This year the Tinkerbell Half Marathon was held on January 20, 2013. The race starts at 5AM. I think they start so early so that the park can still open on time.
Getting in: The race registration opens early. Last year, I signed up early spring/late summer. The race is expensive. $150 if registered before July, $165 from July- September and $180 after September.
It's an expensive race but it is held at DisneyLand and RunDisney races are well organized, spirited and fun.
The Expo: The health and fitness expo was held the Friday and Saturday before the race. It was held at the Disney Hotel near Downtown Disney.
Parking in Downtown Disney is free for the first 3 hours.
The expo was pretty efficient. I went on Saturday morning, there were tons of people but I think I beat the rush. Went in and grabbed my bib number the headed upstairs to grab my t-shirt.
The expo had a bunch of vendors selling stuff. I did a quick walk through but I wasn't too interested in buying stuff and there wasn't any free sample, so I was over it pretty quick. Plus, the amount of people definitely made me claustrophobic.
The Race: The start was fun. Mickey and Minnie were there! In all true Disney fashion, the start was pretty magical, lots of lights and cheer. The start is set up in corrals that start 5 minutes apart. I was in corral A (They had a total of 5 corrals) and it was still packed. The race was pretty congested for the first few miles.
At mile 2, we headed into the park and there were a few narrow paths which added to the traffic jam. Plus the runners definitely slowed down to get a glimpse of the characters or the rides. I sure did!
sad attempt at taking pictures while running.
There were awesome volunteers. That's one of the reasons I like big races, organization and volunteers. This race had tons of support and cheer. I think there were at least 5 water stations- fully stocked. They were prepared with water and power aid. It was easy to grab water and keep going. At mile 8, volunteers were handing out GU's.
I think I counted at least 8 HS bands and cheer squads. They were all really good. At mile 11.5, one band was playing Carly Jepsen "Call me maybe". That made me happy. There were spectators on random parts of the course, mostly in groups when we really needed them. These cute ladies were from the Red Hat Society
The After: Mickey, Minnie and Goofy were at the finish line. As soon as we finished we got out medals and a mylar blanket. The race was really organized and we headed down a tunnel and grabbed water, power aid and a box of treats (hummus, pita chips, luna bar, banana). After that we were in the family waiting area. There was nothing special there, but I took a picture of myself looking pretty pale.
Overall: It was a fun race. The Disney excitement really rubs off. The course was good, I wish we would have spent more time in the park and that we may have run through it during the daylight. The downside, it's an expensive race really expensive. Race day parking was not included which sucked especially after that huge registration fee. Plus, I wish they would have had free stuff or samples.
I don't think I will be running this race again, it's too expensive. But I'm glad that I had the opportunity to run it this weekend. And I'm excited that even though I had to navigating through a bunch of people, I still ran a decent race.
Plus, this thing is pretty awesome….