line. If you're in a higher corral, and you could have 25-30 more minutes to finish! 

As we go back stage for the first time, we get our first look at some of the different things runDisney has brought out for visual interest on the course. It's some of the Halloween Parade floats from the Nightmare Before Christmas! There's the Mayor of Halloweentown! 

A line is forming to take a picture, so I will mostly be taking advantage of just posing off to the side and getting a selfie. 

Not much further down the road is a DJ, spinning tunes from the Haunted Mansion parade float. 

This giant statue was originally featured in A Bug's Land, outside the It's Tough To Be A Bug theater, before the whole area was reimagined as the Avengers campus. I'm glad to see it's still around, 

Look your best people. We're on stage! Out to the Avengers section of Hollywoodland and the Guardians of the Galaxy. I would have loved to see some of the Guardians here to take pictures with, but nothing today. 

Coming around the corner though near Monsters Inc, the stage holds the adorable Dumbo! 
Dumbo is a big deal for many of these racers. While you can sign up for the Half Marathon ($235) or the 10k ($149) that was held the day before, for $389 you can sign up for the Dumbo Double Dare and do both! If you complete it, you get a bonus medal! So many people in costumes today are dressed as Dumbo so he's a very popular character to get a picture with. 

The official line was very backed up. So many people wanting to get a photo. I got an over the shoulder shot and timed it well enough to not have anyone else in the picture. 
As I was leaving, I heard a cast member telling people "the line to see Dumbo is closed!" Really? I know it's long, but you can't make that choice for yourself? 
As I would later find out on Facebook, there's a reason the line was being closed. Dumbo needs to go on break! Um... the race just started and I'm in Corral C. Corrals go all the way to G, so there's a whole bunch of people behind me. One person shared that they decided to wait for Dumbo to come back from break. 30 minutes later!!! They were only 2 minutes ahead of the final starters at that point. What poor timing for a character to have to go on break and miss 2/3rd of all the runners! Anyway, moving on. 

Rounding the corner, the Animation Academy marquee is cheering on all the Half Marathon participants. 

Mile 2 completed. My starting time was about 10 minutes behind the official starting time, so 2 miles in 20 minutes, along with character pictures. Not too bad. 

Some of the Disney cheer squad rooting us on. 

Both Mater and Lightning McQueen are out! What a beautiful background, especially in the darkness of the morning. The line to see them though stretched all the way up the street. No time to stop! Just a picture of the shoulder and off we go. 

Throughout the course, photopass photographers are positioned. Put on your best smile and don't look like you're dying! 

Time to run by Pixar Pier! There's this side with Mickey's Fun Wheel. Normally they'd have the World of Color fountains running, but not today. 

And this side! Looking at the new San Fransokyo! Beautiful! 

With no one waiting, I grab a photo with Mr Potato Head. 

Aww, Sadness at a Disney race. Looking at other photos, I see Joy was out here too. Should I stop for a photo? 

Nope! The end of the line stretches all the way under the Incredicoaster. Nice to have these cast members with their "End of the Line" signs, just so there's no guessing. 

Instead, I'll take a selfie with Fear from the Inside Out Emotional Whirlwind. 

I found Ariel! 

Running towards Redwood Creek, Chip and Dale were out, but cast members were telling us that no stopping for pictures was allowed. 

Settling for a high five and a run-by selfie instead. 

Exiting California Adventure by Soarin, we're headed over to Disneyland! Being in Corral C and keeping a pretty good pace, I didn't have any issues at Mile 3. I was one of the lucky ones though. In this narrow area, approaching a water stop, for many in the later corrals, things came to a standstill. Literally! Not my video, but wow. 

One of these time I'll get to run across our stone paver, but that's not this day. Spectators were cheering everyone on. 

No one taking pictures at the floral Mickey in front of the railroad? Might as well take one myself. 

We're running down Main Street! Watch out for those trolley tracks! 

Picture by the Partners statue and the castle! Absolutely! I took one for another runner, then they took one for me. 

Time to run through Tomorrowland! 
Donald and Daisy are here! 

But that line is not very encouraging (detecting a theme yet?). Sorry ducks. Not today. 

Here's a Dumbo that's not going anywhere! 

A prime location for taking a photo. I tried to pull it out, but today I'm not worthy. Shame. 

Everyone hopes for a good castle photo. Photopass photographers are lined up, snapping away as you run through it. I'm happy with mine this year. 

And not knowing at the time if I got a good photo or not, I hopped to the side to take my own photo with the castle. 

Running through Frontierland, I looked up at the Golden Horseshoe, hoping to see some characters on the balcony. No luck. 
But continuing into New Orleans Square, I see Pirate Goofy and Pirate Pluto! 

Lots of people on the side trying to get selfies with them. A buccaneer was cheering loudly for all of us. 

Mile 4 completed as we leave Critter Country and head to Star Wars Land. 

Look sir! Droids!
Just before this Chewbacca and Rey were cheering for everyone from atop one of the structures. I was on the wrong side of the walkway and a little late to get a picture. 

All these structures look so much cooler when it's dark. 

Another backstage area as we continue our run. They had speakers playing Disney music all throughout the park, but I swear it was just 3 songs on a loop. I must have heard the Tiki Room song 3 different times at least. 

A cast member was nearby this parade float, but wasn't aloud to take photos. Apparently just there to make sure people don't climb on the float. Another runner and I took each other's pictures here. 

Many areas backstage had cast members warning people about upcoming hazards. "Bump up ahead" or "Watch your step" as we were running through. Despite that, unfortunately, a few people took tumbles. 

Everyone exited backstage into Toontown! What's the big line for? 


I haven't been to this coast's version of Runaway Railway. 

And then begins the slog. Lots of miles to go, and not a whole lot to see as we run through the streets of Anaheim. This hill at Ball Road as we go over the 5 freeway is the first real change in elevation that we've had on the course. 

Ten minutes later, we're at Mile 6. 

Aww, I remember this corner from past races. There used to be Mexican singers and dancers here, dressed in beautiful costumes. Not this year. Also no Hula dancers at other parts of the course. 

Along the way, we crossed over a few sets of railroad tracks. The warning lights and bells were going off continually on this one. Myself and many other runners slowed down, looking both directions, as we crossed over. Always things to watch out for. 
And speaking of things to watch out for, these road reflectors are a constant nuisance. An older runner in front of me went down on one, and many of us stopped to help. He tried to get up a little too quickly, and I caught him as he was going back down again. More embarrassed than anything I think, he got up more slowly, assured us he was fine, and we all started running again. 

Another elevation change as we go under a set of railroad tracks. Since I actually trained this year, I didn't mind the minor hills. I have worse than this during my training runs, so I was able to keep my pace. 

And there's mile 7. 

Hey it's Team Mouseplanet! Parked in their usual location outside the lumber store giving out free Red Vines! It's always good to take candy from strangers, right? 

Scattered around the course were DJs and High School Bands playing music and cheering us on. 

Star Wars! Yes, bring back the Star Wars races! During those races, Disney had a few characters along the course, but it was the 501st Legion that went crazy and had dozens and dozens of characters cheering for everyone!

Mile 8 and just 5ish miles to go. 

I sent a thank you message to Theresa and the kids for winning the Sport Beans Jelly Belly beans. They give that little boost of sugar energy on the course. 

Mile 9 and we're running beside the Anaheim Duck Pond! In past years we would run around the parking lot on the back side of it, but not really see much. 

This year though there's giant inflatable hockey players out front! 

And the official mascot of the Anaheim Ducks, Wild Wing, is out front taking pictures with runners! 

Is this Wildwing Flashblade, the leader of Disney's The Mighty Ducks: The Animated Series

The quote I remember from The Mighty Ducks is "Ducks Fly Together". I recognized "Time to Fly" from the movie Hook. 

Leaving the Duck Pond, the sun is just starting to peek over the Santa Ana River. 

That means we're getting close to Mile 10! 

In previous years, it was a thrill to run beside the giant A of Angels stadium, having Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts cheering. Afterwards, you'd run into Angels stadium and get to run along the warning track on the actual field while a camera projected your face on the Jumbotron! 

This year though, we're not getting close to it. It's a wide lap around the parking lot as we track off the miles to make up 13.1. 

Hey I was wondering if these guys would be here this year! 
Normally the Classic Cars are parked along the road before you get to the Duck Pond. This year, they've lined up in the Angels parking lot. 

From the Cars franchise, it's Brett Mustangburger. 

And this Mickey Mouseketeer Club car. No Deloreans unfortunately. 

Mile 11 and we're still running around this parking lot! 

Thank you for visiting! 

Mile 12! It won't be long now! 

Not too far from the Finish Line, many of the people I met at the Legacy Runners Event yesterday (spouses I think) have this Up display set up! Looks great! Almost there!

These bands giving everyone a little boost along the way! Appreciate you coming out! 

Mile 13! It won't be long now! 

There's the finish line! I put away my phone and posed for the cameras. I even got another callout from the race announcers! 

Success! Year 13 in the books! I don't remember all my previous years finish times, but this one I finished in 2:25:56. I think that's a bit faster than usual because I barely stopped for characters. 

Accepting my finishers medal. Oddly they're not awarding it to you and hanging it around your neck. Each medal is in a little plastic baggie and they hand it to you. One of the volunteers did offer to take my picture though with the finish line in the background. 
"Oh! You're a Legacy Runner! You get your medal over there!" Ah, okay, I was hoping we'd get something special. 

Collecting my thermal blanket along the way. It was very welcome. It's warmed up a little since the sun came out, but I'm sweaty and it's still cold. 

Here we go! Legacy Runners medals! 

Having completed now all 13 Disneyland Half Marathons, we get a special lanyard to go with our finishers medal. 

13.1 Magical Miles

A few close-ups. 

And the closeup of this year's medal. Minnie and Minnie are in their race gear and running in front of the castle. 

Which matches well with the runner's bibs we got. Mine was a different color and says Legacy on it. 

Minnie and Mickey are supported by springs, so they pop out just a little. 

Here's the race boxes the kids were looking forward to yesterday. 

Instead of just a banana, I got a banana, Skittles, fruit snacks, cheese crackers, chips, and the cheese that has gathered a cult following in the runDisney community. 

After the finish line, runners are meeting up with their family and friends. I was super impressed by Jack Sparrow. That's a Corral A runner who ran in that costume! I asked him if he ran the whole race in costumes. In his awesome Jack Sparrow voice he said "Is there any other way mate?" Good for you man!
Looks like running in costume is his thing. I found a clip of him being interviewed after the Walt Disney World race in Florida! His best advice for running? Get a bit of rum into your system and it'll all go better for you. 
Check him out at JoggingJackSparrow on TikTok

Well I've finished, but there's a lot more people still to come. I've got friends to try to watch and cheer for. Unfortunately I don't know what any of them are wearing since everyone was bundled up this morning. 
But if you had a cool costume, or an obscure Disney character outfit, you can bet I yelled extra loud for you. Like this full-on Crush Costume! 

And Hercules! I saw a few Hades runners (my backup outfit option), Darkwing Duck, Powerline (from A Goofy Movie), Robin Hood, Lady and the Tramp, Kuzco, Kronk, and Yzma, and so many more. 
One costume I noticed looked like a Disney Prince, but his head was wrapped in bandages and "blood" was dripping down onto his shirt. As he got closer, me and many of the other people cheering realized that wasn't a costume. This guy must have gone down hard, had a head wound, and refused to quit. Yikes! Another woman we saw running looked to be wearing a facemask made of bandages having also gone down. Yikes! I know there's a few tripping hazards on this course. 

Well there's one person I do know. And she's very easy to see because she's dressed in all bright pink. Almost there Ariel! 

I somehow missed my other friends running through. By 9:26am, the last of the runners were finishing and the Balloon Ladies (who signify the official 3:30 mark) crossed the line. That's it! The 2024 Disneyland Half Marathon is over! 11186 official finishers. 3570 men and 7616 women. 
Peter Banks, from Nevada, was the fastest man, finishing in 1:15:02. Jennifer Masamitsu from Colorado was the women's champion at 1:23:38. 
As they were closing up the course and cleaning up the finish line, the DJ played the Mouseketeer Goodbye Song. 

As far as my overall impressions of the race this year, I have a few thoughts. First, I'm happy to have it back. It's nice to be able to continue the tradition. Having a goal to work for each year helps keep me in shape and running, even if I'm not always feeling like it. 
Next, the race is expensive. It's always been expensive and since it sells out within hours, I don't see that changing any time soon. It's only going to keep going up. 
The water stops and race support have always been plenteous. 8 different water/powerade station, 4 medical tents along the course plus roaming bicycles works for me. 
The disappointing thing to me though is the number of characters that were out. For example, in 2017 (the last year they held it) there were 14 different characters to stop and take pictures with.  Not counting parade floats (because there's always parade floats), there were 7 character stops. Dumbo, Lightning/Mater, Sadness, Donald/Daisy, Goofy/Pluto, Chewbacca/Rey, and Pete. Chip/Dale would have made 8, but you couldn't stop for them.  

After the race, I met up again with all my friends. Congratulations Ariel on your first half marathon! 

Andrew! Crushing it with the Dumbo Double Dare this weekend! 

And Judy! You're a Dumbo Double Dare Legacy Runner! Congratulations! 

And Angela and Ashley! Great job finishing the 5k, 10k, and Half Marathon all this weekend! And earning your Coast to Coast medal too! Angela ran a Dopey (5k, 10k, half marathon, full marathon) just last weekend at Disney World! And Ashley did the 5k, 10k, and half marathon! Hardcore runners right there! 
It was great to see everyone! I hope you have a great rest of your weekend! Time for me to walk the 1.7 miles back to the hotel. 

Unfortunately it wasn't all rainbows and puppy dogs back at the hotel. Alli seems to have picked up a stomach bug and hasn't been able to keep anything down all night. Theresa was up early with her. I stopped by the CVS on my walk home to get her some medicine. 
After stopping by the room, Ian and I went down to breakfast, since it's still morning. 

He wanted to try the nutella stuffed french toast for breakfast. It looks good, but he was stuffed after one piece. 
Our original plans were to head back to Redondo Beach and meet up with Ian and Alli's old school friends. With Alli not feeling well though, that's not going to happen. 

Instead we went straight to the hotel, napped, and watched TV the rest of the day. I ran out to get food from our favorite Pakistani restaurant. Still as good as ever, and I wish I could recreate it at home

The next day, Monday, was also supposed to be a day of hanging out with friends. Uncle Ruston was going meet up with us for lunch, then we'd hang out with another school friend that evening. But Alli being sick meant that wasn't going to happen either. Instead, Ian and I ran out to 85C to grab a bunch of bread, for both us, and friends back home in Florida. 

And we can't leave California without stopping by our favorite Korean restaurant, the Old Time Noodle House. Even though it's been months, as soon as we walked in the door, the owner recognized us! She asked about Alli and Theresa and was sad to hear that she wasn't feeling good. She even brought out the Christmas card we'd sent her to show us that she still had it! 
My favorite thing here is the spicy pork. Ian's is the friend wontons, but you can't just eat wontons. We split a bowl of dumpling ramen. That plus all the side dishes, and it's way too much food. 

But that didn't stop them from bringing out another plate of my favorite japchae. It's so good. 

I tried to order rice (something bland for Alli), and radish kimchi for Theresa (one of her favorites here) since she couldn't come, but she refused to charge me for them. She's so nice to us. No wonder we love coming back here all the time. 

And before we went out the door, she put together a goody bag for Ian to take on the plane. Snacks and candies (which will be in an upcoming taste test), plus she wanted to show us some of her hobbies. When she's done working here, she goes home and does knitting! All of these are handmade by her as dish scrubbing brushes. That's seriously impressive! Especially the Korean Hanbok. 

Well, early the next morning, we dropped off the rental car and headed to the airport. Alli is back there somewhere, still not feeling well. 
Our flight goes from Los Angeles to New Orleans, but luckily we don't have to get off the plane. It's a quick hop from there over to Orlando. Luckily this time there was no excitement to do with the plane, and Alli made it without many issues. 

Jacob, our ride from the airport, happened to catch a picture of our plane as we made our final approach! If you look really really closely, maybe you'll see Alli in the window. 

It's been a long day and an even longer weekend, but it was a lot of fun. We got to see some old friends, make a few new friends, and have some really great memories. 

1 comment:

  1. What an amazing runDisney weekend!...seeing old friends and forming new friendships...too bad about Alli after such a promising start :-( Congratulations on your latest Legacy accomplishment!!!...lovely medal and special lanyard for a keepsake. You took so many wonderful selfies (thought your hand would get unsteady during and after all that running!)...think my favorite one was the Fear one (you captured the spirit of that one so well). Also, you have quite a knack to "time and position" photos so strangers don't get into the shot, like the Dumbo one and that long-ago one with the Arch in the NP. Having the photopass photographers was definitely "put on your best smile and didn't look like you're dying" for those photos (and your selfies)...the "Castle Emerging" and "Finish Line" photos turned out fantastic! Never thought about the road hazards and how dangerous it can get...extra kudos to the bandaged runners who wouldn't give up!!! Not surprised Disney had fewer Characters out...fewer Characters and no fireworks means less cost...all part of their budget-cutting :-( What a warm visit with the owner of the Korean restaurant...kind of her to give those snacks to Ian and extras for Alli & Theresa. Her knitting creations are so colorful and detailed...very lovely. Congrats to all the runners (and an extra one to Angela for her Coast-to-Coast accomplishment)!! P.S. Couldn't squint hard enough to see Alli in the incoming plane. :-) EOM