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Everyone knows about the runDisney Balloon Lady- and if you don’t, you may want to catch up on this post here.
I’ll sum it up just a bit, but it’s a good read if you have the time.
The balloon ladies are the pacers on the runDisney courses. Their purpose is not to instill fear or to sweep you. They are on the course as volunteer participants who keeps the 16-minute mile pace and acts as a visual signal for you on the course.
They were given their name because you can spot them by the high-flying balloons they carry during the race.
Don’t fear them; they are cool, I promise.
At the Tinker Bell Half, we had a twist.
A DUDE was the Balloon Lady. And he was awesome.
Here’s the deal. Disneyland has not been nearly as consistent when it comes to the Balloon Lady position. They do not have the same people race after race like Walt Disney World does. So when I say there is no consistency- that’s exactly what I mean. A different person every time with varying degrees of on-course success.
We’ve had complaints; we’ve had drama (looking at you, inaugural Tink 10K). What we haven’t had was the same person pacing each race.
I’m hoping that could change, and I’m sending out my not-so-subtle plea for runDisney to consider picking David up as All Time West Coast Balloon Dude.
By all accounts, he ROCKED the Tinker Bell Half Marathon as a pacer and gentle encourager on the course.
Meet David Wells, Tinker Bell Balloon Dude
Do you mind if I use your full name in the post? If you run again as a balloon guy, the runners WILL track you. But you seem ok with that!
David Wells. There were a number of people trying to figure out who the balloon ladies were for Tinkerbell this year. A few of my running friends are in those groups and asked if they could share my secret of being the balloon dude. Of course, I said yes. I didn’t want to tell people in the groups as I didn’t want to make it seem like I wanted to draw attention to myself. But then after thinking about it, I was fine having a friend share my name with the group so those who were worried would be able to track me to know how much of a buffer they had before the sweepers arrived.
Tell us about you!
My normal job is a Special Events Coordinator for a city about 45 minutes south of Seattle. I absolutely love my job. I work on providing the city a variety of events including a summer concert series for children as well as families, an Easter Egg hunt and a couple of fun runs just to name a few.
Have you ever been a balloon lady/guy for races other than Disney?
How did you become the “dreaded balloon lady”?
Do you know how much fear you strike in runners? What do you think about it?
I tried to be both entertaining and motivating for those at the back, all while making sure to stay on pace.
What’s the funniest/most amusing comment you have heard when people see you?
Did they buy you a balloon or did you have to pick one up yourself?
Do you pay your own race fees or does Disney graciously gift those to you?
Did you train holding a balloon?
Have YOU ever been swept from a race personally?
Looks like you enjoy a good costume! What’s your favorite one to run in so far?
Do you ever stop for pictures? What do the lines look like in the end of the race?
If I am running the race myself I love to stop for pictures. I might not stand in line but I will get either a picture of just the character or will do a selfie with the character in the back ground. I have on occasion stopped and waited in line. After all isn’t a Run Disney event about the character stops. I also like to try and get a picture of all of the mile markers. I wasn’t as successful at the mile markers while pacing because I really don’t have as much time to stop to wait for it to be clear to get a picture.
How do you pace yourself? GPS device?
Are you ever tempted to slow down just a little bit?
You are a Disney Cast Member- true or false?
Do you get to hang out with the VIPs before or after the race?
Will you be back?
Hey runDisney, David’s already registered. What say you give him a balloon and a job at the Disneyland Half Weekend? And beyond!
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 most of them are pretty full of pixie dust at Disney!