I feel like I should preface this by saying that I never thought I would get to run in The Happiest Place On Earth.
So I am sure that you can understand how surprised I was when I realized within a 24 hour period that not only would I get to meet Smplefy and his lovely family, but that he in an epic act of kindness would get me to the starting line of the Disneyland 10k.
It was a humbling gift, really. A bib. A ride. A race I will never forget.
Our story begins at 3:00 AM, under the canopy of the Temecula Creek Inn. Marcus and I didn’t rent a car for the weekend so Smplefy rolled out to where we were to pick us up. This basically qualifies him as The Patron Saint of runners. And as Meredith will vouch as well, The Best Race Sherpa.
Exhibit A: Frozen Chocolate Birthday Cake for breakfast at 3:00 AM.
Like I said. Best Race Sherpa.
We headed back to the city to collect the rest of the family as well as a friend who was running their first 5k (what a way to kick it off, right?) and then went straight to the park.
I want to say that the drive there took an hour or so, but there was lots of workshopping to be done. Y’all know how it goes.
For the record, if you are not meeting people for the first time at 4:00 AM, you are not living, kittens. Another level of sainthood: welcoming relative strangers into your home at that early hour.
So anyway, we made it to the park without a hitch. Bibs on, hair up, ready to go.
Pro-tip: Even though they have more than enough porta potties, the parking garage bathrooms (which are significantly nicer) are also open before the race.
They are also a great place to grab a selfie.
The 5k runners scampered off to their corrals right away, but we spent about an hour in the staging/finishers area. When they weren’t broadcasting the start line announcements over the Jumbotron, there were cast members leading a festive dance warm-up routine, which was 100% bat mitzvah dance in the best way.
Dance snap c/o Smplefy.
Disappointingly for all of us, I completely failed to get a snap of the Peter Pan who was really giving it his all.
The 5k began at 5:45 AM and as soon as they had cleared out the corrals for that race, they brought the 10k runners into the corrals for a 6:15 AM start.
I was in Corral F and I would say that we got going about 20 minutes after Corral A was released. The Corral Police didn’t seem to be particularly passionate enforcers, so I am willing to bet that you could probably swap corrals without an issue if your heart was set on it.
The first two miles of the race take place on the streets of Anaheim and then you run into the park. I saw Smplefy, Marcus and The Daughter right around the Mile 2 marker – this was perfect because it was a really easy place to spot them and I was able to collect a new water bottle. I can honestly say that I do not think I have EVER sweat as much as I did during this race.
And once we got into the park, I had to start snapping photos like mad.
If you know anything about Disney Races, it’s that there are photo stops throughout the course with cast members who are ready to take your picture with the characters. And if you didn’t know that about Disney Races, now you do. 🙂
I ended up specifically stopping for the Monsters University gang, and Daisy Duck. I did not stop for Chip n’ Dale, Woody and Annie, the Red Queen, Alice or The White Rabbit.
There were also hundreds of cast members throughout the course who were there to cheer on the runners or conveniently, snap your picture if you saw something you wanted a photo of/with that was not a designated “stop.”
Running through Sleeping Beauty Castle was easily the high point of the race.
And, how could it not be?
From there, it was really a jaunt to the finish line. I wasn’t running this race for time, but at this point it would be helpful to point out that logistically you could be waiting at a character stop for up to 10 minutes to get your snap. Also, fair warning, be prepared to weave. But you’ll be laughing while you do it because the costumes are just darling.
Coming through the chute, every runner was given a snack box, a banana and water/Powerade. I absolutely love the snack box idea because no one can ever possibly carry the amount of food they are hoping to eat post-race. That being said, I am EXTREMELY thankful that Marcus brought me a Wetzel Pretzel because what I actually wanted at that particular moment in time was something salty.
Jalapeno Cheese with mustard to dip to the rescue.
Post-race, we really high-tailed it because Marcus and I had a wedding to get ready for (seriously, this was basically a military operation in its precision), but I made sure to take one proper medal snap.
Gorgeous medal for a gorgeous race.