For the fortuitous enthusiasts who managed to secure an entry into the 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon before it sold out in 25 hours, perhaps you were also keen enough to train for it. Disney races are renowned for being delightful and accommodating, but if you aren’t in the proper shape you are going to finish behind someone in a Buzz Lightyear costume. Think you can live with that?
One of the truly charming elements that help define a Disney race is the indelible throng of wholly passionate participants. Yes, twenty-thousands of them are willing to sign up for each half marathon the day registration opens. Yes, most of these same thousands are prepared to get out of bed at 4 in the morning to reach their assigned starting corral as instructed. But, more specifically we speak of the fervor which drives those who will pay for, plan for and participate in the whole thirteen-mile spectacle dressed like a Disney cartoon character.
The experience of seeing thousands of fanatics wearing their ears, Mickey hands and Team Sparkle skirts is nigh indescribable. Those that go the extra mile (intentional) and don an actual costume deserve special recognition. Getting passed by Tweedledum and Tweedledee at the halfway point, though, is as infuriating as it is unavoidable, and you’d better just prepare for it.
There are a great many runners out there simply bristling with Disney spirit. Watching powerless as one of them plods past you in Mike Wazowski regalia is a real kick to your own enthusiasm. To aptly compete with a Disney-costumed runner, it boils down to this: awareness. First, understand that many of these individuals are not mere fanatics. Most are well conditioned, well adjusted athletes who for reasons all their own possess the will and training to run a ten-minute mile dressed as Eeyore. Know that it is possible for someone to have more endurance than you no matter how impractically they are outfitted. The compulsion that drives one to wear a bolt of felt all through a thirteen-mile race often accompanies a determination that you cannot match, most certainly not if you are still being paced by The Little Mermaid at mile 11.
Any costumed character you don’t put away early is probably going to beat you. If one, or all of the Three Little Pigs are still with you on the homestretch, you are going to finish behind them . If your combined ability and psychosis did not enable you to distance yourself from Winnie the Pooh, his closing kick is going to be stronger than yours and you will forever be immortalized in his finish-line photo.
Enjoy the Disneyland Half Marathon. We defy you to do otherwise. But understand, or rather, be aware Chip, Dale and Mrs. Potts are out there. They are going to catch you, and no one who came to watch you run is going to empathize when you’re beaten by six of the seven dwarfs.