Inaugural Half Marathon - Disneyland Paris Half Marathon 2016

Hello 5am! I woke up threw on my clothes and headed down to grab some food the hotel was offering (see my 5k post that details the “collation” they were providing by the Disney hotels). I then brought it back up to the room to finish getting dressed and ready for the race. I was out the door by 5:45 and glided through security with ease, no real wait at the bag scanning security check. I tried slowing down this morning but it was hard to because I was so excited.

My goal for this was to enjoy myself and to go with the flow for this race, I had been beating up my body with non-stop walking days, trying to beat jet lag and not sleeping much but I was feeling pretty good and ready to see what I had in my legs plus I had extra magic hours to get to. I hung around the start area for awhile, snapped a pic with the backdrop and then headed to my corral around 6:20, I was antsy to get going.

Once I got to the corral I decided to sit until 6:40 to save my legs and generally just chill out. I don’t normally do this but I was tired and my legs were also tired from the go go go of the trip. I got real sleepy while waiting… ZZZzzzz...

When I did stand up I realized just how cold it was. It was chilly with a pretty steady breeze which gave me the shivers. I tried keeping warm by doing the warmup our prep team was leading and it was kind of working but not really. Our bilingual hosts also kept us entertained and pumped to take on the course (heard there might have been some audio issues towards some of the back corrals but I didn't experience this). After all the waiting I was ready to get moving so I could really warm-up, get this race done and go to Walt Disney Studios for Extra Magic Hour which start at 9am!

Looking ready to rumble... kind of...

Looking ready to rumble... kind of...

The race was slightly delayed but nothing too substantial, ~5 min, but it felt longer because I was SO cold in my tank top, shorts and sparkle athletic skirt. First wheelchairs, then Corral A in a few waves and then finally my corral, Corral B, moved in.

Each wave was sent off with a different fairy or wizard which was pretty good. The Three Good Fairies, the Fairy Godmother, the Genie, the Blue Fairy and finally I was sent off with Tinkerbell. There were a total of 4 official corrals for the race with multiple waves in each.

Once we were off, this time we went left into Walt Disney Studios first. Again lots of characters out and lots of excitement all along the course. The cast members were pumped and so were the runners. The Studios park is such a unique and fun place, I was pleasantly surprised.

We ran through the park and had lots of great character ops, once again they really shined here. We then went backstage and out into the main promenade to enter Disneyland Park from underneath the Disneyland Hotel. I always love running towards a castle.

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We made our way through the park and I stopped for some pics and kept reminding myself to take it easy and enjoy myself in the first 5k, after that it was outside the parks and we could actually race. While I was in the park I made sure to stop for the pictures I wanted and just take it all in because who knows when I'll be back to run in Disneyland Paris!

The course was similar to that of the 5k through Disneyland Park which was awesome. The one switch was that we went into Frontierland after running through the castle then through Adeventure Isle before exiting the park. I really enjoyed this course!

Around the 5k mark, we exited the park and it was out into the surrounding area, much like how the Disneyland half marathons are set up. Park time upfront, run on streets and in the community and then back to Disney for the finish.

I was feeling surprising good so I turned up the speed. I was excited to see what my legs had since I hadn’t been running much but still had a lot of my marathon fitness, plus really I wanted to run fast to get to the parks sooner!

We ran through a parking area and then past a marching band wearing overalls. We then ran through a small town and past some fields (one had corn!). 

There was a LOT of security on the course which made me feel really good. They were definitely very present but it felt really secure. The first time I saw a military person at a train station with a rifle I was a bit taken aback but throughout the trip I started to feel more comforted than afraid seeing them. They are just there.

There were lots of people cheering along the course and even a small group of musicians, one guitar, one person mixing on her laptop, and a person playing the digerydoo, only in Europe!

We then ran into the city next to Disneyland Paris where the offsite hotels are and enjoyed some local and family spectators cheering. We also ran through group of cheerleaders who had the same level of enthusiasm and bouncy hair as their US counterparts as they cheered “Allez! Allez!” (Go! Go!). 

We then ran on some packed dirt trails around a beautiful lake and some small woods. It was a really nice change. We then returned back the way we came out of the small city and down and out and back and now it was time to return to Disneyland Paris. We entered the Santa Fe Hotel and this resort is so cute. It’s themed to look like an adobe town/truck stop off of Route 66 complete with a UFO in the ground, a “volcano” and of course Cars cars.

We then crossed the river and ran through the old west of Hotel Cheyenne, completely adorable.

Picture take when exploring the previous day!

Picture take when exploring the previous day!

Along the river we went towards the main lake. We ran around the Newport Hotel (it has a distinctly Beach/Yacht Club feel), through Disney Village and around to the finish area. C’est manifique!

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I had so much fun and loved that I got to have both a fun and a hard race where I pushed myself. It’s the best of both worlds in my mind. I finished in 1:49:07 and I wouldn’t have changed a thing!

There weren’t any characters at the finish line of the half when I finished like at the 5k which meant I got through the finish area very quickly. I grabbed my medal, grabbed water, grabbed a lemon Powerade (I was comforted by the fact that it was actually the color of lemonade too and not the electric yellow that the US distributes), skipped the chocolate milk and went through the Castle to Chateau area to get my medal. It was a breeze!

I got my pic at the official picture area (still waiting on the Official Race Photos) and then grabbed my snack bag. Today we got peanuts, fruit snacks and a banana. I made my way out of the area to find my boyfriend and at that moment I realized that we didn’t set up a specific meeting spot and neither of us had cel service in Europe. Rut roh! A moment of panic later he magically found me. We headed into the event tent and he grabbed his tech tee from the Official Merchandise Area. I snapped a pic, got myself organized and then went straight Walt Disney Studios. First ride? Ratatouille, no better way to celebrate a well run and fun race!

Overall, it was a great time. The course wasn’t too congested, lots of characters at the beginning and I then a fun run through the surrounding area with lots of cheering people and excitement. Water/Powerade stops were frequent and there were 2 stops with fuel that had REAL food, cereal bars and apple slices. I didn’t grab any but this kind of amazed me!

The only thing that Paris needs to figure out is how to match the character picture speed that the state side parks can achieve. While it wasn’t too long, it definitely didn’t have the sense of urgency of the other races and the lines backed up a bit.

Overall, I think the Paris Disneyland Resort and runDisney had a FANTASTIC inaugural event and I feel so overwhelming lucky to have had this experience. It was truly amazing race experience and one I'll cheerish forever!

Now that the race was done it was time for some fun at the parks!

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They had theirs tightened to Disneyland now WDW speed.

They had theirs tightened to Disneyland now WDW speed.

LAST RIDE!!! <3

LAST RIDE!!! <3

While I don’t think I’ll be back for awhile, I’ll be back for the race some day in the future. If you want to run it next year, check out run.disneylandparis.com and look for information on how to register for the race weekend to be held Sept 21-24, 2017!