Run Disney Rebel Challenge Part 1 – Star Wars 10K Race Recap and Review
This is part 1 of a 2 part race series on the Run Disney Rebel Challenge. The Inaugural Star Wars series of races took place at Disneyland in Anaheim, California on January 16th – 18th 2015 which consisted of a 5K on Friday, 10K Saturday, and Half Marathon on Sunday. Participants who registered for the Rebel Challenge ran both the 10K and Half in order to receive a special shirt and medal for the event.
Entries for this event sold out in less than an hour when they went on sale back in June of 2014. The registration cost for the Rebel Challenge was roughly $350 per person which was slightly more than registering for each race separately, however, it was the only way to receive the extra amenities. The whole process was quite nerve racking! An insane amount of website traffic made everything slow and all the while… entries were disappearing by the second. Keep in mind this is 7 months out before the race and there are no refunds so this is one commitment we needed to be sure about. My GF and I were trying to register separately but she could not get the site to load correctly on her computer. After mine was processed I quickly started again and was barely able to get her registered before all the entries had sold out. The whole process lasted only a few minutes but I was so frazzled by the mad rush that my heart was racing and I was jittery. But no matter because we both got in so now all there was to do …is wait….
PACKET PICKUP and RACE EXPO
January was finally upon us! We arrived in California Friday morning which allowed us plenty of time to get ourselves situated. There is NO race day packet pick up for Run Disney races so we didn’t leave anything to chance and headed straight to the Expo after checking into our hotel. The Expo / Packet pick up was located at Disneyland Hotel in Downtown Disney. Pick up itself was very smooth and well organized with a very wide open space and plenty of signing to find where you needed to be. For the Rebel Challenge there was an added “security feature” in which we were required to have our photo taken so they could compare our finish photos from both races to ensure we were, in fact, the ones who ran them. After that it was on to the Expo where you can buy lots of souvenirs in true Disney fashion. The Expo was smaller than we had expected. Don’t get me wrong, it was still pretty large but we have seen bigger ones in the past. Most of the booths didn’t offer up anything of interest except for the official Run Disney Merchandise section. We purchased quite a few things but didn’t go overboard. For a more detailed review of the Expo you can visit my GF’s site The Everyday Warrior.
RACE MORNING: STAR WARS 10K
Our morning began at 4am Saturday. Disney races start insanely early since the parks open to the public at 9am. That meant a 5:30 am start which happened to be easy for us since we are from the Eastern time zone so our bodies are 3 hours ahead. The starting line was on the street below Downtown Disney and the corrals were divided up the entire span of the block from A to E. Our proof of time landed us in corral C as we are true “middle of the pack-ers” so we could still enjoy the opening festivities. Those behind us, however, could not see nor hear much of what was going on at the starting line.
The opening events lasted for about 30 minutes with our hosts acting out several scenarios with Vader and the Droids. They played a few movie clips, listed off some ads, named some names, and had a trumpet player for the Star Spangled Banner. I took video of the event which I need to try and edit into something watchable (I was using a small cheap camera because I had to run with it) and I will upload the video to my YouTube channel once it is ready. Then finally, they started the race!
The corrals were started with a 5 minute break in between each wave. Since we were in “C” our start time was roughly 10 minutes off the clock time but due to the large crowds we didn’t actually cross the pad until several minutes later. Judging by the time on this photo from mile marker 1 I would estimate it took us 15 minutes to start. It was extremely hard to maneuver for the first few miles, we squeezed around the slower people when we could but we were in no rush. Every mile marker had a clock and a different Star Wars themed mural. We stopped to photograph each one in the beginning but eventually I just tried to video them as we ran past.
The course for the 10K was incredible! The majority of the time was spent running the streets of Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure. There were many character photo ops along the way with the most popular being Vader, Chewie, and Boba Fett. By the time we reached them the lines were pretty long so we either skipped it our did a quick selfie nearby to try and get them in the shot. (none turned out very well) Disney also rolled out the red carpet by lighting up the entire park in all of it’s splendor. They had the rides along the course running (empty) and had Star Wars themed music playing throughout.
We crossed from one park to the other and even ran through the back lots which most people never get to see. They had plenty of aid stations along the way, in the case of the 10K I believe there were 3 that had a choice of water or PowerAde at each. The sun came up just before our race was coming to an end. After leaving Disney’s California Adventure park there was roughly a mile loop around to the finish line in front of the Disneyland Hotel just outside of Downtown Disney.
My finish time was 1:19:53 which isn’t bad considering we stopped multiple times throughout the course to take pictures. We were certainly not out to shatter any records since we still had the Half Marathon the next day (not to mention 2 days in the parks themselves) This was all about the experience and of course… the BLING!
There it is! Look at it shine! At that moment it was officially the coolest medal I own …but that honor didn’t last for long as the weekend was not over yet. In part 2 of the series I will pick up from this point and get into the Star Wars Half Marathon along with the Rebel Challenge medal and the after party celebrations. (I will link to the post once it is published in a day or so). I will also link to the video once it has been edited and published but I don’t expect to get to that for several more days. So until then… May The Course Be With You!