Thursday, February 7, 2013

2013 Disneyland's Tinker Bell Half Marathon Race Report and Video

Sunday January 20th:  This is the last race of Team Tizzel's Coast to Coast Challenge. The Tinker Bell Half Marathon will take us through Disney's California Adventure (DCA), Disneyland, and downtown Anaheim.  The race started at 5:00am.

We decided we could probably sleep in until 3:00am this morning since our hotel was near the start line.   Dave was still feeling sick and he was still pretty tuckered out from yesterday's 5k + 11 more miles of park touring.  This was his second half marathon in a week (Disney World's Half was the week before).  It was also his second half marathon ever.

Staying at the Grand California was ideal for this race, except for the fact that we were conservative in our route to get to Runner's Village.  We were meeting friend's at 4:00am in the village and we weren't sure if we could go out our main hotel entrance, which was located by the corral/start line, and cross the corrals to the meet-up.  Instead we went through the Downtown Disney door and walked around to the Disneyland Hotel and the meet-up area. Runner's Village was much smaller, and less crowded, than Disney World's Village.   The Tinker Bell Half is about 1/2 the size of WDW's Half Marathon with about 13,000 runners - most of them women.
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We corralled up around 4:20 and hung out with our friend Jill and her friend Tonia.  We must have been chatting the whole time or paying attention to the pre-show since we have no video or many pre-race pictures.   We were in Corral C, which was the first corral men could be in (unless you are celebrity Sean Astin).  The only fireworks that went off were for the "rockets red glare" and closing of the National Anthem.

Holly and Dave parted ways at the start line.  The course took us north towards the parking garages and exited property following Ball Road to Harbor Blvd.  The streets of Anaheim were wide allowing for some nice personal space.  Mile Marker One was cruelly placed half way up the incline of the I-5 overpass.  We entered California Adventure's backstage and made our way towards Tower of Terror and Buena Vista Street.  At mile 1.5 (by the Animation Academy) Dave said hi to Olympian/ RunDisney Coach Jeff Galloway, then peeled off into the bathroom.   We went through CarsLand and moved towards the popular photo stop of  the World of Color Fountains.
Holly took this really nice photo
We left DCA through the main gates and crossed the esplanade to Disneyland.  We got onto Main Street and saw a Mary Poppins photo opp and one with Tinker Bell up on a float with Hook and Smee underneath.  There was some more crossing in-and-out of backstage through Disneyland. Doing the 5k the day before made this part of the race less interesting than it would have been normally.   Dave never stopped for a character picture, but Holly stopped for just about each one.  There were plenty of them in Disneyland - Darth Vader, Clarabelle, Merida, Peter Pan, Aurora...... Dave didn't notice Holly on line for Rapunzel in Fantasyland because he was distracted by the awesomeness of Christmas Small World.  It took the help of other people in line to get his attention.

Cast Members weren't really good at taking pictures
We left the park via backstage and headed through Downtown Disney then turned right at ESPN Zone.  Near the Disneyland Hotel were about 5 bus loads of Red Hat Ladies cheering on the runners.  They were having lots of fun.  As we came near the parking garages for the second time we turned left to head onto Walnut after Mile Marker 6.  Holly caught up to Dave around mile 6.5.  We chatted for a minute, then she took off.   We crossed another overpass into an older neighborhood.  Crowd support and entertainment was sparse, but it was interesting to be out of the parks and see the surrounding area.  The roads were nice and wide from this point up until we made it back to property before the mile 12 mark.

The rest of the off-property course took us through some other neighborhoods, the downtown business district, and by city hall.  Overall nothing remarkable, but still enjoyable to see what the surrounding area was like.  We came back to property through the backstage of DCA, this time rounding around the backside of Cars Land and Paradise Pier.   The sprint to the finish line included one hairpin turn in an auxiliary Downtown Disney parking lot.

For participating in the Coast to Coast Challenge we were given wristbands at the race expo.  Once we crossed the finish line and received our Tinker Bell medals we were directed to the Coast to Coast table where we traded in the wristband for the medal.  A RunDisney person said about 500 people were Coast to Coasting that day.   Next up were the bottles of water, Powerade, bananas, space blankets, and RunDisney snack boxes.  It took considerably less time to exit the chute here than it did in Disney World.

Dave found Holly pretty easily.  She finished in 2:57 and Dave did 3:04.  We were both pretty spent.  At one point on the course Dave stopped to fix his heart monitor and found it hard to start moving again.  The walk back to the hotel was a slow one.  On the way stopped off at the hotel snack bar for a few breakfast items and beers.

Overall it was a nice race.  The temperature was in favor of the runners - not getting higher than the 60's while on-course.  It was a good mix of park and local scenery.   If asked, we both preferred Tinker Bell's course to WDW's Half. 

Having the Coast to Coast medals made us rockstars. Folks who were in-the-know we're impressed we took this on in one week.  Others were curious Disney fans that never saw a medal with Walt and Mickey.

Below is our race video (
Sorry if the video starts abruptly. We were distracted at the beginning of the race and didn't film any of the start), course map, and full collection of medals. In addition to Disney medals we also received Team AllEars medal.  We also covered the weekend for the Mickey Miles Podcast via twitter and we were guests on Episode 37 if you'd like to give it a listen.

Dave's collection on the left, Holly's on the right

Stay tuned for more posts on Dave's post on his first/second big race experiences and on the non-race portions of our trips.

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