This one is a bit late in writing but I wanted to get all my thoughts down before Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend took over.
I ran the Avengers Half Marathon in November at Disneyland. It was an inaugural race, which often means there’s some issues to overcome. I hope next year they work something out with the characters for example.
To skip ahead and address this issue: there were only 4 Marvel characters available in the parks. This meant there were superhero sized lines for each one. As a back of the pack runner, it was very disappointing to see that the lines were already cut off as I came upon them.
I feel like having additional characters inside the park- the Marvel Universe is HUGE– would really help this out.
But the biggest obstacle in this race was out of runDisney’s control. The weather was crazy. Wind gusts up to 40 mph made for an interesting day.
Hiya, Santa Ana Winds. Well played.
I’m pretty sure one of my Facebook posts declared this my favorite runDisney race course. Looking back I may have been a bit premature. I still think Tinker Bell has the best course (most time in parks) and support (Red Hat Society FTW) but Avengers was a REALLY close and nerdy 2nd.
As a spoiler alert for anyone who just wants to know what I thought about the race: I loved it. I really did. Even with some big issues (see above mentioned winds and below mentioned poop) it was a great race for me.
Ahhhh… okay, so I’m going there. Poop.
I’ve seen this sign a dozen times on courses across the country. And I always rolled my eyes and thought EWWWW. But on this day, I took a quick picture and tried not to make eye contact with the sign holder. Cause I was worried this was going to be me. Bah.
For the first time in ANY race I really thought I wouldn’t make it. I thought I would stop and wait for the cart or bus or whatever Disneyland uses to pick my bootay up.
Because of poop.
That morning I couldn’t stop making bathroom stops. Which is normal for some runners but is completely NOT normal for me.
Yes- I’ve been known to pee a lot when I run. Hey, 5 kids, weak bladder, do the math. I’m not ashamed.
But THIS was a whole other story… and I was freaking the flip out, y’all.
How bad was it?
I went to the bathroom before we left the room. As we got to the lobby. As we headed through Downtown Disney. At the staging area. At the corrals. Twice inside the parks. Twice outside the parks.
Y’all. I was miserable.
BUT reality check is a good thing. Seeing the runner in front of you with a prosthetic leg, for example. The runner who is bald and still racing through her chemo treatments. The runners who have all kinds of REAL excuses to quit and don’t kept me going that day.
The running community is pretty amazing and I’m so thankful you let me be a part of it.
My costume for this race really wasn’t much of a costume: I decided there would be so many great Marvel fans out there that I’d play the geeky fangirl.
A Bazinga! iron-on and I was all set.
DisBroad Suzanne and I headed out together but since she’s way fast and I’m not, we separated into our different corrals. She had an amazing costume with these huge light-up wings and I was pretty jealous of them… until the winds kicked up that is.
Then I was so thankful I went simple for this race.
The race course took us through both parks very quickly. I know that was the major complaint that most runners had about this race. I believe it was less than 2 miles of park time.
Yeah. That’s not what you want to see when you runDisney.
For my part, I was okay with this. Disneyland is a great place to run but it does have narrow paths compared to Walt Disney World. It can get really crowded really fast, particularly for the mid to back of the pack runner. And with my additional potty issues, I just wanted to get the work done and get this race finished.
I was looking forward to the open road and getting out into some free space.
On the course we saw Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Captain America. In addition we saw a few other Disney characters that I can’t remember off hand (maybe Snow White and her 7 dudes or someone from Alice and Wonderland? Help me out here, friends!) But a big highlight was seeing Mickey and Minnie in their traditional dress- something I don’t think I’ve ever seen on the runDisney course.
Like I said, short on park time, short on characters, and that meant LONG on lines.
I imagine most runners were able to stop in 1 or maybe 2 lines at the most unless they were in that coveted first corral.
Outside of the parks the roads opened up and I felt I had plenty of room to maneuver. What I loved about this course: only 1 “hill” to navigate. I believe it was around mile 6 and it wasn’t too bad (just an overpass- not anything people from the east coast would even pause to think about!)
The sunrise was spectacular!
Anaheim had plenty of support on the course: the bands, cheerleaders and volunteers were awesome as always. Even in all that wind. THANKS YALL! We love it!
I knew from some of my online groups that a call went out to the cosplayer community for this race. I kept waiting to see patches of characters along the course. They did not appear until mile 8.
And then my mind was BLOWN.
This mile was a craptastic one because we were down on the Santa Ana River Trail, which means it was dusty and rocky and I literally dodged tumbleweeds flying across the course. My face got a nice dermapeel thanks to mother nature: gravel and rocks were flying. Blech.
But I forgot ALL about those issues when I started seeing the cosplayers lined up along the side of the road. They rocked and completely made this race.
My phone was acting up so my pictures and video are a little weird, but here’s what I got.
How could you not love this madness?!
After the line of cosplayers we hit another milestone: Angel Stadium. I actually thought this would be filled with all kinds of loud and crazy cheering fans as it is during the Disneyland Half.
It was not. It was empty except for a few folks cheering. Very odd compared to the other race.
It was actually sadly quiet and a bit of a let down since the bands were on a break as I went through.
However, this little girl and her sign totally made the trip around the bases worth it! (I did ask her grandmother for permission to take this picture).
I love me some Edna!
Since I had done a little sleuthing in advance, I knew there was also a call made to the cosplaying community that specializes in World War II reenactments. I knew Disney had at least one other surprise for us: and they were just around the corner as we left the stadium.
A whole division of veterans and cosplayers showed up to cheer the runners as we left the stadium parking lot. I LOVED IT.
Normally when I hit miles 8-10 in a half marathon, I’m ready to be D-O-N-E. It’s where I start to say things like “this is so dumb, why do I do this?”
Not this race. runDisney provided just the right entertainment at the right time to keep me going strong.
And it helped that my gastro issues had resolved by this point. Huzahhh!
I felt good for the rest of the race. The wind was still very strong but otherwise I wasn’t too cold and finally felt great. I kept to my intervals the entire race which I believe was a first for me.
The finish line had all 4 of the Marvel characters on the stage welcoming us home. That was a pretty cool thing to do and I hope we have a repeat with Star Wars characters this week.
I ran to my friend Tracy, who volunteered all weekend long (she’s AWESOME like that) and grabbed my medal.
There’s nothing like getting your bling from someone you love!
This race has some areas where it can improve but overall I had a blast. The theme, the characters, the race shirt, the course, the cosplayers: all of it was worth the price of admission. And the medal? Heck yeah. It’s a top 3 on my medal rack.
I’ll be back for Avengers in 2015 for sure and am pretty sure this will take the place of the Disneyland Half for me.
What can I say?
I’m a sucker for guys and gals that like to save the world.
Did you run the Avengers Half Marathon? What did you think could be improved for this race?
Patty Holliday has been running Disney since 2011. She knows just about every tip, trick, and hack there is to cover the runDisney Magical Miles at Disney World and Disneyland. She knows every mile isn’t *always* magical- but with training, tips, and a little bit of pixie dust, they can be a lot of fun! You can also find her at noguilttravel.com and noguiltfangirl.com