January 25, 2013

Guest Post: Neverland 5k and Kid's Races Recap

Since we didn't attend any of the Tinkerbell Half Marathon weekend events, we were lucky enough to have some gracious volunteers to be our "reporters" for the weekend.  Lois, from Running to Disney, ran the Neverland 5k, her first EVER runDisney race and her girls ran the kid's races (200m and 400m) and is telling us all about her weekend!

This was my first runDisney race, and I headed out to my first experience at Disneyland for the Neverland 5K, which is part of the Tinkerbell half marathon weekend.  I love running and I love Disney, so I needed to combine the two.
The expo was on Friday and Saturday, which is a great way to check out the latest and greatest running gear as well as get your bib and the necessities for the race.  I was a little disappointed to find that almost all of the gear focused on the bigger and longer half marathon, and not on the 5K.  I was able to find one trading pin that had the Neverland 5K logo on it, but nothing else.  I would have gladly bought a shirt that said something about the 5K, but didn’t find one available.  I did manage to buy a very cute running skirt though.  The best part of the expo was the chance to meet Jeff Galloway.  He was so nice and truly believes in what he is teaching.  I was thrilled at the chance to meet him.
The 5K started at 5:45 am, which meant leaving the hotel room around 4:45 to walk over to the park.  Entering Disneyland transformed me.  The music was pumping and there were lots of people in costume.  I don’t know that I’ve ever seen more green at one race, outside of a St. Patrick’s Day run.  With the music pumping, I danced my way down Main Street, and a cast member even joined me at one point. 
I took some pictures and just decided to have fun with my 5,000 new friends.  Because the 5K took place entirely inside Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure, the running path was narrow.  This meant that the hope for a personal record flew down the wire with Tinkerbell, so it was just time for fun and to enjoy the sights of Disneyland in the dark and before it opened.  The run started in front of Sleeping Beauty castle and wound around to It’s a Small World.  We came out of the back somewhere around Toon Town, but it could have been Fantasyland (it was dark and I had never been to Disneyland before).  I stopped  at every character spot for pictures (not what I would do in a regular race).  I posed with Goofy and Pluto, Captain Hook and Mr. Smee, DJ (from Cars), Tom Mater and Lightning McQueen, and Pirate Mickey and Minnie Mouse at mile 3. 
Every time I passed a cast member (and there were lots of them), I put up my hand for high fives, sometimes even telling them that I needed a hand.  It’s a great place to have fun.  I loved running on the service roads through Disney and getting a little glimpse of what happens backstage, including the train storage building and some floats. 

As we crossed over to DCA, it was even more magical, as we didn’t really do much of the surface roads.  We ran through a Bugs’ Life and into Radiator Springs.  We then ran onto Paradise Pier, which was awesome.  The sky was getting lighter and the energy just seemed to surge at that point.  It was finally wide enough to get some good running in, but I was having too much fun at this point to even care.  As I finished the race, I had a big smile on my face, put my hands in the air and just let out a big whoop.  The announcers noticed my enthusiastic finish and even mentioned it.  “That one is very excited to finish and she is letting us know she is Powered by Pixie Dust” (which is what my shirt said).  As I crossed the finish line, I was handed my finisher medallion, as well as a Peter Pan bag in which to put my goody box.  This was by far my slowest 5K I have ever done, finishing at about 55 minutes (my normal pace is 30 minutes for a 5K), but it was a fun race.  I wish they would have had Tinkerbell somewhere for photos, as it was part of the Tinkerbell weekend.
The next step of the race weekend was the kids’ run for my daughters who are 6 & 8.  They too were powered by Pixie Dust.  The 6 year old was slated for the 200 meter dash, and the 8 year old was to do 400 m.  I had anticipated the kids’ race finishing by 9:15, but because of some logistical problems, we didn’t finish the kids’ race until after 10 am.  I enjoyed the 5K, but I did not like the kids’ race.  If I were to do it again, my kids will do the 5K with me, and not the separate kids’ race.  I think they would have more fun running through the parks before it opens than running through a parking lot, plus it will allow us to get to the park in time for rope drop.
Thank you Lois for the awesome photos and recap!!

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