It’s here! The Official Guide to the 2016 Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland can be found here. Normally, on the day where the official guide is released for a runDisney event, the waivers and corrals are also up. Not so this time. Even without the corrals and waivers, there is still so much to see. As usual, I’ll highlight the parts I found to be most relevant. So, let’s look inside…
First up, this is the itinerary for the whole weekend. This chart gives you all the times you’ll need to know. As you finalize your plans for the weekend, make sure that your plans fit around whatever you are planning on attending for the weekend.
Every runDisney weekend starts with an Health and Fitness Expo. The Expo is held at the Disneyland Hotel Convention Center. You’ll either want to park at the Mickey and Friends Parking Structure or the Downtown Disney parking lot. The way runDisney wants runners to experience the expo is by heading to the lower level first. There will be plenty of signs and Disney cast members to direct you. The idea is that you go downstairs to get your race bib, pre-purchased commemorative merchandise, Dooney & Burke bags, ChEAR Squad stuff, Charity stuff, GET Travel stuff, etc. Then, you’d head up to the main expo floor. It is advised that you print your waivers before you go to the expo. However, as you see in the map, you can print them at the Expo on the lower level. Also…
if you’re registered for the Rebel Challenge, you’ll need to get your picture taken with your race bib. So, you’ll get your bib first. Then, turn around and go get your picture taken. At the end of the Star Wars 10K, your time will be recorded. Once you finish the Star Wars Half Marathon, you’ll go to the place they are handing out the Rebel Challenge medals. Once there, they will check to make sure you finished the 10K and that you and your bib match before giving your medal. If it sounds confusing, don’t worry. It’s really easy once you’ve finished the half marathon to figure it out.
So, after taking care of all the downstairs business, you’ll head back up and head into the Expo on the red carpet. This is what it looked like last year.
This is the floor plan for the main expo floor. The way its all set up is that you walk the red carped and it takes you inside right by where you’ll pick up your race shirt(s) for the weekend and gear bag. At that point you’d have everything you’ll need for the weekend. On the main expo floor is the official runDisney Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend merchandise. The folks at runDisney have improved the official merchandise area greatly since I first started running the races. If you want official merchandise, I suggest a different strategy from what runDisney wants you to do at the Expo. First, make sure you can arrive at the Expo by 10am – Noon at the latest to have the most merchandise selections available to you. People will show up 2 hours or more early to be among the first into the Expo.
Last year, they played the original Star Wars trilogy for us while we waited. I got there by the starting of Empire Strikes Back. The holding area is usually somewhere above Goofy’s Kitchen. Ask a Cast Member where folks are waiting. If you want the best selection, you need to arrive early. Then, wait your turn to get into the official runDisney merchandise booth and make your purchases. After making the purchases, head downstairs to get your bib and all the other stuff down there. Move back upstairs to get your gear check bag and race shirt(s). Then, you’ll be ready to hit the rest of the Expo.
Above, is the course map for the Star Wars 5K. I won’t be running this race. However, if you are, this is for you.
The above is how the corrals will be laid out on race day. If you are running the Star Wars 5K, you should know that you will not find out your corral until you get your race bib. Corral assignments are generally not available for the runDisney 5K races. You should also know that the staging area for all the races is in the Lilo Parking Lot. That’s where the bag check is. So, you’ll have to walk up to the Lilo Parking Lot and then walk back to your corral.
Here is the map for the Star Wars 10K! If you’re running the Rebel Challenge, this will be the first race of the challenge. If you ran this race last year, you’ll notice that this is a different route. They’ve taken away running up and over the 5 freeway from mile 1 of last year. This course is a flatter one! Plus, from what I can tell, we’ll most likely only spend 0.25 – 0.5 miles outside of Disneyland Resort Property! For those that love park time, this might be your favorite runDisney race.
Here is the corral line up for the Star Wars 10K.
Pro Tip – The restrooms in the lobby of the Paradise Pier Hotel will be open before the races. Skip the porta potties before the race and use a real restroom.
Here is the race map for the Star Wars Half Marathon. It looks like it’s the same route we ran last year. This course is super flat and fast. It’s a great course to attempt a half marathon PR! If it’s like last year, here’s some advise I have. Skip the lines for character photos in the theme parks. Why?
In miles 8 and 9 the Cos Players and 501st Legion were out in force. This is where the party was at last year! So many Star Wars characters and almost no lines! I waited 1-2 minutes for this picture. In Tomorrowland, the line for a picture with Darth Vader was around 20 minutes long when I went by. They were using the Star Tours queue line. Save yourself some time and get the pictures later in the course.
Here is the line up for the corrals for the Star Wars Half Marathon. It’s very interesting to me that they only go through corral E. It will be interesting to see how the corral break downs are for this race with so few corrals.
In all of the races (except the Kid Races), the finish area will be the same. This is what you can expect as your finish your race(s). By the stage, there will be bleachers. So, if you have family and/or friends meeting you, they can wait in the bleachers.
Speaking of spectators, in the guide, they give some good tips and times for where you might want to have your fans out to watch you run. Also, they mention that there will be runner tracking available. However, the runner tracking will give splits at various locations on the course. It doesn’t give a precise location for you at all times.
One part of the guide I always highlight is the page with runner etiquette. I appreciate the fact that runDisney does so much to promote proper etiquette. There are a couple of additions I have…
- Number 4 on this list talks of not running/walking nor more than 2 abreast. Keep in mind that your group of 2 might approach another group of 2. If you stay with that group, you now have 4 abreast. That creates unnecessary course crowding. So, be aware of those around you. This is also good advice in general.
- When you’re coming to a walk break, raise your hand up and take a quick look around to make sure no one is going to run into you once you start walking. By raising your hand, you alert others that you are about to come to a walk. If you see someone charging towards you, you might consider running a few extra seconds to let them pass you and then begin your walk break.
- Lastly, when you’re finishing, run all the way across the line. If you want a photo to capture that moment where you finished your half marathon, walk or run all the way to where the finishers chute turns to the left and grab a selfie (like me). This picture spot works just fine and you are not in the way of others.
Another important piece of information for this race especially. This is what runDisney wants you to know about the costumes you are planning on wearing. One thing I’d like to say is that,when planning on a costume, remember you are running 3.1, 6.2, and/or 13.1 miles in whatever you choose. Some costumes I see on the course make me wonder how they finished the race. Last year, I saw two people who were an At-At in the half marathon. Star Wars has so many characters where masks seem necessary. Don’t assume runDisney will look the other way. They may not.
One thing I always look forward to in the race guides is Jeff Galloway’s advice. It’s so worth a look over.
This second part to his advice is something I think you all should look over before you leave for Anaheim. He’s got some great packing advice. Also, you can start practicing the mantras right now and find one (or more) that work for you.
Since I’m involved with social media, this page is pretty important. It has all the ways you can stay connected with runDisney and others who are running in the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend races. Use the hash tags in your Instagram and/or Twitter postings and follow them. You never know. There might be some pretty inspirational things coming from others that will help you stay motivated in this final push to the race weekend. Additionally, I highly suggest following runDisney both on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. They post lots of fun things as the race weekend gets closer and throughout the race weekend as well. Plus, there is usually a free photo for those that follow runDisney on Instagram.
This was my free photo from this year’s race!
Lastly, runDisney has all the upcoming races along with dates on the back of the guide. Very important stuff as you plan out your 2016.
It’s almost race weekend! Who else is excited? If you’d like to check out my experience from this year in running the Inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon, click here. May the Force be with you as you finish out your training!