[Continued from Disney Coast to Coast Challenge – Day 1]
On Day 2, the day of the half marathon, I was excited like a little kid going to Disneyland for the first time. I woke up without an alarm. I was so eager to get to the start line, so I changed into my running gear quickly, and rushed my family to wake up and join me. We hopped on the 3:45am shuttle bus. It was the same racers that were on the bus from yesterday so we chatted and asked one another how the first day went. The only new face was this very nice lady who was running her first ever half marathon. She had a big smile on her face, but I could tell she was quite nervous, so we all gave her big words of encouragement. I think it is so wonderful to see first time racers in any distances.
Another lady was running for a charity that supports autism research. Her story was more than touching. She has 3 kids, and they all have autism. It broke our hearts hearing that. But she was so strong, and she totally inspired us. Her courage to deal with the day to day difficulties really puts us in our place. She was a very positive lady with a wonderful outlook on life. I totally admired her attitude. She had done the Disney Dumbo Dare challenge before, so she was giving us all the tips.
She was the first to get off the bus in her very cute Disney-themed costume. Many others dressed up too, just like yesterday.
I have never really been one to dress up for things, but observing the different costumes that the runners were wearing really put a smile on my face. If I had to pick between the best costumes, I would pick the girls over the guys. With their tutus, Mickey and Minnie ears headbands, and bright colourful running knee-high socks as an example, they all looked so cute.
At 5:30am, the half marathon started, with the wheelchairs going first, followed by corrals’ A, B, C…all the way to J. Mine was D. The corrals were spread 5 minutes apart, so it moved rather quickly.
Runners came from all over the world, from Australia to Japan to Canada 🙂 and ranged from under 15 up to 80 something years old. There were probably around 6,000 runners, which made it hard to navigate and move around during some parts of the course.
As for the route, we pretty much copied a great part of the 10K route, and then we were running on the streets of Anaheim. That part was kind of boring until we ran into the Angels stadium – home of the Los Angeles Angels Major League Baseball team. Lots of spectators were cheering us on and there was a big screen set up to show all the runners coming into and leaving the stadium. I loved that part of the race, in addition to passing these Vintage cars. There were at least 100 vintage cars ranging from 1930’s Old Ford vehicles to the 70’s & 80’s Mustangs. Some owners even dressed up their pets with scarves which kind of reminded me of the Great Gatsby era. Very cute.
Once we were back in the Disneyland Park, the streets were lined with cheerleaders and volunteers who cheered us on. By this time the sun was out and it was a beautiful morning. I turned the corner and saw Pluto waiting at the finish line but I totally forgot to high-five him. Darn!
The 2nd day was a little more tiring for me; maybe the early wake up time had affected me. But nonetheless, I finished the half with the same enthusiasm as the day before. At the finish line I was handed not only my half-marathon medal, but also a medal for completing the Dumbo Dare Challenge (doing the 10K and the half), and the Coast to Coast Challenge (doing a half or marathon in Disneyworld + half marathon in Disneyland in the same calendar year). In total, I received 4 medals for the weekend. Adding to the Disneyworld Dopey Challenge, I have received 10 Disney medals this year.
This was a memorable weekend – having my family there to watch me race and complete the Dumbo Dare Challenge, and to celebrate my birthday with me was so much fun. 19.3 miles of fun and more.
Would I do this over again? Absolutely yes. As Mr. Walt Disney once said “every journey begins with a dream!”
Thanks Disney for making my 2016 runDisney goals come true. And Happy 60th anniversary, Disneyland!