September 7, 2010

Suprised By Disney

I was surprised by three things about the Disney 5K when I really shouldn't have been. I came into it thinking it was going to be just another run but this time around the park. And I couldn't have been more wrong.

First, I shouldn't have been surprised at how all out Disney went for this event. Everything was done up from the registration area to the course to the finish line. There were characters along the course, and when there weren't characters there were employees cheering us on.

That was just for the 5K. For the half marathon they had actual cheerleaders out along the roads. Plus the runners got to go through Angels stadium, have their faces on the Jumbotron and have their names announced as they ran the bases. No kidding!

The second thing that surprised me when it shouldn't have was the adamant nature of the fans. These folks came from all over and were doing the Disney Endurance series like deadheads following the Grateful Dead. Except in this case, with families in tow, going to resort hotels and doing theme parks while at the same time doing a run here and there.

Part of the fan-dom of these particular races is around the medals. The biggest medal I saw was the 'coast-to-coast' medal which was bigger than an Olympic gold medal and probably heavier as well. You got the medal if you did a race (apparently any race) in both Florida and California in the same year. And a lot of runners were rocking these medals. Lori overheard someone saying that there would be an "around the world" medal coming soon for runners who compete across all of the parks around the world. I bet you a bunch of folks will be sporting those medals as soon as they come out. The whole thing is like pins, but with monster medal hardware.

What I found the most surprising was this totally new mentality that I found in the runners. These folks judge races by the maximum time. Deciding to enter a race is just a question of if they can walk it and how slow. The maximum time to get a medal on the half was three hours and a lot of folks I talked to slipped in just under the wire. The 5K maximum was supposedly 48 minutes, but most folks strolled in around an hour or later. The race component to this is really very secondary, if it's considered at all. Which is not a bad thing mind you. These folks have a blast and a thirteen mile walk in three hours is not bullshit no matter how slow you walk it.

Will I be back? Hell yes. The whole family will be back and racing next year. Though while I might go for a personal best on the half I'll be strolling around the park with Megan and Lori taking pictures with the characters and enjoying the back-lot on the 5K.

I strongly recommend these races. You will love it. Your family will love it. The medals look great. The parks are super fun. The attitude in the air is wonderful. Everyone is having a blast. Just get your reservations in early. The slots go fast and for good reason. For what you get these races are insanely low-priced.

Posted by jherr at September 7, 2010 8:11 AM
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