Disneyland Paris Half Marathon

I am writing to you from our train from Paris to Strasbourg. It feels good to sit. Because we’re kind of dumb, we decided to “pre-game” our half marathon by doing both of the Disneyland Paris parks (more on that in a different post) and racking up about a half marathon worth of steps the day before. It’s our half marathon MO in many ways, but this one seemed rougher than usual. Everything after mile 11 was a blur of pain.

Nevertheless, we made it and can now say we’ve done races at the three parks that (to my knowledge) offer (or offered…RIP California RunDisney) races. Unfortunately, due to the aforementioned “hiatus” of the California races and the fact that we didn’t have the time to do one of the FL races this year, we didn’t qualify for Castle to Chateau. Another time.

There’s a lot about the way they do the race here that I loved and a lot that I didn’t.

We’ll rip the band-aid off for what I didn’t like.

1. The Expo: It could be that we were there late in the day on the last day, but the expo was kind of lacking. Look, I come to these things prepared to throw a lot of money at race organizers and the assorted vendors there. Chris and I both came with things to buy. It was cold on Saturday and I’m in denial that it’s fall, so I needed a long sleeve shirt. Nope. None. Chris needed socks and failed at that. There was no New Balance, no medal display vendors, no people selling “I run for wine/coffee/etc” shirts. It was weird and made me sad. They didn’t even have the car magnets that I’ve collected.

2. Race Shirts: The quality was not as good as the other RunDisney events I’ve been to. I think that’s because they don’t use the same shirt vendor, but I absolutely love my collection of Disney race shirts and am just a little sad this one isn’t as nice.

At the end of the day, though, this race entry was a fraction of the cost of the ones in the US, so I’m sure both could be tied to that.

The Good:

1. The Course: Like any RunDisney race, you spend a decent amount of time in the parks, but you spend most of the time out of them. The parks aren’t that big, so I was impressed that they were able to get us about 8km of park at the beginning. For reference, that’s about the same amount of park time we got for Light Side and Super Heroes in Anaheim. You also spend the last 5k weaving through the hotels and back in Walt Disney Studios. The time outside of the park goes by fast, despite the fact that a lot of it is an extended out and back and run through a small village.

There are some quiet stretches, but it’s no Orlando highway or Harbor Blvd.

2. The Finish Line: There are two reasons why I love this. First, you typically finish in a parking lot and are funneled through a quick path where food and drink are thrown at you and there are people everywhere. For this one, we finish in an area of Walt Disney Studios after having run through stretches of the Backlot ride and are greeted by Mickey. It’s kind of awesome. The other thing I loved about this was that the parts of the park you run through are parts that are closed off to the public. When we did Dark Side, we ran through the World Showcase in Epcot but all the runners are bunched up because you are running through areas open to parkgoers. I get why they have to do that, but it was hard to run and chaotic. Here, we got out and took pictures with a statue of Black Panther. It is a much more pleasant finish. Didn’t see the massage stations that I’ve seen at the US races, though. Eh.

3. The Theme: The theme of this year’s race was Disney Villains. One of the best parts of the Disney universe and people brought their costume game. I’ll say, though, that my favorite costume was someone dressed up as Miguel from Coco. He had a speaker attached to his guitar and was playing songs from the movie. Except, we ran into him when they had Remember Me playing. Not a good song when you’re already race emotional.

Chris and I both dressed up. My Ursula costume was kind of a bust and I don’t have a full length photo of me in the costume. Chris had a low key Gaston costume, which I think came out pretty well considering we bought all the pieces on Amazon last weekend.

The Medal: Wasn’t too happy about the medal at first because it was the only medal from the race weekend not in the villain theme. Now that I have it, I can’t complain. It’s much nicer than it looked online. I kind of love it, actually.

The Start Time: I’d much rather not have to wake up at 4:30 am (or 2:30/3 for the Orlando races), so I appreciated the 7 am start time. The downside to 7 am (or 8 for those of us in Corral E) is that we hit it ridiculously close to our extended check out deadline after the race. Then again, I woke up at 6 and not before 5. I’m less miserable right now.

The Weather: It was overcast and windy during the whole race. It was raining, but the rain was a gentle light mist that kept us cool. It was cool, but not cold, so the fact that I didn’t have a long sleeved shirt ended up being okay. The wind got a little rough towards the end, but it was generally pleasant race weather.

So there we are, I’ve checked another RunDisney race off my list. It’s a little bittersweet, though. It’ll probably be the last RunDisney race we do for a while. IF we’re lucky, we may get CA races again in a few years. We want to do Wine and Dine in Orlando at some point but I need to gather the willpower to do another one of the FL races again. That won’t be for while (or at least until we forget how exhausting they are). I can’t complain, though, I thought Super Heroes last year was going to be the last one.

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