Saturday, January 17, 2015

Star Wars 10k at the Disneyland Resort

The morning of the Inaugural Star Wars 10K was finally here. The races start ridiculously early in the morning at 5:30am, and they want you there even earlier to line up in your corrals.
After having prepared everything the night before, I woke at 3:30am, was on the road by 3:45am, and with no traffic at all, was parked in the Mickey and Friends parking garage by 4:20am.
I wandered down into the area where all the pre-race festivities were happening. There was a DJ on the main stage playing songs and clips from Star Wars movies, then at 5am, it was announced that the corrals would be opening up and to start heading that way.

I wasn't expecting such a long walk to the corrals. For the Disneyland Half Marathon, you exit the Mickey and Friends garage, walk past the trams, and there's the corrals. For the Star Wars races though, you're walking all the way around the Paradise Pier hotel. I checked the distance and from the parking garage, it's 0.85 miles! Just to get to the start!

Not having ran any races in preparation for this one, I didn't have a good proof of finish time to get into a closer corral. Instead, I was placed near the back in Corral D (and Corral E was the last corral).
There I met up with some friends who were also running. Love the costume choices. Farman was an X-wing pilot.

His wife Steph was Princess Leia and Amanda dressed as Darth Vader.

We had a blast watching as all sorts of costumes walked by us. Lots of Leias, Vaders, Yodas, R2-D2s, and Boba Fetts and then a few more unique costumes too. You'd be hard pressed to find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.
One of our counterparts in corral D dressed as Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Shortly before 5:30am, we heard a trumpet version of the National Anthem. Being this far back, we could hear things going on on the speakers, but there were no screens for us to be able to see anything happening at the front of the pack. We were nearly a quarter of a mile away from the start line.
At 5:30am, they counted down 3, 2, 1, and started the race. Immediately Farman yelled "The first transport is away!" and we also raised an arm and cheered just like the scene from Empire Strikes Back.

As Corral A left, and then B followed, we shuffled our way closer to the starting line. Here they did have a screen where you could see what was going on. C3-PO and R2-D2 joined race announcers Carissa Bealert and Rudy Novotny to cheer everyone on.

Once we arrived at the starting line, we were given our own quick countdown and sent on our way right around 5:55am, about 25 minutes after the first group had left.

Catching sight of some pretty awesome costumes. Lego Star Wars is pretty awesome. Running in a homemade Lego Jabba and Lego Slave Leia costume is pretty intense. Good luck out there today!

The great part about the race just being a 10K (6.2 miles) is that so much of it was on Disneyland property. Also there was quite a bit of running backstage if you're into that sort of thing (I know I am).

One of my first stops when getting into the park was a photo in front of the floral Mickey. The line here was only a couple people deep and there was a cast member available to take photos.

Running down Main Street, I saw a guy who was surely close to 6' 8" dressed in a Chewbacca costume.

Along Main Street were some generic Jedi characters. The line here was maybe 10 people deep, so I didn't feel too bad stopping.

After that though, the lines at many of the photo opportunities started getting to be a little long. Disney did a fantastic job on these 10K mile markers, making each one themed to something in the movie. Here we see an Imperial AT-AT Walker on Hoth with some "snow" in front of it. When the lines are too long to stop, you just take a quick selfie and hope there aren't too many people behind you in it.

Here we go! In front of the Mark Twain riverboat, we ran into our first character from the movie. It's Chewbacca, the 7' 2" Wookie! I would have loved to get a photo with him!

But so did everyone else who got here before me. It's hard to tell but there are at least 6 switchbacks going a good ways down the Rivers of America and a cast member was announcing that it was at least a 30 minute wait to get a picture with Chewbacca. Yikes! Here's where being in an earlier corral would have been a lot better. Oh well, time to keep running.

In past Disney races, I've seen the three fairies from Sleeping Beauty on the carrousel, as well as other characters. I think Disney missed out by not putting a couple Stormtroopers riding around on it.

An obligatory photo in front of the castle.

 I was surprised there were no characters in front of Star Tours.

Shortly after leaving Star Tours, right around the entrance to Star Traders, I see a massive line stretching from there, back towards the Captain EO theater, in front of Space Mountain, past the Pizza Port and winding towards the Innoventions exit. Who could command such a line?

Lord Vader of course. Again there was no way I would have waited in a line that long so I grabbed a quick photo and was on my way again. I was thinking here though, it would have been better to swap Vader's photo location, so you see him first and then see the line. The way it was organized today, you see a massive line, but don't know who it's for. If you do choose to get in line, you've got to go backwards to get to the end of the line.

Next it was a trip beside the Matterhorn, past it's a small world and then backstage by the train yard.

The volunteers handing out water (no powerade for the 10K) were really high energy and cheering on the runners as they went by. I really appreciated all the energy and thanked them as I went by.

On other races, I've seen lambs, goats, and even horses here at the back side of Big Thunder Ranch. I was hoping for a Tauntaun, Bantha, Dewback, or other Star Wars creature here. Alas, no such luck.

Making our way backstage past the sign shop, which has lots of great Disney characters painted on it.

Along the route, there were lots of these projections of Star Wars images onto the sides of buildings.

Running across the esplanade I ran into George Lucas.

Making it into DCA, a photo with Walt and Mickey was appropriate.

An excellent job on the Lando Calrissian costume.

I'm not that familiar with the expanded universe of Star Wars so I don't know if these are characters from something in particular or not.

Running down the central street of DCA, a line started to form around the Golden Valley Winery. When I got to the front, it was none other than Boba Fett, everyone's favorite bounty hunter. Again too long of a line to get into, so just a quick photo as I went by. It was here that I heard my first real argument between a cast member and a racer. The racer was trying to get a selfie with Boba Fett, but the cast member was trying to keep her moving along. The racer was complaining that there was no way to pose with the race entertainment and still finish the course in the amount of time given, and I can definitely see her point.

A selfie in front of Mickey's Fun Wheel and you can also see a couple dressed as Slave Leia and Han Solo.

Of course there were a few of "those" people on the course.

A few more Jedi.

An X-wing pilot in an X-wing, followed by the Death Star.

Nice! It's Admiral Ackbar!

More of the cool signage along the race.

The finish line is in sight! Off to the left, there were a couple Stormtroopers and when they saw me with my Darth Vader helmet on, I got a salute.

Whew! I crossed the finish line. 6.2 miles completed. A large party of Ewoks were getting their finishers medal as I walked up.

I really like the medal for this race. I'll have closer pictures in a later post.

After the race, I wandered around looking for more fun costumes. A really cool TIE fighter.

"Look sir, Droids." You can also see a Darth Maul in the background.

Next I went to the finish line. I was happy to see the Lego Star Wars guys from earlier were able to finish.

And wow, running in Stormtrooper armor is impressive.

As were a couple Lego Stormtroopers seen a short time later.

Approximately 2:17 minutes after the start, the official pace keeper (the balloon lady) crossed the finish line. If you fall too far behind her on the course, you might be swept off the course, though if you're close to the finish line, they might let you continue.

Elsa Fett came in not long afterwards. A DJ was working the race booth along with the race announcers and as soon as she crossed the finish line "Let It Go" was played.

And this guy made his way dressed as a Starspeeder 3000 from Star Tours. Wow. When he crossed the DJ played the Star Tours theme. He was pretty on top of it.

I left shortly after, but heard that the last person to officially cross the finish line also got a big burst of confetti. I wish I'd have stayed for that now.

Well I had a lot of fun with the 10K today. I would have liked to see more official characters and shorter lines, but what can you do. They're pretty popular. The official characters I saw were Chewbacca, Vader with a couple Stormtroopers, and Boba Fett.
Tomorrow is the Half Marathon. We'll see what that brings!


Update:
I got permission from a friend to post some of his photos from the event. He was in an earlier corral and was able to stop at a lot of the photo stops.
I really enjoyed seeing all the mile marker signs on the 10K. Check them out!

Mile 1 starts with A New Hope with some Jawas.

Mile 2 sees you on Hoth in front of an AT-AT.

Off to Dagobah at mile 3 in Yoda's swamp.

Cloud City above Bespin at mile 4.

I think this is meant to be the final scene from Empire Strikes Back.

And Mile 6 shows the outside of Jabba's palace on Tatooine.

He also caught a runner who was riding a Taunton during the 10K.
Thanks for the photos Carmen!

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