I’m just going to go ahead and warn ya’ll that this is going to be an image heavy post, since this is the only race where I actually stopped to take a bunch of pictures. Why? Because I paid friggen almost $250 to run this damn race, so I’ll take my sweet time to take pictures if I please!
Overreaction aside, the whole point of Disney races is that they have characters, right? Seems like a waste to go to a race like that and not have any mementos!
Without further ado, here’s my recap of the 1st Annual RunDisney Avengers Half Marathon 🙂
Saturday, November 15
So we actually drove down on the 14th, since it’s about a 8 hour drive from SF to Anaheim, and being the cheapies we are, we only booked hotel for Saturday night. Friday night we drove down and stayed with my parents, and then we left pretty much as soon as we woke up on Saturday to go to packet pick up.
We booked the Best Western for Saturday night, since it was a very short walk to the start line of the race, and had decently reasonable prices ( $120 after all fees, I believe? ). Even though our room was not ready when we showed up Saturday morning before packet pick-up, the concierge graciously allowed us to park in their very crowded lot, so that we could make the 25 minute walk into Downtown Disney instead of paying the ridiculous $16 parking fee.
Packet pick-up was super fast and painless, even though we got lost on the way there. The expo was, sadly, nothing to write about, since it’s way smaller than some of the other expos I’ve been to (the ones for the Rock n Roll races, for example) and didn’t have anything particularly standout, save for the section of runDisney swag in the back.
So instead of wasting our time at the expo, we decided to wander into the heart of Anaheim instead, in search of the fabled PokiNometry! Our friends have sung endless praises to us about this delicious Hawaiian Poke establishment, so we made it our mission to try it on this trip.
It’s as delicious as it looks, and I highly recommend stopping by there if you’re ever in Anaheim. Word of warning – the lines do get long, no matter what the time, and most of the seating is bar-style or taken up by families (we went at 3pm, still completely full). Also, I’m convinced that raw fish does not sit well the night before a race, even if it is on a bed of rice.
Next, we ventured forth to Anaheim Packing District, which also came very highly recommended. Honestly, I just wanted to go to try PopBar, which is a dessert stand located inside the Packing House that sells customized ice cream pops… and to get an absolutely stereotypical picture of the bar, dangling tantalizingly over the terrace.
With our bellies full, we headed back to Downtown Disney to spend the rest of the day wandering through its various shops. We decided that we would head back to our room around 9pm, so we could catch the fireworks from the bridge between Downtown Disney and the hotels! ( It’s the one that you drive over from the 5 freeway to get into parking, I think… That or the other way around ). Little did we know, there was actually an ‘X’ that marked the best spot to watch the fireworks from! Since we didn’t have the same surround sound music to set the mood for the fireworks, I whipped out my phone and turned up my Disney playlist – Spotify to the rescue!
Sunday, November 15
We woke up at 4:30am, thinking that would be plenty early for us to get to the start line by 5:30am. I understand that they need to get even the slowest of runners out of the park, so that the race doesn’t impact their normal hours, but that doesn’t make waking up an hour earlier than I’ve had to for any other race any easier 😦
The motel had promised that their doors would be open early so that we could request a few muffins from the front desk, but alas they were locked and barred. Tummies grumbling, Brian and I joined the throng of runners marching towards the start line.
Turns out, 4:30am was definitely not early enough. Well, I guess the first mistake we made was to not submit our proof of race time (which is how they assign corrals), so we were in the LAST corral! That, and our corral had filled up most of the way by the time we arrived, so we were at the end of what had to be literally 10,000 people. The jumbotron in the distance, which was broadcasting the pre-race entertainment, was probably the size of my thumb. I’ve never been to such a gigantic race before!
The crowds were full of Captain Americas, Iron Men, Hulks, and even countless Lokis! I think we passed one other Hawkeye, and mayyyybe 2 other Black Widows at best. Someone else dressed as Hawkeye actually called Brian out, and cheered, “Yay, One of us!”
All too soon, the horns were blasting the signal to the start of each corral. It took almost 10 minutes past the start time for our corral to be released, but serves us right for forgetting to submit our times!
The first of the Avengers we saw was Thor! My love ❤
He was the only Avenger I insisted on lining up to take a picture with, because c’mon, its THOR. The line was prettty dang long, and by the time we had gotten our pictures taken, the Mickey-head balloons that indicated the very tail end of the race (if you were after them, the slow-mobile would come scoop you up) had already passed us. We had to sprint to catch up! For the rest of the race, any time we felt like we were slowing down, one of us would yell “Red Balloons!!” and the both of us would speed up, chorusing “run awayyyyyyyy!”
There was a great variety of Disney characters scattered around the park.
I even saw a princess! 😀
Someone had even created a chalk drawing of my husband, THOR! *lovey dovey eyes* so of course I had to stop and take a picture!
This particular moment, actually, marked the beginning of the part of the course that wound along a flood channel – which meant that dust and wind were continuously whipping into our eyes as we struggled along. Even my visor didn’t help much, though I was staring at my ankles in an effort to shield my eyes. Brian was unlucky too – this was the one race ever that he decided not to wear his sunglasses, and this was the one race ever where he really needed them! The dust lasted almost a whole mile.
My favorite part of the run was actually outside of Disneyland, a little ways before we hit the Angels Stadium. A line of spectators, probably spanning 200m long, were all lined up next to the road, wearing these AMAZING Marvel Costumes! There was Groot, Iron Mans of every shape and size, Loki and other Asgardians, it was simply a feast for my nerdy nerdy eyes.
And no run, of course, is complete without an obligatory picture in front of the Castle! This picture was actually taken pretty much at the very beginning of the run, but it seems like an apt picture to end on, don’t you think? 🙂